Wednesday, November 11, 2009

David Letterman Case: Dueling lawyers!

ABC's "Good Morning America" featured an 8-minute interview with the lawyers involved in the David Letterman extortion case: Gerald L. Shargel, Joe Halderman's attorney, and defending Dave, Daniel J. Horwitz. You can watch the entire segment here.

As I mentioned yesterday, Shargel's point is that Halderman was simply a man trying to sell a story -- he had a First Amendment right! -- and Dave could have paid for it, or not.

Shargel couldn't understand why Halderman bringing the offer to Letterman's car at 6 AM was such a big deal. "There's nothing illegitimate about going to the car where he knew he could effectively deliver the proposal. He knew Letterman's driver, he gave the package to the driver. He didn't break into the car. I don't quite know why people are focusing on that. Would it have been better if he sent it Federal Express? I think that's silly... He had a First Amendment right to create that property, to develop that property."

"This was not a legitimate business transaction," countered Horwitz. "Who negotiates a business transaction at 6 in the morning in the shadows of somebody's apartment building? Who says 'your world's about to collapse'? Who threatens their personal and professional lives? And who says at 6 in the morning, 'I need an answer in 2 hours'? Those are not the earmarks of a legitimate business transaction. Those are the earmarks of classic blackmail."

"I'm sitting here at 3 in the morning in Santa Monica in the dark, so in one sense, that rings hollow," said Shargel, who was appearing via satellite.

Naturally, both attorneys ended with, "I'll see you in court!" "David Letterman is fully prepared to go all the way here, and that means testifying at a trial if necessary," said Horwitz.

"I look forward to that time when I will cross examine David Letterman," responded Shargel.


  1. Anonymous said...

    Seems this is gonna get ugly. Or ugli-ER I should say. I think its ridiculous he is trying to pawn this off as a business transaction. Dave himself said that he had his lawyer meet with Halderman before the payment was made and ask him if he really wanted to go through with this and what this was. And Halderman agreed and moved ahead with everything, knowing full well what he was getting into.