An Emmy Award-winning producer for the CBS News program 48 Hours Mystery has pleaded not guilty to an alleged $2 million extortion attempt against David Letterman.
Robert Joel Halderman, 51, was arraigned Friday in Manhattan on a felony charge of attempted grand larceny. He is accused of demanding money from Letterman or else he would cause "severe damage" to Letterman's life by revealing that he had sexual relationships with his female employees. Halderman reportedly lived with former Lettermen assistant Stephanie Birkitt, who had an affair with him, according to reports.
A judge set his bail at $200,000.
Court records show that Halderman, who lives in Norwalk, Conn.needed to pay about $6,800 a month in child and spousal support to his former wife. Prosecutors declined to say whether he had financial problems or other possible motives to support his two kids, ages 11 and 18.
"The message of this indictment should be clear. New York City will not tolerate the coercion or extortion of anyone, be the victim rich or poor, famous or anonymous," District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau said.
If convicted, Halderman faces five to 15 years behind bars.
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