The lawyer for the man accused of trying to shake down David Letterman for $2 million—in order not to divulge Letterman's history of relationships with female staffers—hit the morning talk shows to slam the Late Show host: "He’s a master at manipulating audiences, that’s what he does for a living... The public should not rush to judgment. The public should not simply take the word of David Letterman.

Gerald Shargel, who once got John Gotti an acquittal, is representing Robert "Joe" Halderman, a 48 Hours news producer who the Manhattan DA's office claims was so "desperate" and in debt (he had considerable child/spousal support payments) that he was driven to extorting Letterman. Halderman had recently broken up with Stephanie Birkitt, a former Late Show staffer who apparently had a relationship with Letterman—and whose diaries and e-mails Halderman allegedly used to blackmail Letterman.

Shargel took offense to Letterman's version of events about the extortion plot, "If you only hear David Letterman’s side of the story, take it at face value and say, ‘Turn off the sets, that Halderman’s guilty’ — I think that’s plain wrong... To think that David Letterman gave the entire story, and there’s nothing more to be said, it’s simply wrong." He also pointed out that his client is an investigative news journalist familiar with stings and wire taps (the "my client isn't this stupid" defense); plus he said of his client allegedly depositing a fake check for $2 million, "In the history of extortion attempts, there’s never been, as far as I know, someone paying by check."

Today the Post reports that while Birkitt and Halderman dated (and before Halderman knew of her fling with Letterman), "Letterman wanted nothing to do with Halderman and dissed him by never asking him to spend time with the star and Birkitt, leaving the boyfriend angry and feeling slighted, the source said."