January 20, 2010

LKL WEB EXCLUSIVE: In a case of "he said, he said," Letterman won't lose in the end

Posted: 03:08 PM ET

Judge Jeanine Pirro is the former District Attorney for Westchester County, NY, and a frequent guest on LKL.  Her commentary is an LKL Web Exclusive.

It's no surprise that Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon refused a defense request to dismiss criminal charges against Robert Halderman in the David Letterman extortion case. As such, the case is scheduled for trial.

Of course, the defendant can plead guilty and eliminate the need for a trial, but will he? Probably not. It appears that the defendant's attorney, Gerald Shargel, is primed to get Letterman on the stand and rake him over the coals. Why? Because he can! But let me digress for a moment.

Defense attorneys make mountains out of molehills. They create smokescreens so thick they could convince a jury that the courthouse is on fire. In truth, their job is to take the focus off the defendant's actions, and to make the jury believe that the victim is the wrongdoer.

If you're the victim of a crime, you're fair game – an open book. Indeed, a defense strategy succeeds when the jury stops wondering if the defendant is bad and starts wondering if the victim is bad. In some cases you almost expect the jury foreman to stand up and say, "We the jury find the VICTIM guilty!"

Of course Halderman, is presumed innocent in a court of law, but we need to start telling the truth about the presumption of innocence. The phrase "innocent until proven guilty" does not mean that those who have examined all the evidence before trial must stick their heads in the sand and draw no conclusion whatsoever. Prosecutors don't drag people into court because they assume they're innocent – they indict people because they believe they're guilty. When the grand jury voted to indict Robert Halderman it didn't assume he was innocent. Its vote meant there was probable cause based on extremely damning evidence to assume he was guilty.

Back to Letterman. So if Halderman refuses to plead guilty as charged and even refuses a plea bargain – assuming one is offered – Letterman must take the stand to establish the elements of attempted grand larceny in the first degree. Specifically, the prosecution needs to prove to the jury's satisfaction beyond a reasonable doubt that Letterman felt that he would be subject to "hatred, contempt or ridicule." (New York Penal Law section 155.05(2)). But in order to establish that, Letterman must testify. And when he does, it will be a circus. We will "ooh" and "ahh" over every sordid detail. How many in a day? Who changed the sheets? Was there ever a quid pro quo?

The Sixth Amendment right of confrontation gives the defendant the right to confront his accuser. The trial judge, upon the prosecution's objections, will decide how far he can go in his cross-examination.

In addition to Letterman's testimony, there is evidence not only of a picture, and meetings, but tape recordings of the extortion attempt itself, and a letter wherein Halderman threatens Letterman that his "world is about to collapse."

Letterman may face a few more difficult months if Halderman insists on a trial. It's not easy to have the world discuss the most intimate and embarrassing details of one's private life. It may be cathartic for Halderman and his lawyer to go through this exercise, but in the end there's only one man whose world will collapse.

Filed under: Commentary • David Letterman • LKL Web Exclusive

Share this on:
Cindy   January 20th, 2010 10:31 pm ET

Better that it's Letterman than someone else. He will probably turn the stupid, personal questions into humor on his program.

Hi Larry   January 20th, 2010 11:46 pm ET

Larry can you imagine the people of the Bahamas ask the government to repatriated the Haitians who living in the bahamas they mad and say they have they own problem how come the government of the bahamasjump into the Haitians problems and they complains and say the government need to know that Haiti is not only port au prince they could land in another department to drop the haitians this is heartless.

Larry What do you think about it


shirley somwonder   January 21st, 2010 7:49 pm ET


Great job. but if we just send money and more money and then fail to distribute it, what then?

We waste so much in this country. We have all wasted too too much on this planet. Our consciousness has to be raised to a level of awareness
I do so hope this earthquake and the current storm in California will wake people up to STOP WASTING STUFF!
I STILL SEE "ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFET" SIGNS AND huge gas guzzling vehicles with one person in them
We are supporting those in need in Haiti but the stuff sits in boxes and on pallets at the airport?
Let's get it together.
Fund raising is wonderful. I am proud of America and glad that Hollywood is stepping up.
But throwing money around is not the way

Find creative ways to spend it!

