The former CBS producer who had been accused of attempting to blackmail late night television host David Letterman for $2 million over the funnyman’s romantic affairs with female staffers, pleaded guilty to second degree grand larceny in court on Tuesday.
Robert “Joe” Halderman, a former producer for the CBS show “48 Hours Mystery,” entered his plea in a Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday. According to the Associated Press, as a result of the man’s plea, Halderman will be sentenced to six months in jail. He will also be required to serve five years of probation and perform 1,000 hours of community service. Among his community service responsibilities will be teaching literacy and job skills to formerly incarcerated young people and more.
“Just wanted to say that I apologize to Mr. Letterman, his family to Stephanie Birkitt, her family and certainly to my friends and family,” Halderman told reporters outside of court on Tuesday.
Birkitt is one of the women with whom Letterman has been accused of having an affair. She was also, at one time, a housemate and girlfriend of Halderman’s.
On Tuesday afternoon, Letterman issued the following statement to Access Hollywood:
“I would like to thank the District Attorney of Manhattan, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the former District Attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, the Special Prosecutions Bureau in the D.A.‘s Office, and the New York City Police Department. When they became involved with this case, I had complete faith that a just and appropriate result was inevitable. On behalf of my family, I am extremely grateful for their tireless efforts,” the late night host said in his statement.
The Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., also released a statement to Access over Halderman’s plea.
“Robert Joel Halderman’s guilty plea today to the attempted extortion of David Letterman sends a strong message: If you commit this type of crime in Manhattan, whether you threaten to extort a celebrity or any other citizen, you will be investigated, prosecuted and you will almost certainly go to jail,” his statement read.
Vance went on to praise Letterman for alerting authorities to the crime last year.
“Mr. Letterman is a public figure, but like all New Yorkers he has a right to a certain degree of privacy in his personal life. By not giving in to the defendant’s extortionate demands for millions of dollars, and instead taking the courageous step of reporting the crime to law enforcement, Mr. Letterman risked the disclosure of certain aspects of his private life,” Vance’s statement continued. “I commend Mr. Letterman for making the difficult but unquestionably right decision to report this crime to my Office and thank him for his full and complete cooperation throughout the investigation and prosecution of the case. This plea agreement, in addition to imposing a meaningful sentence including a jail term, a lengthy period of supervised probation and significant post-release community service, provides punishment for the defendant and a measure of privacy for the victim.”
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