David Letterman Admits Affairs at Center of Extortion Arrest

Late-night host David Letterman acknowledged on Thursday’s show that he had sexual relationships with female employees and that someone tried to extort $2 million from him over the affairs. CBS says an employee has been charged with attempted grand larceny in the case.

Letterman told his story during a taping of his show, mixing in jokes to an audience that seemed confused about what it was. He called it a “bizarre experience” that left him feeling disturbed and menaced.

Click here for a clip of Letterman addressing the affairs, extortion.

In a release from the show’s production company, Letterman said he referred the matter to the Manhattan district attorney’s office. An investigation ended in an arrest Thursday after Letterman issued a phony $2 million check to keep the matter silent.

The network said late Thursday the person who was arrested works on the true-crime show “48 Hours” and has been suspended. A person with knowledge of the investigation said the suspect is Robert J. Halderman. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because authorities have not released the suspect’s name.

A “48 Hours” producer named Joe Halderman was part of a team nominated for an Emmy for outstanding continuing coverage of a news story in a news magazine in 2008.

Two numbers listed for Halderman were disconnected, and a message left at a third number was not immediately returned Thursday.

The late-night comic began his show by walking onstage and briefly leaning on a pillar with his back to the audience. Then he gave a monologue with jokes against frequent foils like Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin. He told his personal story after sitting behind his desk.

He said he was glad the audience was in a pleasant mood “because I have a little story that I’d like to tell you and the home viewers as well.”

Three weeks ago, Letterman said he got in his car early in the morning and found a package with a letter saying “I know that you do some terrible, terrible things and that I can prove you do some terrible things.” He acknowledged the letter contained proof.

Letterman said he called his lawyer to set up a meeting with the man, who threatened to write a screenplay and a book about Letterman unless he was given money. There were two subsequent meetings with the man, the last one resulting in the check being delivered.

He told the audience that he had to testify before a grand jury on Thursday.

“I was worried for myself, I was worried for my family,” he said. “I felt menaced by this, and I had to tell them all of the creepy things that I had done.”

“The creepy stuff was that I have had sex with women who work for me on this show,” he said. “My response to that is yes, I have. Would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Yes, it would, especially for the women.”

Whether they wanted to make the relationships public was up to them, he said.

“It’s been a very bizarre experience,” he said. “I felt like I needed to protect these people. I need to protect my family. I need to protect myself. Hope to protect my job.”

Letterman mixed in jokes while telling the story, keeping his audience off guard.

“I know what you’re saying,” he said. “I’ll be darned, Dave had sex.”

It was not immediately clear when the relationships took place; Letterman and longtime girlfriend Regina Lasko married in March. The couple began dating in 1986 and have a son, Harry, born in November 2003.

CBS spokesman Chris Ender said Thursday that “Letterman’s comments on the broadcast tonight speak for themselves.”

It’s the second set of embarrassing headlines for Letterman in four months. In June, he apologized to Sarah Palin for making a crude joke about the former Republican vice presidential candidate’s 14-year-old daughter. Although there was a small “fire Letterman” demonstration outside of his studio later, CBS stood by its late-night star.

After nearly 15 years in second place to NBC’s Jay Leno in the ratings, Letterman took over the top spot this summer after Conan O’Brien became “Tonight” show host.

Letterman’s CBS “Late Show” has been on the air since 1993 and before that, he had a late-night show on NBC from 1982 to 1993.

Alicia Maxey Greene, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, declined to comment.

Letterman was also the victim of a 2005 plot by a former painter on his Montana ranch to kidnap his nanny and son for a $5 million ransom. The former painter, Kelly A. Frank, briefly escaped from prison in 2007 before being recaptured.

Another alleged extortion scandal surrounding a public figure, Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino, similarly forced him this summer to acknowledge an affair.


In a way, hopefully this gets a lot of outrage, right? Hopefully he gets chased off the network. What would be much worse if he came out and said, yup, had an affair, so what? Who cares? Its no big deal.

Right and agreed.

What would be much worse if he came out and said, yup, had an affair, so what? Who cares? Its no big deal.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what he said on his show. He admitted to having sex with the women who work for him – and that statement was greeted with laughter and applause from his audience. Betrayal of his wife and family, adultery, fornication, coercive sexual relations with employees, sexual misconduct by employer, treating women as sex objects, general immorality, corruption and sleazyness …

All of that is excused and applauded.

The only reason he did not get a standing ovation is because the audience was not sure he was serious. Letterman’s stock in trade is trying to humiliate those with whom he disagrees or disaproves of…the chickens do indeed come home to roost but I don’t think they will stay long.

The audience in Mr. Letterman’s show is probably (hopefully) not an accurate bellweather of the people of the world. However, the fact is that people *did *gregariously embrace all that you wrote and it *was *broadcast to millions.

Politicians often say that America is a ‘Christian nation.’ If that were true, this sort of thing would be condemned by media outlets and not let on the air to prevent the corruption of viewers.

