NYC Judge Says Jury Should Decide Letterman Extortion Case

NEW YORK (AP) - A New York judge has ruled that a jury should get to decide whether a TV producer's dealings with David Letterman were attempted blackmail or just hard-nosed business. Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon refused to throw out an attempted grand larceny charge against the producer, Joe Halderman. The ruling puts the case on a path toward trial, which could bring testimony from the "Late Show" host about his affairs with staffers.

Prosecutors say Halderman demanded $2 million to keep quiet about the affairs. Halderman says he was just offering Letterman a chance to buy the screenplay based on Letterman's life to keep it quiet. Letterman's lawyer ultimately gave Halderman a phony $2 million check. The producer was arrested after depositing it. Halderman says the transaction was no shakedown, but Letterman attorney Daniel Horwitz says it amounted to "classic extortion."

Halderman, a producer for CBS' "48 Hours Mystery," could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.