Robert Halderman to Plead Guilty in David Letterman Extortion Plot, Serve Six Months

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Emmy-winning CBS News producer Robert 'Joe' Halderman pleaded guilty to shaking down David Letterman as payback for the host's affair with his girlfriend.

Today, Halderman admitted giving Dave a "screenplay treatment" that was "a thinly veiled threat to ruin Mr. Letterman if he did not pay me a lot of money."

In exchange for the guilty plea, the extortion plotter will receive a six-month prison sentence, 4 1/2 years probation and 1,000 hours of community service.

Outside court, he expressed his remorse for the sordid episode.

"I apologize to Mr. Letterman, to his family, to (girlfriend) Stephanie Birkitt and her family, and my family and friends," said Halderman in a brief statement.

The plea came five months after Halderman threatened to expose Letterman's affairs with several female staffers, including the blackmailer's ex, Birkitt.

David Letterman and his blackmailer, Robert "Joe" Halderman.

Letterman released a statement thanking city police and prosecutors for their help in resolving the bizarre case that exposed his fondness for staffers.

"I had complete faith that a just and appropriate result was inevitable," Letterman said. "On behalf of my family, I am extremely grateful for their efforts."

Halderman would have faced up to 15 years behind bars if he had been convicted of a bizarre blackmail scheme involving the long-time Late Show host.

David Letterman's affair with Halderman's girlfriend, Stephanie Birkitt, ended shortly before his blackmail bid, but also predated her living with Halderman.

Halderman was arrested after Letterman - in a stunning admission on air - admitted cheating on wife Regina Lasko and detailed the blackmail attempt.

Halderman actually collected a $2 million check from Letterman as part of a sting operation started after the host went to police about the shakedown.

He was busted after depositing the check in his Connecticut bank.

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David Letterman Photograph David Letterman hosts our favorite late-night talk show. His top 10 lists are always good for a laugh. In the summer of 2009, he got into... More »
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