A California man has denied allegations that he stalked and tried to extort prominent Whitefish venture capitalist and philanthropist Michael Goguen.
Bryan Gregg Waterfield Nash pleaded not guilty to charges of felony interstate stalking and interstate communications with intent to extort in U.S. District Court in Missoula on Aug. 13. If convicted, Nash could spend up to seven years in federal prison.
Goguen is a venture capitalist who has had a home in Whitefish for more than a decade. In recent years, he has made a number of investments in local businesses along with major contributions to local nonprofits like the Whitefish Trail and Two Bear Air. He is also on the board of trustees for Kalispell Regional Healthcare.
The FBI charged Nash in June after a nine-month investigation into his harassment of Goguen — who is identified in court documents as “Businessman 1” — and dozens of his friends, family members and associates. According to court records, the harassment began in 2013 and continued for six years.
Nash and Goguen were friends for a number of years before 2008 when Nash’s wife filed for a divorce. According to court records, Nash blamed Goguen for the breakup. Five years later, in May 2013, Nash allegedly asked Goguen to pay $250,000 in legal fees related to the divorce.
Starting in late 2013, and continuing for years afterward, Nash allegedly sent numerous emails and messages to Goguen and his associates threatening to embarrass them with the public release of stories about various alleged crimes and extramarital affairs. Court documents note that Goguen “has been married multiple times (and) admits to having consensual adult relationships with many women, sometimes outside of his marriages.”
According to court documents, Goguen and others had to increase the security outside their homes and offices for fear that Nash or someone associated with him would hurt them. Documents allege Nash specifically threatened an associate of Goguen identified as “Businessman 2.”
“They, along with family, friends, and associates describe Nash’s barrage of messages as ‘all consuming,’ and something they worry about every day. Nash’s degrading emails to friends, family members, pastors, charity organizations and law enforcement, coupled with his repeated threats to spread accusations against them to the larger public have been agonizing not only to Businessman 1 and Businessman 2, but to their families and friends,” prosecutors wrote. “One Nash message recipient reports having nightmares and losing significant sleep, while another was forced to go on anxiety medication.”
The charging documents continue, “The FBI has interviewed at least 20 individuals in four different states who have received harassing interstate communications from Nash, and nearly all have described a significant interruption in their lives.”
Nash is expected to stand trial later this year.