Carrie Prejean - Why wasn't sex tape settlement extortion?

I’m wondering why it isn’t extortion or blackmail for the Miss California pageant lawyers to threaten Prejean with the exposure of her sex tape in order to coerce her into dropping her lawsuit? I don’t see much difference between what they did and what Robert Halderman, Letterman’s blackmailer, tried to do.

Nevermind. It looks like Sampiro already answered the question in the Prejean Pit thread when he said:

Very simple: Lawyers were involved.

Let’s assume that you know some powerful corporate leader has a deep dark secret. If you personally call up the powerful corporate leader and claim that you know this deep dark secret and want a couple of million hush money. That’s blackmail.

Let’s say instead you buy one share in this corporation. Congratulations. You are now a stock holder. Now, as a concerned stockholder, you want this powerful corporate figure to resign because his deep dark secret hurts the company you hold stock in.

So, you contact a lawyer who contacts the powerful corporate leader. The lawyer explains the lawsuit and how the corporate leader will be asked about this deep dark secret during trial, and your lawyer claims they even have evidence that the horse in question was not above the age of consent.

The corporate leader contacts his lawyer who talks to your lawyer. The two lawyers reach an agreement: You’ll drop your suit and get a couple of million in compensation. In return, you sign an agreement that this whole deal will be sealed and no one will ever know about it.

Except for the legal fees, you’ve pretty much got the same thing as the original blackmail, but in a completely legit manner.

I suspect that this whole thing was done with lawyers. That the basic claim is if we go to trial, your sex tape would become evidence and thus be released in public.

Cite that the sex tape had anything to do with her being fired anyway? It’s pretty clear she was in solid breach of contract by not performing the expected duties of her position as Miss California. By all indicators, they were entirely willing to overlook indiscretions, but not showing up for work isn’t acceptable anywhere.

Thank you. That was an interesting and insightful post.

I suppose the thing for Halderman to have done in Letterman’s case then would have been to threaten through his lawyer to sue Letterman for alienation of affection or some such, and to have his lawyer point to the diary and photos as items that would come out in the trial and be publicized. Then the settlement, payoff, and secrecy agreement would have proceeded legally as you described. Correct?

I wonder if his lawyer has explained to Halderman that if he’d only gone about it that way, he’d have his dough now instead of wondering how much time he’s gonna do and how broke he’ll be when it’s all done.

So close, but so far away. I almost feel sorry for the guy, seeing as how Letterman was continuing to pork his girlfriend while they were living together and Letterman knew it.

The sex tape didn’t come up with regard to her being fired, per se. Prejean was suing the Miss California USA organization for big bucks, and the threat of the sex tape being revealed in court was the leverage the Miss California USA lawyers used to get her to drop the lawsuit. It was all over the news a few days ago.

Since she has been so carefully guarding the actual content of the of the settlement, how is it that you know that the sex tape was any part of the agreement?

She’s not really been that careful. According to the pit thread, she went on some “Fox News” show and spilled what happened.

Plus, an article linked to in the Pit has a response from her lawyer saying she can’t discuss the tape because of the settlement.

Aside from whether she missed scheduled appearances, I suspect that there was a “morals clause” in the contract between the Miss California pageant and contestants such as Ms. Prejean, and that the existence of the sex tape would put her in violation of that clause.

I have no doubt that she would like people to think that the evil pageant people were blackmailing her. It’s a narrative that plays well into her manufactured outrage theme. Since the tapes are out there now, she has no reason not to sue the pageant unless there is something else.

whoops. Duplicate post