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In a new piece for Vanity Fair, Nell Scovell, a contributor to that magazine and former writer for David Letterman, makes damaging claims about the embattled host.

No, for once, there's no allegations of an affair. But she does say NBC's Late Night was a "hostile, sexually charged atmosphere" where "sexual politics" ruled the day.

Moreover, that played a role in why she eventually quit.

Nell Scovell spent five months working for Dave back in 1990. During that time, Dave and other high-level male employees were sleeping with female staff members.

One of those women was Holly Hester, although Scovell does not name anyone. Years later, Dave's affair with Stephanie Birkitt led to an extortion plot against him.

Scovell has no knowledge of the Stephanie Birkitt affair, but at NBC, she says Dave's favorite girls "benefitted professionally from their personal relationships."

David Letterman Photograph

Nell Scovell did not have an affair with David Letterman, nor was she harrassed by him. But she says he fostered an unprofessional work environment just the same.

She says he created an "atmosphere that is demeaning to women." "Did that make me feel demeaned? Completely. Did I say anything at the time? Sadly, no."

In 27 years, she notes that Late Night and Late Show have hired only seven female writers, and those women spent a total of just 17 years on staff combined.

On her last day, Letterman summoned her to his office and asked why she was quitting the show. With Dave’s rumored mistress within earshot, Scovell balked.

She is not seeking legal action of any kind but is speaking out for three reasons:

  1. People with no knowledge of the situation are weighing in.
  2. David Letterman himself opened this to a public discussion.
  3. Because of what she feels is a greater issue: That almost 20 years later, the situation for female writers in late-night-TV hasn’t improved.
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by Free Britney at

An $2 million blackmail plot allegedly masterminded by Robert Halderman led David Letterman to shock fans with an on-air confession that he had sex with women who work for him, making the Late Show host's personal life a hot topic.

He's known as extremely private, even reclusive, but what little is known about David Letterman's love life has always been both idiosyncratic and messy.

Letterman in Action

A People source says Letterman's affairs, including an alleged liaison with former assistant Stephanie Birkitt, "pre-existed his marriage" to Regina Lasko.

Dave married Regina Lasko last March, and Letterman will be working hard to make sure he makes it to next March as he heads on vacation next week.

Lasko, 48, dated Letterman, 62, for 20 years-plus and is the mother of his 5-year-old son, Harry. She never speaks to press and is rarely photographed.

David Letterman and Regina Lasko got married earlier this year.

She is "wonderfully nice" but "long-suffering because of the length of time Letterman dated her but wouldn't marry her," says a longtime Late Show insider.

"She was crazy about him, so she put up with the situation."

Yet David Letterman was always drawn to other smart, funny women as well, including Holly Hester, but more recently and more significantly, Birkitt.

"Stephanie is sweet, goofy and quirky, which is a major lure for David," says the source, who has discussed both Lasko and Stephanie Birkitt with Letterman. "She's a peculiar character and David is fascinated with peculiar women."

Still, another source close to the TV host says, if forced to make a choice, Letterman will opt to do whatever he can to shore up his marriage.

"The truth is," says the source, "he's 24-7 focused on his wife and son."

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by Free Britney at

A Connecticut judge agreed to unseal police search warrants related to police raids on the home of Robert Halderman, David Letterman's alleged blackmailer.

Suffice it to say, there were some interesting findings.

NYPD Detectives targeted "computers and loose media, floppy disk, hard disc, cassette tapes, magnetic tapes, removable media, tape and/or data cartridges."

Robert Halderman had some good stuff too.

The Emmy-winning CBS News producer sent the comedian's attorney a package that included a demand letter, the outline for a screenplay exposing Letterman's in-office affair, as well as "personal correspondence, telephone records and photos."

For good measure, Halderman threw in copies of a diary kept by Stephanie Birkitt, his ex-girlfriend and the Late Show employee at the center of the scandal.

THG NOTE: Way to leave your private diary behind when you moved out, Stephanie! Don't girls guard these things with their lives? Especially if there's info in there about cheating on the guy they LIVE WITH? No wonder Halderman lost his $h!t.

