It's a novel way of defending yourself--use your talk show, your media connections, and get out ahead of a damaging story. The problem is, when the man who tried to extort 2 million dollars from David Letterman goes on trial, a little thing called discovery comes into play:
Gerald Shargel, a veteran criminal defense attorney who is representing the CBS producer accused of trying to blackmail David Letterman, confirmed in an interview today that he plans to argue that the late-night host committed sexual harassment if the case goes to trial.
“I have evidence of it and I intend to share that in a courtroom,” said Shargel, who is representing “48 Hours Mystery” producer Robert Joel Halderman, who prosecutors say demanded $2 million from Letterman to keep quiet about relationships the comic had with female staffers. “I think it’s relevant because it’s actually part of the evidence that I think the district attorney will be admitting at the trial.”
The line of defense was first reported by the New York Times.
Shargel said he has not yet received any discovery from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. “I’m doing my own independent investigation,” he said.
A spokesman for Letterman declined to comment. A spokeswoman from the district attorney's office also declined to comment.
Shargel would not say whether the evidence he has relates to Stephanie Birkitt, a longtime assistant to the comic. But the lawyer said that it’s “absolutely clear” that Birkitt -- who until recently was sharing a Connecticut home with Halderman -- had a relationship with Letterman.
That's some tough legal jockeying right there. But, I have a sneaky suspicion that this never goes to trial, and that Mr. Halderman never goes to jail.