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Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss Case Against Letterman's Accused Blackmaller

A Manhattan Supreme Court judge denied a motion to dismiss the case against accused David Letterman blackmailer Joe Halderman.

Justice Charles Solomon denied a motion presented by Halderman's lawyer Gerald Shargel that laid out a so-called Tiger Woods defense; that Woods' paramours sought pay-offs in exchange for their silence.

Halderman, a former producer of the CBS News program 48 Hours Mystery, could face 5-15 years in prison if convicted of extortion. Prosecutors argue he attempted to shake down Letterman for $2 million by proposing a screen-play about a talk show host whose "world is about to collapse around him" after the revelation of affairs with multiple female staffers.

Shargel argued that his client was legitimately attempting to sell Letterman a screenplay and therefore his right to free speech applies.

"There was no extortion. There was a screenplay for sale," Shargel has said. "There was a commercial transaction. Nothing more."

But Judge Solomon did not buy it.

"[The] defendant argues that the statute is overbroad as it applies to him because he has a constitutionally protected right to write a book or screenplay about a public figure," Solomon wrote. "Since the defendant is not being prosecuted for authoring either a book or a screenplay, his constitutional right to free speech is not impacted."

Halderman is due back in court March 9 to learn his trial date.