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Who Is This Guy Accused Of Extorting Letterman?

David_Letterman So we know some idiot decided to extort Letterman for a whopping 2 million dollars, but who is he?  And as an aside, if you are going to extort David Letterman don't you pick like 15, maybe 20 million dollars?  Get enough to get out of the country and never be seen again.  What does 2 million dollars buy you these days anyway?  And Letterman has some serious cash.

Also, was anyone really, honestly surprised that he slept with someone on his staff?  Maybe more than one person?  The man works like a gazillion hours a week.  Where was he supposed to meet someone?  This happens all over corporate America.  Unless it was sexual harassment, and I have read no accounts that say it was, I'm not sure exactly where the scandal is.  OHHHHH, he had an ACTUAL consensual relationship with someone he worked with.  SCANDAL.

The alleged extortionist, Robert "Joe" Halderman, plead not guilty last week to charges of grand larceny, and the people he used to work with at CBS News' 48 Hours are shocked.  Dan Rather said,  "I am surprised, mystified and stunned to hear these allegations against Halderman."  He was "one of our best producers," says former CBS news executive Marcy McGinnis.  "It's like something out of a movie," McGinnis says of the unfolding allegations. "I'm in absolute shock because there's nothing about Joe that I know that would ever lead me to believe he'd be capable of being involved in anything like this."

"He had that reputation [of being a ladies' man]," says McGinnis.  "I feel really sad about it because it just seems like his life is going to be ruined, and it shouldn't be," she says. "I just think that something must've snapped with him. I can't get over it."

Halderman was a war veteran as well a veteran newsman, and gave no hints that he was concocting such a plot.  The only alleged motive that has been discussed is not shockingly, financial.  He is divorcing his second wife, with whom he shares two children.  During a 2007 alimony hearing, Halderman revealed that despite his annual $214,000 income, he was trying to pay off $40,000 in credit card debt.  When asked where all his cash goes to Halderman stated, "I don't know. My life costs money." 

Halderman also recently split from from live-in girlfriend Stephanie Burkitt, the woman who Letterman allegedly had a relationship with.  I guess he was using his pillow talk to solve his financial woes.  Maybe Starbucks wasn't hiring.

Edited to add:  More information is coming in about who the woman is.  Stephanie Birkit, who until recently lived with Halderman, was an assistant on the Late Show who who often appeared on camera in silly outfits, yukking it up with Dave, who anointed her with nicknames including Smitty and Monty.  When Halderman attempted to extort Dave, the materials he had included Stephanie's Diary and other personal correspondence.

She started as a personal assistant, but was given on air time when she was in a skit about answering the phone in 2002.  She once called Dave "the best boss I've ever had."   Her on air time increased and she often dressed in funny costumes – including those of a leprechaun, Batman, Tom Cruise and a Martian.  She also cover the Olympics for the show.

When interviewed she always spoke glowingly about Dave.  "He puts me very much at ease," she told the Fort Worth Star Telegram in 2004. "He's very laid back about the whole thing. It's kind of just like hanging out onstage with your buddy.  "He's just fun. And he's happy, and he's nice, and he's extremely generous with us. And he's just playful. We play catch sometimes in the office, and we all go to screenings together. We eat food together, we sit around and watch TV together and goof on people. And he teases me in real life, too, but I give it back a lot more in real life."

She left the show to go to law school at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, affiliated with Yeshiva University in Manhattan..  (As an aside, way to go!)     

source,  source

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I wonder if his long-time girlfriend, who he recently married, was "not surprised" that he had sexual relations with his coworkers. I mean, I'm sure she understood that he worked such long hours that he couldn't possibly meet up with her at any time, and instead had to get sexual release from his coworkers. I'm sure she was fine with it, which is why she married him and bore his child. I'm sure she was just TOTALLY FINE with hearing about his escapades.

Can we stop trying to make excuses for cheaters?


It really doesn't matter what his wife knew or didn't know, that is between them, it may or may not be an issue for them for the rest of the world it doesn't matter. Sadly if cheating were illegal we would need to build more prisons.

If he had consensual relationships, without claims of sexual harassment or hostile work environment then while it may raise questions of morality, it was not illegal. Extortion on the other hand is illegal!

It will be interesting to see if CBS takes action based on a violation of company policy, but again it seems that an investigation would have to reveal harassment or some other kind of discrimination/hostile work environment. T


Karen-Was he married when this relationship happened? I had not heard the exact timing on that yet.

That I agree with you on. Cheating=bad.


Michele-the interesting thing is, Dave Letterman doesn't work for CBS, he owns his own production company, World Wide Pants. I don't know if the employee was an employee of WWP, or CBS. I actually am not sure if CBS can take an action against him. It would depend a lot on how his contract was written. he basically licenses the show to them, but he owns it.


i always liked stephanie! go her and law school!

this guy is sounding sad. "where does his money go? i don't know, life is expensive." what kind of answer is that? pitiful.

~this is not the michele that commented above.


Well, there's a jealousy angle as well--It's a bit of revenge as well as a scheme to get cash. It sounds like Letterman was her lover before this guy and maybe he had some issues with that?

Maybe she dumped him and he went a little psycho.

Who knows. It is always interesting that people are crazier than you would suspect.

Yeah, cheating is bad. I just think it is not a huge scandal. Letterman is not a priest or a rabbi or a politician who goes around with pictures of his happy family, his smiling wife by his side, etc. It's basically your regular cheating situation.

God, it sucks for her though. At least for a while. I'd be cringing in class. Who wants to have everyone know every detail of your love life in law school?


I was very surprised to hear of it. Because I know he has been with his wife for much longer than they have been married, and they have a child. It is never alright to go outside your marriage to look for sex. If you want it then make time for your wife!!! Get out of the office and go home to your wife. Bring your wife to these screenings that his little mistress was talking about, instead of your co workers. Ugh. Cheating is just awful and I'm so surprised that so many people are making excuses for David and rallying around him like he is some kind of tragic hero. I feel so bad for his wife. Can you imagine?! I hope David doesnt get to put his weewee into a hoohaa for a very long time so he learns whats truly important in life. Deuchebag.

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