Yoko Ono's Former Driver Denied Bail Again

NEW YORK (January 26, 2007) — Yoko Ono’s former driver, accused of trying to blackmail the widow of John Lennon for $2 million, was denied bail again Friday.

State Supreme Court Justice Daniel FitzGerald said there was nothing new in the extortion case of Koral Karsan, 50, to justify setting bail and releasing him.

Prosecutors oppose Karsan’s release on bail. They have said they believe that once he is out of jail, he will probably flee to his native Turkey.

Karsan’s lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, said outside court that he has seen the 30-minute videotape in which his client allegedly says he will embarrass and humiliate Ono — and possibly have her killed — unless she pays him $2 million.

“You don’t see anything but you hear everything loud and clear,” the lawyer said. He said the tape prompted him to file papers Friday saying “we are ready for trial.” He would not say how the tape would be helpful to Karsan’s case.

Gottlieb has said Karsan was an abused and sexually harassed employee who was demanding, in effect, compensatory damages and was not trying to shake down Ono.

Gottlieb said he asked the judge for the earliest possible trial date, possibly in the beginning of February.

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