FRIDAY UPDATE: Bizarrely, the alleged extortionist was revealed to be CBS News producer Robert Halderman, who has directed dozens of 48 Hours documentaries. He was arrested on attempted grand larceny charges and today pleaded not guilty. Just a reminder that David Letterman’s independent production company Worldwide Pants, which produces CBS’ Late Show and Late Late Show, is not owned by CBS.
8:30 PM UPDATE: CBS has issued this statement:
CBS was made aware of an ongoing police investigation involving David Letterman and an employee at 48 Hours, who was subsequently arrested earlier today on charges of attempted grand larceny in the first degree. CBS is cooperating fully with the authorities and the employee has been suspended pending the results of the investigation. Mr. Letterman addressed the issue during the show’s broadcast this evening, and we believe his comments speak for themselves.
I’ve been given this statement by David Letterman’s people:
David Letterman, during a taping of tonight’s Late Show, said that there has been a recent attempt made to extort money from him.
Letterman said that three weeks ago he received a package from an individual who claimed to have information about Letterman’s alleged sexual relationships with female employees of the Late Show and threatened to reveal them if Letterman did not pay the individual a large sum of money. Subsequently, according to Letterman, the individual identified the necessary sum to be $2 million.
Letterman said that he referred the matter to the Special Prosecution Bureau of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which Letterman said conducted an investigation, which included his issuing a “phony” $2 million check to the individual, and culminated in the individual’s arrest earlier today.
“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.”
Letterman said that, in his testimony, he acknowledged sexual relationships with members of his staff.
“My response to that is, yes I have. Would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Perhaps it would,” said Letterman. “I feel like I need to protect these people – I need to certainly protect my family.”