Letterman Scheme Suspect To Ask Court To Drop Case

A lawyer for the TV news producer accused of blackmailing David Letterman plans to ask a judge to dismiss an extortion case that prompted the late-night comic to acknowledge affairs with staffers.

Robert J. “Joe” Halderman is due in a Manhattan court Tuesday. His defense attorney, Gerald Shargel, said he planned to challenge whether the evidence presented to a grand jury was sufficient and ask a judge to dismiss the attempted first-degree grand larceny charge against his client.

Challenging grand jury evidence is a common first defense step in New York criminal cases.

Shargel wouldn’t discuss details of his argument in advance of the court appearance, Halderman’s first since being released on $200,000 baillast month in the headline-grabbing case.

Prosecutors said Halderman left a bizarre and threatening package in Letterman’s car on Sept. 9, demanding $2 million to keep quiet about some of the “Late Show” host’s dalliances. The materials included a letter, a synopsis of a supposed screenplay that said Letterman’s world would “collapse around him” when information about his private life was disclosed, photos, personal correspondence and portions of a diary, authorities said.

The diary entries were allegedly written by Halderman’s former girlfriend and outlined her affair with Letterman.

Authorities then taped two conversations between Letterman’s lawyer and Halderman — including an exchange in which the lawyer gave Halderman a phony $2 million check, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said. Halderman was arrested after depositing it, prosecutors said.

The day before prosecutors unveiled the case last month, Letterman divulged it on his show, acknowledging he had had sex with women who worked for him.

Halderman, 51, a producer for CBS’ “48 Hours Mystery,” has pleaded not guilty. He could face five to 15 years in prison if convicted.

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