Published April 11, 2016
David Letterman felt "threatened, alarmed and concerned" about the impact to his family life and career after a newsman tried to blackmail him by disclosing his sexual affairs, according to court documents released Thursday.
CBS News producer Robert J. "Joe" Halderman told Letterman in a package of materials he sent that he had "a lot more" documents to back up his threat and needed to "make a large chunk of money," according to search warrant affidavits. The additional evidence, Halderman said, included letters, e-mails and photos, authorities said.
Halderman pleaded not guilty to trying to extort $2 million from Letterman to keep some of the comedian's sexual affairs quiet. A message left Thursday with Halderman's attorney was not immediately returned.
According to the court documents, the package Halderman sent included a demand letter, a treatment for a screenplay, photos, personal correspondence and portions of a diary.
Letterman "feels threatened, alarmed and concerned about the impact of the disclosure of his personal information on his family life and career," the court records state.
Letterman is not named specifically in the court documents, but they refer to "Client No. 1" as a public figure who faced the threat of "a ruined reputation" and damage to his career and family life. The documents referred to Letterman's "great professional success" and said Letterman's "world is about to collapse around him," authorities said.
Authorities also seized computer equipment, a camera memory card, banking information, photos, a magazine featuring Letterman and other items from Halderman's home.
Halderman, 51, a producer for CBS' "48 Hours Mystery," allegedly used diary entries by his former girlfriend — outlining her affair with Letterman — to extort money from the talk show star
Letterman divulged details of the alleged extortion caper during his show, including the admission that he had had affairs with women who worked for him on "Late Show."
Halderman left an envelope in Letterman's car early Sept. 9, authorities said. Letterman acknowledged that the letter contained proof that he had sexual relationships with members of his staff.
Three meetings between Letterman's lawyer and Halderman took place afterward, and the last two conversations were recorded, District Attorney Robert Morgenthau has said.
The lawyer gave Halderman a phony check for $2 million at the last meeting, Morgenthau said. Halderman deposited the check the next day and was arrested, the district attorney said.