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A preliminary hearing for a man charged with trying to extort $15,000 from former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward was postponed Tuesday until Dec. 3 at the request of his attorney.

Defense attorney David Shrager said he needed more time to investigate the charges against Joshua Van Auker, 26, of Pittsburgh, along with the evidence. He struck a conciliatory tone when he addressed reporters after a brief court appearance, describing his client as naive and inexperienced.

"This is surreal for him, this is a nice young man," Shrager said of his client, who is accused of contacting Ward's personal assistant last week and threatening to go public with information that Ward had paid prostitutes for sex.


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