Joe Halderman: Letterman Extortion Just Business

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The CBS producer accused of trying to extort $2 million from Late Show host David Letterman filed a motion seeking dismissal of all charges against him.

Attorney Gerald Shargel, who represents Robert Joel "Joe" Halderman, challenged the constitutionality of the laws in question in a 34-page document.

Judge Charles Solomon said he will rule on the motion at the next hearing on January 19. Prosecutors have until December 15 to respond to the motion.

Halderman is accused of telling Letterman in September that he would disclose the funnyman's sexual dalliances with female staffers unless he paid up.

The 27-year CBS veteran, a producer for the network's 48 Hours, was charged with first-degree attempted grand larceny and suspended from his job.

He pleaded not guilty, but prosecutors say evidence is "compelling" that he was trying to "destroy" Letterman's reputation and "humiliate his family."

Shargel, however, said that Joe Halderman is the father of two children, ages 11 and 18, has an "impeccable reputation" and denies any extortion plot.

Late Show Host

Can Joe Halderman really explain his way out of this one?

"There was no extortion," Shargel said Tuesday. "This was a commercial transaction, nothing more. [Letterman's] celebrity is why we are here today."

Many expected Halderman, who is believed to have financial problems that may have fueled the incident, would seek a prompt plea bargain in the case.

But his attorney said today there will be "no compromise."

Letterman's attorney, Daniel Horowitz, acknowledged as much, saying "this case will proceed to trial" and that Letterman "is prepared to testify."

Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said Letterman gave Joe Halderman a $2 million check and Halderman deposited the money into a Connecticut bank account the day before he was arrested and released on $200,000 bail.

The defendant's explanation? Halderman's attempt to sell the Late Show host a screenplay about Letterman's own sexual liaisons was a just business.

Not sure how if one will hold water. But his attorney says Joe Halderman should be applauded, not punished, for exposing Letterman's various workplace affairs, which he says "amounted to actionable sexual harassment."

Letterman's former personal assistant, Stephanie Birkitt, had a long-running sexual relationship with the host, and later lived with Halderman.

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