Blackmail suspect vowed David Letterman's world was 'about to collapse'
The man who allegedly tried to blackmail David Letterman for $2 million is a longtime CBS employee who vowed that his details about the host's sex life would lead to a "ruined reputation," officials say.
In a media conference this morning, the Manhattan district attorney's office identified the man as Robert Joel Halderman, 51. Halderman was arrested Thursday outside the CBS offices in New York and was indicted on one count of attempted grand larceny in the first degree. The charge is punishable by five to 15 years in prison.
In a letter to the host of CBS' "Late Show," Halderman threatened that Letterman's "world is about to collapse around" him and that he would disclose information that would lead to a "ruined reputation." The district attorney says that Halderman waited outside Letterman's Manhattan home at 6 a.m. on Sept. 9 to deliver an extortion letter.
On his program Thursday night, Letterman revealed the blackmail attempt to viewers and admitted that he had had sexual relationships with female staffers on his show. He said that he first learned of the plot when he found a package in the back seat of his car, adding that the sum of $2 million was demanded or the blackmailer would write a book and a screenplay about the host's private life.
"This whole thing has been quite scary," Letterman said on his program.
-- Scott Collins
Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau stands as he announces an indictment today against Robert "Joe" Halderman for an alleged blackmail plot against television personality David Letterman on October 2, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)