On Thursday night’s Late Show, David Letterman admitted to having “had sex with women who work with me on this show” and explained that he had testified against his alleged extortionist before a grand jury earlier that day. Now People.com is reporting new details about the alleged $2 million extortion plot. At a press conference given this morning by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, prosecutors identified the suspect in the plot as a longtime CBS employee, 48 Hours producer Robert “Joe” Halderman, 51. According to Morgenthau, Halderman had been charged with attempted grand larceny between Sept. 9 and Sept. 30 and that on Sept. 9, Halderman waited outside Letterman’s Manhattan apartment at 6 a.m. to give him a package and say that he needed a “large chunk of money.” He was hoping to sell a “screenplay treatment,” a one-page document that mentioned “your beautiful loving son” and claimed Letterman’s “world was about to collapse around him.” He also referred to “ruined reputation and severe damage to his professional and family lives.”
Halderman allegedly said he should contact Letterman by 8 a.m. to further discuss the matter. Letterman immediately called his lawyer. The lawyer met Halderman at the Essex House hotel on Sept. 15, at which point the suspect allegedly attempted to extort $2 million from Letterman in exchange for not disclosing to the public sexual activity between the Late Show host and female employees of his program. On Sept. 30 in Connecticut, Halderman tried to cash a $2 million check Letterman’s lawyer provided and was arrested. He has been indicted on one account of Attempted Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class C felony that is punishable by up to 5 to 15 years in prison.
A search warrant (obtained by FOX 5 New York) names Letterman’s former assistant Stephanie Birkitt as one of the women involved in the case. According to the warrant, Birkitt was Halderman’s girlfriend and the package Halderman sent Letterman contained copies of parts of a diary as well as correspondence belonging to Birkitt. (EW.com interviewed Birkitt in 2002.)
An arraignment is scheduled for Friday at 2:15 p.m.