A judge has ruled against dismissal of the David Letterman extortion case.
The case against Letterman's accused extortionist, 48 Hours Mystery producer Robert J. Halderman, "is a classic example of an issue that is best left for a trial jury to decide," state Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon wrote Tuesday in a motion obtained by The Associated Press.
The case is now on a path to trial. Halderman's lawyer, Gerald Shargel, told the AP he is "perfectly willing" for the case to trial and one of Letterman's attorneys has said the Late Show host is willing to testify.
Shargel had attempted to have Halderman's grand larceny charge dismissed, saying the TV producer was simply trying to make a routine private business arrangement with the late-night host to sell a screenplay based on Letterman's life. Shargel also argued the charge conflicted with Halderman's free speech rights to write a Letterman-based movie or book.
However, the judge dismissed the argument, saying Halderman "is not being prosecuted for authoring either a book or screenplay," AP reports.
Letterman's lawyer, Daniel J. Horwitz, told the AP Tuesday that the judge's refusal to dismiss the charges "strongly indicates that the focus of this case will be the facts of what Mr. Halderman did and what he said — facts that amount to classic extortion."
Halderman is accused of trying to extort $2 million from Letterman based on information revealing Letterman's affairs with staffers, including Halderman's ex-girlfriend — a former Late Show employee.
Halderman could face up to 15 year behind bars if convicted. He is next due in court March 15, at which point a trial date may be set.