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Old December 15th, 2006, 07:14 AM
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They will kill you, Yoko told Prosecutors detail her ex-driver's twisted plot

They will kill you, Yoko told
Prosecutors detail her ex-driver's twisted plot
BY BARBARA ROSS, MICHAEL WHITE and DAVE GOLDINER
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Yoko Ono (in hat) Yoko Ono's scheming chauffeur claimed he had henchmen waiting to kill her if she refused to hand over $2 million in hush money, prosecutors charged yesterday.
Koral Karson, 50, also allegedly told John Lennon's widow that he would go public with intimate photos of her wearing pajamas and secretly recorded tapes of her private phone calls if he didn't get the cash.
"He said he had people standing by waiting to kill her on his orders," said Manhattan prosecutor Maureen O'Connor.
The threats led the 73-year-old avant-garde artist to fire Karson and alert the cops, who arrested him Wednesday at his Amityville, L.I., home and charged him with attempted grand larceny.
Authorities said yesterday there is no evidence that Karson had hired hit men, and police sources believe he was using the death threats to scare Ono.
"Talk of henchmen was just ... crazy talk," a police source said.
Ono testified about the attempted shakedown before a Manhattan grand jury yesterday morning, sources said.
A judge later set bail for Karson, a Turkish immigrant who once served in his homeland's military, at $500,000 during a brief court appearance.
Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau called Karson a "very sophisticated" shakedown artist and noted prosecutors are continuing to probe the death threats.
"We're going to take it seriously," Morgenthau said. "We just don't know."
Karson secretly recorded and photographed Ono while working for her for more than a decade, authorities said. He cruelly confronted her with the tapes and photographs last Friday on the 26th anniversary of her husband's murder by a crazed fan.
"He could have picked any one of 364 other days [but] he picked that day," said Elliott Mintz, a spokesman for Ono. "He knew that would be a particularly vulnerable time for her."
A blackmail letter allegedly written by Karson also threatened to reveal Ono's true feelings about the U.S. and British governments and tell the public that Sean Lennon once called his father an "a--hole," a source said.
On Tuesday, Karson went to Ono's lawyer, who had already alerted cops, and further vowed to write a tell-all book and sic a gang of killers on her if he didn't get the money.
Cops had planned to set up a sting operation to bust Karson, but nabbed him Wednesday after learning of the death threats. "She was not intimidated," Mintz said of Ono. "Yoko does not pay extortion money." Karson, who earned $160,000 a year, has claimed Ono sexually harassed him, which she denies.
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