@indemnifyme - I'm sorry that happened to your friend. I do think a misdemeanor charge is appropriate in the case of petty extortion and blackmail though.
One thing you should keep in mind is that the victim can always sue the perpetrator in a civil court. If the person was convicted, the plaintiff has a good chance of winning the suit. If it hasn't been too long maybe you should urge your friend to sue her blackmailer for damages!