October 2, 2009
Posted: 03:34 PM ET
Editor's Note: For the latest on the alleged extortion plot against David Letterman, watch Larry King Live tonight at 9pmET/6pmPT.
The Manhattan district attorney has identified the man at the center of an alleged $2 million extortion plot against David Letterman. During a press conference on Friday morning, DA Robert Morgenthau said CBS News producer Robert "Joe" Halderman, who works for "48 Hours," has been charged with the crime of attempted grand larceny for an extortion plot that allegedly took place between September 9 and September 30.
According to Morgenthau, Halderman waited outside Letterman's New York apartment on the morning of September 9, hoping to give him a package and saying he needed a "large chunk of money" in exchange. The package allegedly contained a screenplay treatment Halderman was planning to sell that outlined Letterman's various liaisons with staffers on his show. Halderman is alleged to have threatened that the late-night host's life was about to "collapse" around him if the news got out.
People magazine reported that the one-page treatment mentioned Letterman's 6-year-old "beautiful, loving son," Harry, and referred to "ruined reputation and severe damage to [Letterman's] professional and family lives." After handing off the package, Halderman allegedly said he would contact Letterman at 8 a.m. to further discuss the matter. Letterman immediately called his lawyer, who met with Halderman at the Essex Hotel on September 15, when Halderman allegedly tried to extort $2 million from Letterman in exchange for keeping the news of the affairs quiet.
TMZ reported that Halderman held three meetings with Letterman's lawyers at the Essex Hotel — the last two of which were recorded — and that at the third one, Halderman was given a phony $2 million check. He was arrested on Thursday morning while trying to cash the check.
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