Jury finds Sedenquist guilty

ESCANABA – After an hour and a half of deliberation, a jury found an Escanaba man guilty of extortion and computer crime in Delta County Circuit Court on Thursday.

Douglas Vero Sedenquist, 52, was arrested last December on four felonies in connection with threats made to his estranged ex-wife, Carmen Labute, on Nov. 20-26, 2013. His three-day trial began Tuesday.

Sedenquist’s arrest has gained state-wide media attention because he has been a member of Michigan’s Republican State Central Committee and was the former vice chair of the Delta County Republican Party.

The five-woman, seven-man jury reached an unanimous verdict around 4 p.m. Thursday declaring Sedenquist guilty of extortion and guilty of using a computer to commit extortion.

He will be sentenced on Sept. 2.

Sedenquist was found not guilty of aggravated stalking.

A fourth felony – possession of a controlled substance – will be decided in a separate court decision.

The maximum sentencing for an extortion conviction is 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The crime of using a computer to commit the 20-year felony of extortion carries a maximum sentencing of 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

According to court records, Sedenquist maliciously threatened to accuse his ex-wife of a crime with intent to extort money or gain another advantage or to cause her to do or refrain from doing an act against her will.

Testimony revealed Sedenquist threatened to tell Labute’s employer that she, as a nurse, had violated patient confidentiality rights unless she gave in to his demands for retirement funds, spousal support, property rights, and joint custody rights.

In addition to witness testimony, threatening emails from Sedenquist were entered as evidence during the trial.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143, jlancour@dailypress.net