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Blackmail or movie deal? Letterman suspect wants charges tossed

November 10, 2009 | 10:02 am

HaldProsecutors are calling it an attempt to extort $2 million from David Letterman, but the lawyer defending Robert Halderman says the TV producer was just executing a "hard-driven" business deal to sell the rights to a screenplay concept, the New York Daily News reported.

The movie would, of course, be about a talk-show host who has affairs with staffers, creating an environment of sexual harassment.

Court papers detail meetings between Halderman and Letterman attorney Jack Jackoway. Two of the meetings were secretly recorded by investigators.

"Portions of the transcript read like a movie pitch," the Daily News said, "with Halderman trying to sell Jackoway on paying $2 million for the treatment, with notes he'd made on a yellow legal pad for a book he was thinking of writing thrown in for good measure."

Halderman is arguing that he never believed what he was doing -- "optioning a screenplay," he called it -- was a crime. He was arrested the day after Jackoway gave him a bogus check for $2 million. 

The defense is also questioning whether the grand jury had enough evidence to bring the charges in the first place, TMZ reports.

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Robert Halderman in New York Supreme Court for his Oct. 2 arraignment. Credit: Marc A. Hermann / Getty Images.

Related self-loathing dispatch from the Ministry of Gossip:

In case you were wondering about David Letterman...
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