06 May 2010

TV Producer Jailed for $2M David Letterman Blackmail

BBC News
A US producer has been sentenced to six months in jail for blackmailing American chat show host David Letterman over his sexual affairs.

Robert "Joe" Halderman, a former CBS employee, was also given 1,000 hours of community service. He pleaded guilty in March.

Halderman, 52, had asked for $2m (£1.3m) from Letterman last year for not exposing sexual relationships he had had with female members of staff.

Mr Letterman has admitted the affairs.

Halderman, who was a producer on CBS' 48 Hours Mystery crime show, had tried to extort the payment from Mr Letterman after reading about one of the relationships in a former girlfriend's diary.

He was charged with attempted grand larceny after his arrest last October.

In court, his lawyer said he had suffered jealousy and was having financial problems at the time.

The case opened Mr Letterman's private life to scrutiny and led the host to confess on air that he had had sex with women on his staff.

Mr Letterman, 62, married long-term girlfriend Regina Lasko in March. They have a six-year-old son.

On Friday, Mr Letterman said in a TV interview that he had been hit hard by the scandal, saying: "You take a look at the explosion, and it knocks you down".

But ratings for his programme, The Late Show, have remained strong.

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