David Letterman dropped a real bombshell on his show last night. He admitted that he’d been the victim of an $2 million extortion attempt that he’d had to testify about to a grand jury. What’s more is that he revealed the embarrassing personal matters behind the thwarted extortion, most likely to preempt the inevitable leak of the information. Letterman admitted affairs with female staff members, and he didn’t mince words. He said “I have had sex with women who work on this show. My response to that is ‘Yes I have.’ Would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Perhaps it would, especially for the women. But that’s a decision for them to make.” He was very calm, straightforward, funny and well spoken about it. He explained that the extortion attempt started three weeks ago, after which he worked with the district attorney’s office on a sting operation.
Letterman really impressed me with how genuinely funny and upfront he was about the matter and I came away with a lot of respect for him. He handled it so well and with such grace and humor. (Here’s a link to a full transcript of Letterman’s remarks.)
Radar Online has insider NYPD information that the man who attempted to blackmail Letterman is a 48 Hours producer named Joe Halderman. Halderman lived with one of the women Letterman had an affair with. The woman is still working on his show, and the alleged affair is said to have happened more than five years ago – before Letterman had his son, Harry, with his wife and longterm girlfriend, Regina Lasko. Letterman was living with Lasko at the time:
An NYPD source has told RadarOnline.com that the suspect under arrest in the David Letterman extortion case was a producer for CBS’s 48 Hours, Robert Halderman. Halderman often went by his middle name Joe and currently has a residence in Connecticut.
A source close to the situation told RadarOnline.com that Letterman met with Halderman several times as part of the police operation leading to the arrest.
RadarOnline.com has also learned that the alleged extortionist lived with the woman who David was involved with.
The affair happened a long time ago, before his son Harry was born, and before he got married, but he was living with his wife to be at the time.
Halderman needed money police say and decided to target Letterman.
The woman still works on the show but is no longer involved with David.
The Letterman scandal exploded Thursday when the talk show host told his studio audience what was going on. At one point he said: “This morning, I did something I’ve never done in my life,” said Letterman. “I had to go downtown and testify before a grand jury.”
The extortionist was given a phony $2 million check and his arrest followed that transaction.
Letterman admitted to sexual relationships with members of his staff. “My response to that is, yes I have,” Letterman said, regarding his liaisons. “Would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Perhaps it would. I feel like I need to protect these people. I need to certainly protect my family.”
Letterman married Regina Lasko in March of this year. The couple began dating in 1986 and have a son, Harry, born in November 2003.
Sources tell RadarOnline.com that Dave’s sexual relationships happened before the marriage, but during his relationship with Lasko. His relationship with the woman connected to the extortionist has apparently been over for a long time.
[From Radar Online]
I don’t know how Letterman could have handled that any better. Now if we hear some of the details of these affairs they won’t seem as shocking since he already admitted to them. As long as they were consensual and no one’s job was threatened, I don’t think his reputation will suffer. He was cheating on his longterm girlfriend, and there’s little excuse for that, but maybe she knew. Someone tried to take advantage of this guy and he owned up to his affairs. This just shows why Letterman has reached such a high level of success – he really knows how to deal with difficult situations. Compare Letterman’s candid response to you-know-who’s infamous “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” statement. Letterman was honest, vulnerable and owed up to his mistakes. There’s less at stake and the public is much more likely to forgive him. Plus, he was a victim.