Robert Halderman is accused of trying to extort David Letterman.

"In the letter, Halderman states he needs to make a large chunk of money by selling... client #1 a screenplay treatment," reads the search warrant.

It continues: "The documents then describes that client #1's world is about to collapse as information about his private life is disclosed leading to a ruined reputation and severe damage to his career and family life."

The documents state that Letterman's lawyer, James Jackoway, told investigators in the case that Halderman "demanded $2 million to ensure the information in the screenplay treatment and supporting materials would not be made public."

The 48 Hours Mystery man has pleaded innocent to one count of attempted first degree grand larceny, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years.

He is currently free on $200,000 bail.

Last week, Norwalk, Conn., prosecutor Suzanne Vieux filed a motion objecting to the warrants' release, arguing that disclosing such information could put the witnesses named in the documents under intense media scrutiny.

More importantly, she said it could hurt the case against Robert "Joe" Halderman. THG NOTE: How is the guy's name both Robert and Joe? Confusing!

Nevertheless, Norwalk Superior Court Judge Bruce Hudok disagreed and authorized the release, provided the names of witnesses were redacted.

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by Free Britney at

With all the attention paid to Stephanie Birkitt - the former assistant David Letterman had an affair with, and whose cheating on Robert Halderman may have sparked the alleged extortion plot - Holly Hester has been all but forgotten.

She is probably grateful for this.

But the "other" other woman in Letterman's life sure was comfortable in Dave's offices back in the day, as some new photos unearthed by TMZ today show ...

Holly Hester Pic

Holly Hester at David Letterman's offices back in his NBC daze.

An intern on Late Night 20 years ago, Holly Hester says she had a secret relationship with the host when she was a student at NYU and fell head over heels for him.

She says they dated for like a year.

Like the first pictures of Hester we posted a week and a half ago, these are from the early '90s and completely innocent. David Letterman himself is nowhere in sight.

Click to enlarge some more photos of Holly kicking back at Dave's desk with one of his beloved cigars, and displaying some vintage '90s jeans near the office throne:

  • Holly Hester the Boss
  • Holly Hester Image
  • The Other Intern
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by Free Britney at

After David Letterman announced last Thursday that he had been involved in sexual affairs with female staff members, most fans were surprised by his conduct, but nevertheless appreciative of his decision to go public.

Letterman said he had sex with unnamed staffers. One of them, Stephanie Birkitt, was dating Robert Halderman, who stands accused of blackmailing Dave over it.

But Letterman's admission of the sex and extortion scandal was not enough for Regina Lasko, the Late Show host’s wife of six months and partner of two decades.

Lasko, who is also the father of Letterman's son Harry, born in 2004, demanded he apologize a second time on his program Monday, according to news reports.

Dave spoke directly about how "incredibly hurt" Regina was by his behavior while insisted that his affairs "are in the past" and that he committed to fixing this.

Letterman was clearly chastened and humbled by that prospect.

"Let me tell you folks, I got my work cut out for me," he said.

Regina Lasko: David Letterman's Wife

Can David Letterman salvage his marriage to Regina Lasko?

Dave was praised again for this display of emotion, despite the antics preceding it. But sources say the on-air apology “wasn’t something Dave wanted to do.”

“He wanted the whole thing to blow over,” said a source. “But [Regina Lasko] told him he better make an apology to let everyone know how sorry he was."

The source adds that Regina made Dave go over what he was going to say, and allowed Letterman to make “one or two jokes that weren’t at her expense.”

However it seems Dave didn’t do well enough: “Regina felt like Dave’s humorous take on the apology lessened the sincerity of it, and she’s not happy."

His work is cut out for him, indeed.

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by Free Britney at

It turns out the woman at the center of David Letterman's sex and extortion scandal is not banned from the The Late Show set as some media outlets reported.

"Stephanie Birkitt is on a paid leave of absence. TMZ's reporting that she is banned from the set or the building is incorrect," a rep for Worldwide Pants said.

