People, Oct. 23, 1995

YOU BLACKMAILIN' ME?

So here he is, ROBERT DE NIRO, minding his own business in a New York City bar, when this paparazzo, this JOSEPH LIGIER, shoves a video camera in his face. De Niro allegedly grabs the guy's hair; the photog files assault charges. And then the real drama starts. Ligier's attorney calls De Niro's people and offers to drop the charges in return for, say, $300,000. De Niro and his lawyers decide to play along. The attorneys negotiate the price down to $150,000, and the cash payoff takes place in a limo--with cops listening in. Bingo! Ligier spends the...

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