Friday, October 2, 2009


I just read about David Letterman, how someone was arrested for extortion for threatening to make public Letterman's sexual affairs with female staffers unless Letterman handed over $2 million dollars.

I have always found the legal concept of extortion very interesting because it amounts to two actions which when combined together become criminal. If you take the same two actions, and make them separate and apart, no crime has occurred.

In the Letterman case, say the accused asked Letterman for $2 million dollars. Has any crime been committed? Of course not.

Now say the accused did not ask for cash for Letterman, but instead wrote a book or held a press conference detailing Letterman's sexual history with female staffers. Again, if he did that, there is no crime.

But when you say (and I'm not saying that is what the accused did) give me $2 million, or I will reveal your sexual past, then your have met the criminal elements for extortion.

Its the combination of the two that always gets people indicted.

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