Ziegler tells TMZ, "Victim 2 already publicly inserted himself into this story by writing letters to the editor, in his own name, in support of Sandusky as a 24 year old married member of the Marine Corps. I was not 'threatening' him with an outing, and had the intention of getting him to speak to me for a documentary which will likely never be made."
He adds, "On the advice of sex abuse crimes expert Jim Clemente I was offering to speak to him off the record so that he could explain to me why he deserved special consideration in this matter. As it turns out, very much against my own interest, his name is not on our website and he can not be revealed in a Google search."
The man who interviewed Jerry Sandusky in prison has given Sandusky's victim #2 an ultimatum that arguably amounts to extortion ... give him an exclusive interview, or he'll go public with the victim's identity.
John Ziegler -- who interviewed Sandusky for a documentary he hopes will clear Joe Paterno's name -- announced yesterday he planned to reveal the identity of Sandusky's victim #2 because the man's biography is central to the Sandusky case.
Sandusky was convicted of raping the victim -- identified as "accuser #2" in court docs -- in a Penn State shower back in 2001 ... following testimony from former PSU assistant football coach Mike McQueary. Paterno was subsequently fired from PSU for not reporting the incident to his superiors.
But Ziegler came on TMZ Live yesterday, insisting Sandusky did NOT rape victim #2 ... and McQueary's testimony was bogus. Ziegler believes releasing victim #2's identity is crucial in order to clear Paterno's name.
Now Ziegler says he's reconsidering releasing the private information because victim #2 is "upset" about the prospect of going public. Ziegler has decided to threaten him instead.
Ziegler posted the ultimatum on his website earlier today ... demanding the victim call him personally to explain why he's so upset, or Ziegler will open the floodgates. Tick tock.