Letterman in Action

Worldwide Pants is Letterman's production company.

Whatever Birkitt's status, Letterman has escaped any kind of official reprimand so far, remaining on air, cracking jokes at his expense and raking in ratings.

Stephanie Birkitt, 34, worked as David Letterman's former assistant on The Late Show before moving on to bigger and better things as his personal attorney.

Her ex-boyfriend, CBS News producer Robert "Joe" Halderman, was arrested for trying to extort $2 million from Letterman by threatening expose the affair.

Stephanie Birkitt was a recurring comic muse for Letterman.

But it wasn't just money motivating Halderman, according to reports. It was a grudge the star held against him for years, and most of all, it was jealousy.

As recently as August, Halderman saw Letterman and Birkitt passionately kissing in a car in the driveway of the Norwalk, Conn., home he shared with her.

According to a People source, Letterman and Birkitt "were seen making out in the driveway in August," despite her telling Halderman they were just friends.

"He drove her home once a week. The interesting thing was he lives in North Salem, New York. Driving her home to Norwalk wasn't exactly the next town."

Halderman and Birkitt lived together for several years. He reportedly left Dave a package with a copy of her diary and emails elaborating on their hookups.

It was previously believed that their affair had ended in 2003, before the birth of Letterman's son Harry, but these ecent reports seem to suggest otherwise.

Letterman apologized to his staff and his wife, Regina Lasko, who he married in March, on the air Monday, his first day back at work since the alleged plot.

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by Free Britney at

Earlier this week, it was alleged that Stephanie Birkitt carried on her affair with David Letterman even as she lived with boyfriend Robert Halderman.

Halderman was arrested last week for attempting to bilk Letterman out of $2 million in exchange for keeping quiet about his interoffice romance(s).

Well, it looks like another factor on top of Birkitt's cheating may have motivated the CBS News producer - Letterman just plain didn't like the guy.

After Letterman broke up Stephanie Birkitt, a former Late Show staff member, and she began dating Halderman, Dave was not a fan, sources say.

Insiders say that Dave made it clear he didn't want her new 51-year-old producer boyfriend at any Late Show office parties and other staff events.

He wanted Stephanie there, just not her new squeeze.

Robert Halderman is accused of blackmailing David Letterman. But why?

That grudge may have driven Robert "Joe" Halderman's alleged plot to extort $2 million from Letterman by threatening to expose his sexcapades.

Letterman and Halderman Birkitt in common, but little else.

Halderman liked to live well, golf and party. Office affairs aside (Dave was also tied to Holly Hester), Letterman is private, reserved and geeky.

Even the cultures of their workplaces were poles apart.

The Late Show boss, who in March married longtime girlfriend Regina Lasko, might have been playing around, but the female staffers all loved working there.

"I would be shocked if someone came forward with a sexual-harassment complaint," a female insider said. "I've worked in a lot of places, and [The Late Show] is one of the better places for a woman. Dave's not a groper."

Birkitt has since been banned from the set of the Late Show.

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by Free Britney at

Former Late Show with David Letterman staffer Stephanie Birkitt said in her private diary that she continued having sex with Dave even after moving in with her CBS-producer boyfriend, Robert Halderman, who later allegedly tried to extort him.

According to the New York Post, Letterman and Birkitt enjoyed romantic hikes last fall at his ranch in Montana, where he married Regina Lasko in March.

All the while, Birkitt's beau Halderman, a CBS News producer, was home in Norwalk, Conn. Birkitt told him she and Dave had "a platonic relationship."

"I'm his best friend," Stephanie Birkitt told a worried Robert "Joe" Halderman.

Stephanie Birkitt's rumored cheating on Robert Halderman, her boyfriend of several years, may have driven him to blackmail David Letterman, according to reports.

Apparently, he was such a good friend that at least once a week, he drove Birkitt to the house she lived in with Halderman since he divorced his wife in 2004.

According to the diary, Birkitt, a recent graduate of Benjamin Cardozo Law School in New York, was offered a job by Letterman to be his personal attorney.

