Cody Castagna Speaks After Charges Are Dropped

SPOKANE — All charges have been dropped against Cody Castagna, the man suspected of attempted extortion against a disgraced former state lawmaker.

Rachel Sterett with the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed Monday afternoon that her office would be dropping extortion, theft and conspiracy to commit extortion charges against Castagna in the case involving Richard Curtis, the former Western Washington GOP lawmaker who he met while Curtis was in town for a GOP legislative retreat in Spokane last October.

Judge Tari Eitzen signed the order dropping the charges against Castagna Monday. Sterett said the decision to drop the charges was made based upon a one-page written statement written by Richard Curtis where he asked prosecutors not to have to testify in the case.

“After speaking with the Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and discussing my further participation of the prosecution of the defendants, I am requesting that I not be requested to testify,” Curtis wrote in a letter dated June 16th .

Curtis met Castagna and arranged to have sex with him in his room at the Davenport Tower that evening. Curtis claimed later that Castagna had taken his wallet and later demanded $1,000 for the wallet’s return and for his silence. Castagna claimed the money was owed him by Curtis, who he claimed reneged on a promise to pay him for unprotected sex.

Within two days of the incident becoming public Curtis, who was married at the time with several children, resigned from his seat in the state legislature. According to court documents his current whereabouts are unknown.

Curtis’ letter to prosecutors didn’t revise his position that Castagna had attempted to extort him but rather clarified that he did not want to press the matter in court and put himself and his family back in the spotlight. 

“My wife, daughters, and son-in-law have paid a high price for my actions and also the actions of the defendants,” he wrote. “We, as a family, have weighed the costs vs. benefits of testifying and have decided that going through the criminal process would be more detrimental than good.”