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Controversial Publicist Found Dead

9/29/2007 11:53 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Publicist David Hans Schmidt, who plead guilty last month to attempting to extort Tom Cruise, was found dead of an apparent suicide in his Phoenix home on Friday.

Schmidt was under house arrest after agreeing to plead guilty to a $1 million extortion fiasco, using Tom Cruise's stolen wedding photos. According to the AP, authorities went to Schmidt's Phoenix home after a tracking device on him had not moved and he hadn't checked in, said police Lt. Anthony Lopez.

Schmidt is also known for an auction of Paris Hilton's diaries, and for representing Olympic scandal skater Tonya Harding and prostitute Divine Brown, who dallied with actor Hugh Grant. More recently, Schmidt said he was involved in Dustin "Screech" Diamond's nasty sex video.

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