On last Friday's Late Show with David Letterman, Letterman explained in a ten-minute monologue that an extortion attempt had been made upon him: some guy had proof that Letterman had slept with a number of his female staff workers over the years, and he wanted Letterman to pay him $2 million. Letterman went to the authorities, and the guy was arrested. Here's the big confession, jokes and all:
Letterman tapes his show in the late afternoon, so news was already leaked to the press about the scandal a number of hours before the show aired.
Since then, we've found out a lot more. And interestingly, the big story seems not to be Letterman's affairs (he only got married to his wife, Regina Lasko, in March, so they're not technically "affairs," though he did date her for 23 years...hmm, wonder why it took so long to get married). The big story is Letterman's alleged extortionist.
Robert Halderman is a producer for CBS's 48 Hours. He's known among co-workers as a big personality and a smart guy who could get things done.
So why after covering countless criminal cases for his own show did he do something as stupid as try to extort $2 million from a celebrity? Gawker notes his marriage was in shambles and he had to pay insane child support. And also, Stephanie Birkitt, one of Letterman's alleged partners, also had a relationship with Halderman. Which presumably has to be connected somehow.
Halderman plead not guilty, and his lawyer is already trying to character-assassinate Letterman. I bet it just keeps getting more bizarre as we find out more about both Halderman and Letterman.
On last night's show, Letterman effectively apologized for his earlier apology, saying that by admitting he slept with female staff workers, he was subjecting his entire staff to an embarrassing publicity circus. He also apologized to his wife: "I've got a lot of work to do."
But most amusingly, he made fun of himself for his own long history of making fun of celebrities who had extramarital affairs: "Hey, Bill Clinton was in the news..." trails off. "Mark Sanford..." trails off. "Elliot Spitzer..." trails off. Then: "This is phase one. Of the scandal. Phase two, I go on Oprah and cry."