Charleston attorney defends aspiring actor against federal charges



CHARLESTON – The family of an aspiring actor has retained Charleston attorney Troy N. Giatras to represent him against federal charges brought against him in West Virginia.

A federal grand jury in Charleston indicted Vivek M. Shah, of West Hollywood, Calif., on four counts of interfering with interstate commerce and using interstate commerce to threaten extortion.

An affidavit from a U.S. Postal Service inspector claims Shah, 25, targeted five people for extortion, including West Virginia native Christopher Cline, who owns a majority stake in Foresight Reserves, a coal company with operations in Illinois and northern Appalachia.

The affidavit does not identify the other four alleged targets of extortion, but media reports have mentioned film executive Harvey Weinstein and Groupon chairman and co-founder Eric Lefkofsky as two of the other four alleged targets.

"It's important that we look at the evidence and take a look at the details," Giatras said. "As we know, the devil is in the details and we still need to go through all of facts."

Giatras said they are currently waiting for information on Shah's arraignment, which he believes should be sometime early next week.

"He's still in the process of being transported from Chicago to Beckley, so things are still in limbo until he arrives in West Virginia," he said.

Shah was taken into federal custody Aug. 10 near his parents' home in Schaumburg, Ill., which is a Chicago suburb.

"Before we rush to judgment, we need to wait until all of the facts are in," Giatras said. "We are still in the process of gathering those facts."

Giatras said he has had limited discussions with his client and expects to have more when Shah arrives in West Virginia.

Shah has acted in movie roles, television shows and commercials.

When Shah arrives in West Virginia, his case will be presided over by U.S. District Court Southern District of West Virginia Magistrate R. Clarke VanDervort in Beckley.

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