A senior news producer in New York for the CBS television network has been charged in connection with an attempt to extort $2 million from U.S. late-night talk-show host David Letterman.
New York City District Attorney Robert Morgenthau told reporters Friday that Robert Halderman has been indicted on one count of attempted first degree grand larceny after threatening to expose secrets about the talk show host's personal life. Halderman was arrested late Thursday.
Letterman himself revealed the plot late in his nationally televised talk show late Thursday. Amid jokes and laughter from audience members who were unsure whether the monologue was part of a joke, the 62-year-old talk show host said he received a package in his car three weeks ago containing a letter from a person who knew embarrassing things about his life.
|David Letterman during taping of late night television talk show, 1 Oct 2009|
Letterman said he contacted authorities and arranged a meeting with the person, who threatened to expose the talk show host if he was not paid $2 million.
Letterman said he gave the man a phony check for $2 million.
The talk show host told his audience the embarrassing information was that he had sexual relationships with women who worked for him. It is unclear when the relationships took place.
Halderman is a producer with the CBS news program 48 Hours. He faces up to 15 years in prison.
Letterman married long-time girlfriend Regina Lasko earlier this year. The couple has a five-year-old son.
Letterman has been host of The Late Show With David Letterman since 1993 and has been a late-night talk show host for nearly 30 years. Just last week, U.S. President Barack Obama had been a guest on his show.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.