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    Judge Rejects "Tiger Defense," Letterman Extortion Case Still in Play

    David Letterman, Tiger Woods, Robert Halderman, Rachel Uchitel AP Photo/Evan Agostini, I: AP Photo/Marc A. Herman, Chris Weeks/Getty Images, I: AP Photo/David Zentz

    David Letterman can mock Jay Leno and NBC all he wants, but he's still got his own fish to fry.

    A New York judge has rejected a motion to dismiss the extortion case against a veteran TV producer for allegedly trying to blackmail the Late Show host over his sexual liaisons with staffers in the Home Office.

    Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon denied a request by Gerald Shargel, an attorney for Robert "Joe" Halderman, to throw out a charge of attempted first-degree grand larceny. Hizzoner also ruled against an attempt to suppress search warrants executed at the 48 Hours Mystery man's Connecticut home.

    Lastly, Solomon smacked down the so-called Tiger defense—that what Halderman did was perfectly legal and no different than Tiger Woods' mistresses seeking payments to keep mum about their affairs with the golfer.

    The decision ensures the case will likely go to trial later this year.

    The defense counsel claimed the extortion count should never have been filed because Halderman's attempts to sell Letterman a screenplay about his illicit affairs for $2 million was nothing short of a "pure commercial transaction."

    In his let's-hope-something-sticks petition, the legal eagle also insisted the charges were being driven by "sensationalism" and that the grand jury was not given all the facts when it indicted the Emmy-winning CBS News producer.

    Prosecutors countered that Halderman had tried to use the appearance of a legal business transaction as cover to pull off the extortion, and the judge agreed without further elaboration.

    Shargel declined to speak to reporters after the hearing. If convicted, the 52-year-old Halderman, who attended the proceeding and sat stone-faced throughout, could face a maximum 15-year prison sentence.

    And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

    ________

    Read how the Letterman extortion plot all began here.

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