David Letterman says he was victim of $2-million extortion attempt in sex case
Talk host David Letterman said Thursday that he was the victim of a $2-million extortion attempt related to his sexual relationships with staffers on CBS' "The Late Show."
During a taping for tonight's broadcast, Letterman told viewers that three weeks ago he was approached by a person who claimed to have information about the host's affairs with female staff members. This person, Letterman said, threatened to expose the relationships unless payment of $2 million was received. The CBS star approached the Manhattan district attorney's office, which began an investigation that culminated in today's arrest of the person, whom Letterman did not identify.
According to the website TMZ, the alleged extortionist is New York businessman Robert Halderman, 51.
Letterman, 62, said that during his grand-jury testimony he admitted to the sexual relationships.
"My response to that is, yes I have," he told his studio audience. "Would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Perhaps." However, he added: "I need to certainly protect my family."
CBS issued a terse statement that said in its entirety: "Mr. Letterman's comments on the broadcast tonight speak for themselves."
A spokesman for Letterman declined to elaborate on Letterman's remarks. A spokesperson for the district attorney's office declined to comment on the case.
Earlier this year, Letterman married Regina Lasko, his companion since 1986. The couple have a young son, Harry, whom Letterman frequently mentions on the program.
This image rendered form video shows David Letterman as he tells his story during a taping of his late-night show Thursday Oct. 1, 2009 that he had sexual relationships with female employees and that someone tried to extort $2 million from him over the affairs, and CBS says an employee has been charged with attempted grand larceny in the case. (AP Photo/CBS)