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Consumer Reports

Man blackmails lawyer who freed him | (UPI) -- CHICAGO A man wrongly convicted of the murder of a medical student allegedly tried to extort $3,000 from the lawyer who helped free him.

Marcelia Bradford taped a conversation with attorney Kathleen Zellner then allegedly tried to sell her the tape because it was embarrassing. He was arrested after accepting a packet of $10 and $20 bills in a McDonald's parking lot while police watched.

"It is an amazing betrayal," Zellner told the Tuesday's Chicago Sun-Times.

Police said the scheme began Christmas morning with a threatening message left on an answering machine. Bradford reportedly told Zellner she was being replaced as his lawyer by Johnny Cochran in a civil lawsuit against the city of Chicago.

In a subsequent conversation, Zellner allegedly explained in blunt terms why she thought he and his one-time co-defendants should stick with her.

Two of the other men involved also planned to drop Zellner as their attorney. Zellner said the fourth man, Calvin Ollins, is sticking with her. A court hearing is set for Wednesday. A spokesman for Cochran's Chicago office told the Sun-Times the men had not tried to contact Cochran or his partner, James D. Montgomery.

No formal charges have been filed against Bradford.

In 1986, Bradford and three other defendants were convicted of killing medical student Lori Roscetti. As a result of Zellner's advocacy, DNA tests were run, exonerating all four men. The DNA pointed to two other suspects.

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