, 10 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
So where is the line between settlement negotiation and extortion? Turns out it's really complicated, as @renato_mariotti pointed out. It's been litigated a lot, as you would expect, in California, which is sort of the Florida of law.

This is a story of two cases. /1
/2 The first case involves Michael Flatley, the Lord of The Dance. A sleazy attorney, in sleazy fashion, demanded that Flatley pay big bucks or the sleazy attorney's client would accuse Flatley of rape dramatically and publicly and sue him. It never happened.
/3 Flatley sued Mauro, the attorney, for extortion and so forth. Mauro filed a motion under California's anti-SLAPP law, arguing that his communications were pre-lawsuit communications and absolutely immune from suit under California's very robust litigation privilege.
/4 Not so! said California's Supreme Court. Yes, the litigation privilege covers pre-lawsuit negotiations. BUT at some point it becomes extortion, and extortion is a crime, and the anti-SLAPP statute doesn't cover crimes.

/5 So wait, says everyone. Where's the line? Were ALL those factors essential? How many factors makes it extortion? Can you explain in a way that's not buried in an incredibly long complex opinion?

Shan't, said the Supreme Court, and flapped their robes and flew away.
/6 Enter Marty Singer, a Hollywood lawyer, legal leg-breaker and arm-twister for celebrities, a man compared to a bulldog by people who have apparently had sincerely terrible experiences with bulldogs. Singer represented a client who was mad at his business partner.
/7 Singer sends Malin, his client's business partner, a letter saying not ONLY are we suing you for this dull-ass financial stuff, we'll spill how Malin used misbegotten money for lurid sexual purposes. Singer was creepily specific and authentically thuggish.
/8 Malin sues Singer and his client for extortion. In the trial court, Singer files an anti-SLAPP motion, saying his conduct is protected by the litigation privilege. The trial judge finds that it's not, because it's extortion, based on the Flatley case.
/9 But Singer wins in the court of appeals, which says that the Flatley case was REALLY BAD, and this case is not as bad, because Singer didn't also threaten to call the cops and was tied to a preexisting legal dispute. Which leaves us ..where?¯\_(ツ)_/¯
/10 This is still a poorly defined area of law. And today, we learn that Martin Singer, in one of life's little ironies, is represented the TARGET of extortion in the Bezos matter. It's a funny old world. /end
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