Stuart Ross, accused of trying to extort money from his son-in-law, Blackstone Group Senior Managing Director David Blitzer, told a New York judge in Manhattan on Monday that he wants to represent himself at his July 26 trial.
Mr. Ross was indicted for grand larceny and attempted grand larceny in 2008 with his lawyer, Stuart Jackson. Both pleaded not guilty.
Mr. Ross is the father of Allison Blitzer, David Blitzer's wife. He and Mr. Jackson threatened to ruin Mr. Blitzer's life unless he paid them as much as $11 million, according to Manhattan prosecutors.
Mr. Ross demanded that his son-in-law give him large sums of money or he would harass him over the telephone and make accusations against him to his supervisors at Blackstone, law enforcement and the media, according to evidence presented to a grand jury, New York State Supreme Court Justice Bonnie Wittner wrote in court papers.
Mr. Jackson mentioned “settlement numbers” of $5.5 million to $11 million to Mr. Blitzer's attorney, Roger Stavis, according to court papers filed by Mr. Jackson's attorneys, Levitt & Kaizer.
An agreement was ultimately obtained for Mr. Blitzer to pay $250,000 to $400,000 to Mr. Ross to cease the contact, Ms. Wittner said. At an Aug. 21, 2008, meeting in New York, Mr. Blitzer paid Messrs. Jackson and Ross $50,000 as a down payment. The meeting was a recorded “sting,” according to Mr. Jackson's court papers.
Mr. Blitzer is a senior managing director in Blackstone's private equity group, according to the firm's website.