Articles Posted in Extortion

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It’s potentially one the most bizarre Los Angeles DUI trials of 2014…chris-lanzillo-dui-costa-mesa

A Riverside Private Eye, Chris Lanzillo, has taken the 5th Amendment (to avoid self-incrimination under oath) over 200 times in a recent deposition.

Lanzillo stands accused of following Jim Righeimer, the Mayor of Costa Mesa, back in 2012, and calling in a fake DUI report on him. The lawsuit says the PI tailed the mayor, called 911, and reported that the mayor had been driving erratically and weaving around. Lanzillo was working for the Costa Mesa Police Association, which had been in a major kerfuffle with Mayor Righeimer and his City Council.

Critics believe that Lanzillo – backed by the Police Association — engaged in an illegal smear campaign. Righeimer’s successor, Mayor Pro Tem, Steve Mensinger, says that someone also put a GPS device on his vehicle, when he ran for election.

An attorney representing the Mayor and the Mayor Pro Tem expressed his disgust with the whole situation: “It is very disturbing when any organization associated with law enforcement refuses to answer questions under oath on the grounds that the answer may incriminate them.”

The deposition of Lanzillo lasted a full three hours, and he took the 5th 200 times. That means that, on average, Lanzillo took the 5th more than **once a minute for three hours in a row**.

The Costa Mesa Police Union, meanwhile, denies the knowledge of the false DUI and instead places blame on a law firm it hired – Lackie Dammeier McGill & Ethir – which has since been dissolved. The firm had a reputation for representing police associations in a very aggressive manner.

Who knows how the trial down in Costa Mesa will turn out? It’s interesting to consider, and it does teach us that DUI cases can easily devolve into a situation of “he said, she said.”

How does anyone really know what happened during a DUI arrest (or accident) in an objective way? The answer is that objective fact finding is hard! An accident reconstruction expert – who is familiar with DUI crashes – should get involved, ASAP, and identify what happened prior to the collision. For instance, was the crash unavoidable, or did human error or negligence play some role? The analyst should also look at the mechanical condition of the vehicles involved, weather, traffic and lighting that may have been relevant, and road conditions.

To construct your Los Angeles DUI defense effectively, connect with Michael Kraut of the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers immediately for a free consultation. Continue reading

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Prosecutors and top rated defense attorneys faced off in court today over the allegations of sex, lies and screenplays in the David Letterman extortion case. Extortion is a serious crime. A person convicted of this offense will most likely be sent to state prison for many many years. Extortion is defined as the use of either threat of violence or some other criminal means to cause any harm, including financial, to another person or their reputation, to obtain property from someone else with their consent.

In this case, Halderman is accused of threatening to divulge personal information about Letterman that could cause harm to the entertainer’s reputation.

The case revolves around Halderman, a well known TV producer,whose wife had a long running affair with Mr. Letterman. Halderman is the accused extortionist who wrote a screenplay about Letterman’s sex life with female staffers. The case stems from Halderman, who was angry over his wife’s affair could not find any way to make his wife stop the relationship with the late night comic. Records indicate that he continually confronted his wife about ceasing the affair. She apparently apologized and committed to her relationship with Halderman. Things seemed to be mending between the couple until he found that she had not stopped the affair.

Halderman decided to take his revenge out on the keyboard. Penning a script about Letterman’s hostile work environment. Then on September 9, 2009, Halderman delivered a portion of the script, which contained changed names, to Letterman’s driver, with documents which corroborated Halderman’s facts in the script. He then gave Letterman an opportunity to buy the script rather then see it made into a movie. Halderman met two times with Letterman’s lawyers and in taped conversations in which he was recorded demanding money. Afterward, a check for $2 million was given to Halderman.

Halderman’s criminal defense attorney indicated that their client was merely selling a screenplay and by filing the charges, the prosecutors were infringing on his First Amendment right of free speech.

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