It’s one thing if a person recognizes they failed, confess it, and then genuinely seek forgiveness. Unfortunately pop culture as mangled this formula and instead insists that boasting of sins is purative.

Extortion is wrong of course, as the Catechism says. But to eschew this away like it were some banal inconvenience, as Mr. Letterman did on his show, only compounds the problem.

We should note that this is someone who has made a profession out of mean spirited jokes directed against others.

i heard the breaking news last night and was not totally shocked. there has always been something creepy about him and i have been outraged at his attacks on Sarah Palin.

this was not just one, but it sounds like multiple women he had affairs with. i wonder what his wife thinks about this and how long she has known.

i don’t endorse extortion, but i am glad this sordid bit of information has surfaced about this man.

there is nothing charming about him in my book.

I don’t get why people get so upset over the things he said about Palin. I watch him every night, and if you can’t take the jokes (which are often targeted at politicians) you shouldn’t be watching it.
I like Letterman, and while I don’t condone his actions, I think we should be willing to forgive and forget… “Forgive us of our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us…”
It’s not exactly a newsflash that celebrities aren’t the best role models, now is it? We’re far better off to enjoy their work and leave them to their own personal life. Would you really want people reading about your life, and commenting on it? We mustn’t act like we are above these things. You and I, we have both done things just as bad in our life, whether we like to face it or not.

You like Letterman based on what? Do you have a personal interaction with him? If not I assume that you like him for what he shows to be on TV. That implies that you like what he says. Is that correct? If not, can you please elaborate.

Yes, I do like what he says. Occasionally I might see something I don’t, but I tend to find him to be very funny. I got a smile out of what he said about Palin, but that should have been the end of it. Again, I guess some people just can’t take a joke.

You’re all hypocrites. He who is without sin may cast the first stone…

Yes, when a small number of people in power say this is a Christian nation, people listen. The media is controlled by less than ten companies, globally. They decide what will be and what will not be news. They are influenced by outside groups. The media represents another power structure. By presenting certain ideas and ignoring or suppressing others, the media can and does abuse their power. Of course, if anyone thought the media was somehow biased toward Christian principles there would be cries of Theocracy.

From a Catholic perspective, the Catholic Legion of Decency ran from the 1930s to 1973. It did not dictate what others should do but guided Catholics regarding the media. It began with movies then radio and on to TV. It warned Catholics, like a parent, as to what was worth watching. It created a dialogue with Hollywood regarding the media and discussed their responsibility toward the public in general. The Church offered its advice based on sound principles. As the Body of Christ was gradually poisoned over the last 40 years by a media that gradually began to show a little, then a little more, and a little more, Catholics succumbed to bad example, a decline in wholesome values in the media and in the world in general.

The fruit of it is rotten. I avoid watching TV. The radio in my car is for Listening to Catholic Radio. Most movies are right out. I find the newspaper to be the best compromise, followed by the Michigan Catholic to get the rest of the story.


i don’t watch him. after the great johnny carson retired. we were left with letterman and leno. i tried watching both, but they couldn’t equal mr. carson.
you didn’t have to watch letterman to know what he said about Palin because it was all over the news the next day. i find him a bitter and a crass man.
i am not a celebrity, so i don’t think anyone would be reading or commenting about my life.
how can you say that i have done things just as bad in my life when you don’t even know me? i am nothing like david letterman which is something i am very thankful for. occasionally, he could be funny - his top 10 usually made me laugh, but he is not worth wasting an hour of my time to watch him every night.

I am a liar! :smiley:

Yes, you have done things just as bad. I do not target you personally, but we all have. Have you ever committed a mortal sin in your life? I know I have. And in doing so, we have done something just as sinful and wrong.

i know for a fact that i have never had affairs with people i work with and i know for a fact that i have never had to testify in a grand jury because someone is trying to extort money from me because of some action i did that was wrong. no, i have not done something just as sinful.
his show should be taken off the air.

I do not accuse you of doing so. What I do say is a fact, however… we have all sinned and a sin is a sin. We are all worthy of damnation, if it were not for Christ’s mercy.

James 2:10 KJV
(10) For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

John 8:1-11 KJV
(1) Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
(2) And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
(3) And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
(4) They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
(5) Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
(6) This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
(7) So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
(8) And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
(9) And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
(10) When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
(11) She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Matthew 7:1-6 KJV
(1) Judge not, that ye be not judged.
(2) For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
(3) And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
(4) Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
(5) Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
(6) Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Matthew 5:27-30 KJV
(27) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
(28) But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
(29) And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
(30) And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Have you ever lusted after another? Then you are guilty of adultery. In fact, you are guilty of breaking the whole law. God rebuke ye.

yes, we are all sinners. i agree with you on that. and he has a right to his privacy, but, i will admit that i even have a lower opinion of him now than i did before. and it was already low.

The difference is when I seperate myself from God and hurt my family and those around me I don’t go on TV and present it as a joke encouraging applause.

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

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