October 2, 2009

Letterman suspect pleads innocent

Joe Halderman, a producer for TV's 48 Hours, pleaded innocent Friday in a New York court to charges he tried to blackmail talk show host David Letterman.

Letterman told the audience at Thursday's taping of CBS's Late Show with David Letterman that he testified before a grand jury in Manhattan that a man had demanded $2 million from him for keeping silent about sexual relationships Letterman engaged in with female members of his staff.

Letterman, who this year married his longtime girlfriend Regina Lasko, admitted on air Thursday that he had had sex with employees of the show. When the liaisons took place, however, is unclear.

CBS, Halderman's employer for the past 27 years, said the producer has been suspended from his job in light of the allegations. The network also said it is cooperating with the investigation.

Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said at a news conference Friday that Halderman, a divorced father of two, was arrested after he tried to deposit the $2 million check Letterman's lawyers gave him as part of the police investigation, TMZ reported.

People.com said prosecutors requested bail be placed at $500,000 at Halderman's arraignment, but a judge set the amount at $200,000.

He was a responsible person, his lawyer, Gerald Shargel, told reporters after the arraignment. He has never been in trouble with the law before.