I think that means a change in your mind set.
Every day I try harder and harder to re-use and recycle
A paradigm shift is needed.

lola   January 25th, 2010 9:48 pm ET

The press is being much kinder to Letterman than they ever were to Michael Jackson, who in 1993 fell victim to extortion as well. It is well documented and even recorded his extortionist claiming "his world will collapse and he will never sell another record when I am done with him."
But, Michael Jackson was made out in the media to be the "criminal" in this case. Why?

shirley somwonder   January 25th, 2010 9:50 pm ET




Haiti is suffering

why are you focused on dribble and gossip?

jma   February 17th, 2010 6:23 pm ET

I think that Letterman will come out ahead and yes hope he does use the details as humour that is the REAL LIFE of you and he and me and what we all may very well do behind the scenes – in our own homes for goodness sakes! lol WHO CARE'S about the sex content or what is described or spoke about in the court case. Let the person behind the whole scherade learn a lesson and grow up and be real as in a real man at the same time- some how this may make this guy realize what he's done up until now and how he's going down the wrong roads and how to get help before he's got not a thing left not even his children in his life for this and maybe other wrong doings.
Mr Letterman, is not out of the woods -DAVID! Mom is ashamed of your sexual misconduct – you need to go to sex therapy and yes lets help you pick the place that you need to tend to. I think David is way worse then Tiger Woods and his situation. The letterman show has given the audiance the funnies and laughs but now we look at the desk on the letterman show ....wondering oh is the sex room up stairs from there, or is he doing the guest after the show, or who...come on David fix the image up of being a sex crazed guy doing "anything" to get your free willies!!! Do the dignified thing and divorce your wife and find a real soul real for a change instead of laughing your pants off!

JMA Ontario Canada Home of the Blackberry : ) and Olympics!!! Yahoo   February 17th, 2010 7:04 pm ET

Just wish to add to this a real shame Celine Dione was not here for the Olympics...Michael Buble and Celine ...they all would have been wonderful.
The accident death of the luger here was a devastating upsetting to us all to view and hear of it being real. I can not express enough sorrow for his family and relatives back home who have lost a brother a son and best friend. He was the olympic icon of Georgia and will always be remembered. This is a huge loss to his family friends and team members and coach.
May he rest in peace, for he was doing what he loved best and wanted to take part in and worked hard to be apart of at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
I do think the Olympics have gone over board with requirements, and skills and maybe have created a element of going faster and faster with skating, skiing,luging,snowboarding – so is it just about the time and how fast you do the event now????????????????
It appears that way – I am disappointed, in the judging everything is a race – its all about how fast you can do the sport – dah! Normal people are nto able to do the same, but they will try and we wonder why we have so many sports injuries? Come on the jumps and spins on the snow boads un real istic they may as well use the performers from circ de sole – ! The winter olympics are like a circus now, not just in canada but every where they take place. The Olympic committee needs to wake up show us real olympics not circ de sole skills.
Just saying its looking abnormal and not real for skiill but how fast the event is done – wow. That may be amazing in a bike race but lets get back to " the skill ability etc". It appears if we look at tapes of years ago the competition is way of judging has changed – is it for the better or not?

As I mentioned in a previous comment of the letterman case, both parties need to go to therapy – Letterman for his sex addiction, at work or any where he can get it and the other guy scamming him for money needs to get serious therapy for who and what he is, why he fell into debt and lost his love, turned desperate, etc but again both parties need therapy ordered for them -its against the law here in Canada to 'come on to your employee" or have intercourse or what ever with her or him. As guest on the show, guess I'd be wondering oh letterman "who ya going to do tonight" by far ....
doesn't letterman make the others married but having sex on the corner look innocent with his way or his private parts?Tiger Woods is innocent, was for other reasons not getting his share at home. He is far from as bad as Letterman who appears to be doing women when ever and where ever .....don't you think?

So why does Letterman do that? Funny or not, do the dignified thing and set his innocent stand in wife person that had his child – free.
Its making her and his relationship look pretty gross and his image not so funny anymore. Sex addiction therapy needs to be considered for Dave Lettman, and yes he may make humour of it but guess what? Would that not be the best thing for many others out there experiencing the same to hear from Dave Letterman how he got through it instead of living with the -oh give it too me baby from just about anyone/anything?

Thats all people, hope you can see what I am getting at and think of the variables : )

Comments have been closed for this article

Keep up to date with Larry

Follow him on Twitter

Become a fan on Facebook

Contact us
Go Behind The Scenes


LARRY KING LIVE'S Emmy-winning Senior Executive Producer Wendy Walker knows what it takes to make a great story.

With anecdotes, provocative emails, scandals, show transcripts and insights into Walker's long working relationship with Larry King, her new book PRODUCER issues readers an invitation to listen in on the most intriguing conversations on the planet.

Order from:
Barnes & Noble

King of Hearts

Larry King's King of Hearts

Saving a heart a day is the goal! Learn more about the Foundation and it's efforts to help the uninsured

Visit the Larry King Cardiac Foundation.

subscribe RSS Icon
Powered by VIP