May 4th, 2010
05:55 PM ET

Former CBS producer starts jail time for Letterman extortion

Robert Joel Halderman knew the jail time a New York judge would give him Tuesday when he was sentenced for trying to blackmail comedian David Letterman about the "Late Show" host's sexual affairs.

The former CBS news producer admitted guilt in March to attempted second-degree grand larceny in exchange for a promised sentence of six months in jail, five years' probation and 1,000 hours of community service.

After formal sentencing in Manhattan Tuesday afternoon, Halderman was escorted to jail to begin serving his sentence, according to a spokeswoman for the district attorney.

Halderman, who was a producer for "48 Hours," admitted that he tried to extort $2 million from Letterman in exchange for keeping quiet about Letterman's affairs with female staffers.

The prosecutor said Letterman, through an attorney, gave Halderman a $2 million check in October and Halderman deposited the money into a Connecticut bank account the day before he was arrested.

Letterman announced the extortion plot on his CBS show in October and admitted he had affairs with female staffers.

Halderman, appearing in court for his plea, expressed "great remorse" and apologized to Letterman and his family and to the family of Stephanie Birkitt, one of the women Halderman said had engaged in a sexual relationship with Letterman. Birkitt was an assistant to the talk show host and was Halderman's former live-in girlfriend.

The 27-year CBS veteran initially had been charged with first-degree attempted grand larceny, to which he pleaded not guilty in October. He could have faced 15 years in prison if convicted.

"This is a serious sentence that properly reflects the crimes that Mr. Halderman has now admitted that he committed, and it is a fitting end to the case," Letterman lawyer Daniel J. Horwitz said after the guilty plea was entered.

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Nighthhaaawk

    It's just nice to see the REAL bad guy get what's coming to him!
    Letterman's fooling around BEFORE he was married is no ones business but his own! This jerk deserves MORE than he got...!

    May 5, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bert

    For the first time, I understand that this whole thing was probably about this guy's being crazy mad about his former live-in girlfriend running off with Letterman. I can imagine his initial planning of this, balancing the pay off of sticking it to the guy who'd gotten the better of him with the risk of possibly getting caught. His jealous anger apparently won.

    May 5, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mim

    Biblical sense?
    You THOUGHT you were GOD?



    May 5, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bill

    Now he can have an affair of his own! whether its Guido, T-bone, or "Princess", his dance card will always be full at the san quentin social!

    May 5, 2010 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joker

    Maybe Letterman willtry to blackmail him about
    "the affairs" he has in jail!

    May 5, 2010 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  6. lauratj

    Does'nt anyone think before they act. Now this man can add jail time & community service to his future resume. Was it all worth it ???

    May 5, 2010 at 6:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. suzy diamond

    I'm SO glad this guy got BUSTED!! Extortion is for COWARDS! I can't believe he thought Dave Letterman would "pay him off!" I'm so glad Dave turned the tables on this guy and he caught a BREAK and got a deal! DO THE TIME PAL!!

    May 5, 2010 at 5:04 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bobo

    I don't get it. I've know plenty of jail time in my life.

    May 4, 2010 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Alex

    He "knew the jail time" as in it was a plea bargain, so he already knew it would be 6 months in prison before the judge officially sentenced him.

    It's an awkward sentence, but it does make sense.

    May 4, 2010 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John

    You commenters are funny; you're seeing the poor structure of the writer's sentence, yet neither of you can correctly explain why it doesn't work - and "dan" can't even properly construct his own sentence. Hilarious.

    May 4, 2010 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jennifer Jessey

    Check your 1st sentence CNN, you are missing a verb....

    May 4, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dan

    yeah i read it wrong now i got it. bad day im hypercritical sorry

    May 4, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dan

    he "knew" the jail time? in the biblical sense? maybe im reading it wrong but i dont get it. doesnt anybody proof these? youd think theyd at least check the first sentence.

    May 4, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |

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