Extortion accusations lodged against Hollywood bulldog attorney Martin Singer by a former reality TV star have been thrown out by a California appeals court, TheWrap has learned.
It all started in 2011, when Singer sent a letter on behalf of a client to Mike "Boogie" Malin (pictured above), accusing the "Big Brother" alum of embezzling more than $1 million in funds from the client's restaurant. The letter also made clear they knew how Malin was using the money: to feed a spree of anonymous sex with several older men he'd been meeting on Craigslist.
The letter included charges -- not yet filed at the time -- with even more details of Malin's alleged dalliances, including uncle-nephew and father-son role play.
Malin pre-emptively sued Singer and associates, saying the letter amounted to criminal extortion. The Court of Appeal didn't see it that way, ruling that Singer's letter was protected speech, despite its seedy accusations. There would be no difference, the court ruled, had the funds been spent on cars or other luxuries.
"The fact that the funds were allegedly used for a more provocative purpose does not make the threatened disclosure of that purpose during litigation extortion," read the ruling.
Malin's lawsuit also included an accusation of wiretapping -- which the court kicked down the road, essentially, suggesting it be taken up in a summary motion.
"We have been completely vindicated by the Court of Appeal's holding that our pre-litigation demand letter was not extortion," said Singer (right) in a statement to TheWrap. "The defensive lawsuit that Malin filed was a desperate and futile attempt to prevent (my client) from pursuing claims for embezzlement."
The appeals court also noted that Singer and his associates can seek the recovery of legal fees.
A rep for Malin didn't immediately return TheWrap's call for comment.
Sharon Waxman contributed to this report.
- Arts & Entertainment