Birkitt later tried to use the generous offer to persuade Halderman to have children, saying she'd make good money and he could stay home with the kids.

Halderman reportedly went through the roof when he read Birkitt's diary in December, after she moved out (and somehow inexplicably left her private diary).

It was then he learned she was still carrying on an affair with Letterman.

These details emerged as Letterman returned to the Late Show for the first time since Thursday, when he revealed he'd had sexual affairs with female staffers and became targeted in a $2 million extortion plot by Halderman as a result.

Last night, Letterman attempted to blend humor with earnest apologies as he made many jokes at his own expense, then turned serious as he addressed the affairs, apologizing to wife Regina and his staff for the pain he's caused.

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by Free Britney at

Taping his first episode of The Late Show with David Letterman yesterday since his stunning admission last week that he'd had sex with female employees, the host apologized to his wife, Regina Lasko, and his entire staff on the air.

It may not instantly fix his reputation, but it was heartfelt.

Of Regina, he said "She has been horribly hurt by my behavior, and when something happens like that, if you hurt a person and it's your responsibility, you try to fix it."

"At that point, there's only two things that can happen.

"Either you're going to make progress and get it fixed, or you're going to fall short and perhaps not get it fixed, so let me tell you folks, I got my work cut out for me."

The late night host married Regina Lasko, with whom he has 5-year-old son Harry, on March 19 of this year in Choteau, Montana, after more than 20 years of dating.

Presumably, although details remain unclear, he was dating Lasko at the time of his office relationships with Stephanie Birkitt, Holly Hester and possible others.

Letterman also took the time to apologize to the entire staff and Worldwide Pants production company, saying "I'm terribly sorry I put the staff in that position."

"The staff has been wonderfully supportive to me," he added, thanking them for "once again, putting up with something stupid I’ve gotten myself involved in."

CBS was quick to post the clip online (having yanked Letterman's admission from last week). Dave ended his apology by apologizing to ... Sarah Palin. Funny.

Dave reiterated that despite his regrettable and inexcusable behavior, he is the victim of an (alleged) crime, and was being blackmailed about these affairs.

Typically, the 62-year-old also tried to find whatever humor there is. In his opening monologue, he began with three shots at himself in about 30 seconds:

  • "Didn't the weekend just fly by?"
  • "I tell ya, right now I'd give anything to be hiking on the Appalachian trail."
  • "You know, I got into the car this morning and the navigation woman wasn't speaking to me."

Follow the jump for a video of David Letterman's apology ...

Continue Reading...

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by Free Britney at

Excerpts from Stephanie Birkitt's private diary make up the centerpiece of Robert Halderman's alleged plan to extort $2 million from David Letterman.

Halderman (who is also known as Joe Halderman) threatened to expose his inter-office affairs if he did not comply, according to law enforcement officials.

Late Show Interview

The writings of Stephanie Birkitt was presumably not meant for the eyes of former lover Letterman, or a more recent one, CBS News producer Halderman.

But pages copied from her diary are critical to the police investigation.

Stephanie Birkitt, 34, was an assistant on The Late Show with David Letterman and frequently appeared on camera herself, along with the host, in comedy skits.

She was also once his lover, according to her own diary (another woman, Holly Hester, is alleged to have had an affair with Letterman while he was still at NBC).

Later, she became romantically involved with Robert Halderman. The couple lived together in his Norwalk, Conn., home until August, when they reportedly split.

Stephanie had once worked on 48 Hours Mystery, the show where Halderman was a well respected producer. CBS News has suspended him since his arrest.

Robert Halderman apparently copied pages from Birkitt's diary before they broke up, using them together with e-mails and other information in a package left in Letterman's limo that was intended to extort money from him.

Halderman's attorney, Gerald Shargel, said Monday that Letterman is a master manipulator and only telling one side of the story, while the charges against his client are "so obviously out of character to the point of not making any sense."

After he pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan court last week to a count of attempted first-degree grand larceny, Halderman is currently free on bail.

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