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Can’t Buy Me Love (or silence)

David Letterman can sleep better tonight. Joe Halderman, the man accused of extorting Letterman for $2 million, has plead guilty. Halderman was accused of extortion after demanding $2 million from the late-night star, lest he divulge his various affairs with co-workers. Halderman’s criminal defense lawyers worked out a deal which requires that he plead guilty to felony second-degree grand larceny, spend 6 months in jail, complete 1000 hours of community service and complete 5 years of probation. Though they minimized the jail time, Halderman’s criminal lawyers could do nothing about the 27-year career at CBS that Halderman flushed down the drain with his threats.

Extortion is a curious animal. Blogs and reader comments expressing sympathy for Letterman and wanting a stiffer penalty for Halderman abound. Does extortion mitigate an extra-marital affair? Would we have felt sorry for Tiger Woods if someone threatened to expose his sordid soirees? And for the philosophically-inclined, here’s a question a friend once asked:

Just why is extortion illegal? It would not have been illegal for Halderman to hold a press conference and reveal Letterman’s affairs. It would not have been illegal for Halderman to sue Letterman for creating a hostile work environment because of the illicit affairs.

Why is it that demanding the money in a private conversation versus a public lawsuit has landed Halderman in jail?

If you have been charged with a crime, visit Orange County Criminal Lawyer or call The Law Offices of Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 today.

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