Doug at below the beltway has an interesting piece about the California madam who ran an escort service in DC. Finally we get a good old fashioned scandal in the making. Nothing like commercial sex to get the newspapers smokin' the presses.
Reading his post raised a question that has been in my mind for years, but I've never received a satisfactory answer. Steve Minor, Eric Monday, Brian Patton, Ken Lammers, Roger Jarrell; I'm counting on one of you guys for an answer.
Just why is blackmail illegal? Don't get me wrong, I don't mean the type of action where I threaten to spread untrue information about someone unless they pay me enough. And maybe come back for a second helping later. That is definitely immoral, as well as illegal. I'm speaking instead of the following hypothetical situation;
I have documents, legally obtained, that could be embarrassing to a powerful and or wealthy individual. I state my intentions to publish that information unless he or she is willing to outbid my publisher. Have I committed blackmail? Is it not simply capitalism? Is what I've done morally wrong? Is it legally wrong? If it's not morally wrong, yet still legally wrong, why is that?