GYI0000483180.JPGBREAKING NEWS! Robert Halderman, the former Emmy-winning producer of CBS’s 48 Hours, appeared in a Manhattan Supreme Court and pled guilty just now to blackmailing David Letterman. Halderman spoke to reporters outside the courtroom and apologized to Letterman, the late night host’s family, and the former Letterman staffer Stephanie Birkitt, Halderman’s ex-girlfriend whose name had come to light because of her tryst with the late night comedian. According to the deal reached with authorities, Halderman will serve only a 6-month sentence and 1000 hours of community service. He will be on probation for 4 1/2 years. Halderman was originally charged with grand larceny for demanding $2 million from Letterman and threatening to reveal Letterman’s sexual relationships with his show’s female staffers. Letterman instead confessed to them on his Late Show after helping secure Halderman’s arrest through a sting operation. This entire episode was bizarre indeed, especially when Halderman claimed the shake-down money was to spike a screenplay treatment about Letterman’s sex life. A juicy trial had been expected, but today’s plea deal ends the case.

UPDATE: Letterman has issued the following statement:

“I would like to thank the District Attorney of Manhattan, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the former District Attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, the Special Prosecutions Bureau in the D.A.’s Office, and the New York City Police Department.  When they became involved with this case, I had complete faith that a just and appropriate result was inevitable.  On behalf of my family, I am extremely grateful for their tireless efforts.”