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Vanity Fair has a terrific feature on the David Letterman scandal this month, taking us inside his affair and the alleged extortion plot against him like never before.

Even before 48 Hours producer Joe Halderman caught Letterman kissing his girlfriend, Late Show staffer Stephanie Birkitt, he and Dave were on a collision course.

The converging emotional sides of the slow-moving, but explosive triangle – Birkitt’s ambition, Halderman’s bitterness, and Letterman’s self-loathing – rocked CBS.

Excerpts follow, with a link to the full story at the bottom:

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“A man waits in the darkness, watching his life slip away.

His name is Robert Joel Halderman. At 51, he is a producer for CBS’ 48 Hours Mystery, a battle-scarred newsman who has spent much of his life in war zones.

He’s had two divorces, which have saddled him with crushing alimony payments, and his second wife recently sent him “reeling,” as he e-mailed colleagues.

David Letterman’s shocking admission stunned viewers.

She had just moved to Colorado with their 11-year-old son, Jimmy.

August 2009. Robert Halderman is outside his modest house in Norwalk, Conn., as a $100,000 electric Tesla sports car comes to a stop at the end of the road.

In the passenger seat is his smart, attractive live-in girlfriend, Stephanie Birkitt, being driven home from work by her boss, none other than David Letterman.

Letterman lives 20 miles away on a 108-acre estate in Westchester.

Halderman has watched Dave and Stephanie seduce each other on national TV. For more than 10 years, as Stephanie rose from Late Show with David Letterman intern to one of the host’s assistants, to his frequent on-air sidekick.

It started innocently enough, with Letterman calling his office and asking Stephanie, then 26, about such things as “strippers” and “the dirty little Hooters girls.”

“Do you like hot dogs, Stephanie?” he asked.

Continue reading in Vanity Fair