Letterman Reveals Affairs, Extortion Attempt
David Letterman was the victim of an extortion attempt and took a novel approach: going public.
Michael Schneider for Variety:
On the show, Letterman sat down behind his desk and asked his audience whether they wanted to hear a story — and the crowd enthusiastically cheered, not knowing what they were about to hear.
According to the host first received a package three weeks ago from someone who claimed to have information about alleged sexual relations he has had with female employees of the “Late Show.” “I get to looking through it and there’s a letter in the package and it says, ‘I know that you do some terrible, terrible things. And I can prove that you do these terrible things.’ Sure enough, contained in the package was stuff to prove that I do terrible things,” Letterman said on Thursday’s edition of CBS’ “Late Show.”
The host said the alleged extortion suspect claimed he planned to write both a movie screenplay and a book based on what he knew — that Letterman had engaged in sex with staffers. “He’s going to take all the terrible stuff he knows about my life — and according to this packet, there seems to be a lot of terrible stuff he knows about — and he’s going to put it into a movie unless I give him some money,” he said. “That’s a little hinky. I just want to reiterate how terrifying this moment is. Because there’s something very insidious about, is he standing down there, is he hiding under the car, am I going to get a tap on the shoulder?”
Letterman said the individual threatened to go public with the allegations unless Letterman paid the person $2 million. The host, under advisement of his attorney, met with the man on three different occasions. According to Letterman, the suspect even made it clear he knew what he was doing was illegal. Letterman told his audience that he then contacted the Manhattan District Attorney’s Special Prosecution Bureau.
They then set up a sting operation, arrested the perpetrator, and Letterman testified before a grand jury.
As part of the testimony, Letterman admitted that he had engaged in sexual relationships with staff members. “My response to that is, yes I have. Would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Perhaps it would,” Letterman said. “Especially for the women. But that’s a decision for them to make if they want to come public and talk about the relationships.
This is not the first time Letterman has been the victim of an extortion attempt. Police revealed a plot in 2005 to kidnap Letterman’s baby son, Harry, for a $5 million ransom. House painter Kelly Frank was later charged with the crime. Letterman has been married to Regina Lasko, the mother of his child, since March. The two have dated since 1986.
Letterman has also been a stalking victim. All of which, I suppose, is the bizarre price of celebrity. And it gets more bizarre, if this Radar report is accurate.
An NYPD source has told RadarOnline.com that the suspect under arrest in the David Letterman extortion case was a producer for CBS’s 48 Hours, Robert Halderman. Halderman often went by his middle name Joe and currently has a residence in Connecticut.
RadarOnline.com has also learned that the alleged extortionist lived with one of the woman who David was involved with. The affair happened a long time ago, before his son Harry was born, and before he got married, but he was living with his wife to be at the time.
AllahPundit wonders, “Why acknowledge the extortion on the show, though? Even if the news broke in the papers, a studious silence would have led at least some people to believe that the accusations against him were bogus.” Presumably, going public gets the story behind him more quickly and garners some sympathy. Plus, he clearly doesn’t seem to be embarrassed by his own misdeeds here.