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Man in Letterman plot leaves jail

Fri., Sept. 3, 2010, midnight

Emmy nominee avoids full six-month sentence

NEW YORK – The former television producer who tried to blackmail David Letterman was freed Thursday after four months in jail for a plot that put a spotlight on the comic icon’s office affairs, city Correction Department records show.

Robert “Joe” Halderman got time off for good behavior from his six-month term at the Rikers Island jail complex, but he isn’t done with his sentence: He still has to complete 1,000 hours of community service, and he’ll be on probation for five years.

Halderman, 52, pleaded guilty earlier this spring to attempted grand larceny. He admitted he demanded $2 million in hush money last fall to keep from revealing personal information about Letterman.

The case spurred Letterman, who had married his longtime girlfriend about six months before, to reveal on-air that he’d had sex with women on his show’s staff.

Halderman’s scheme was fueled by both financial problems and romantic jealousy, his lawyer has said. Halderman had peeked in his former girlfriend’s diary and read her account of a relationship with Letterman, her boss.

Halderman, who was divorced at the time, remarried before going to jail in May, Shargel said. And while he no longer has his job at CBS’ “48 Hours,” he has been nominated for an Emmy for an April 2009 story about an American exchange student charged with murder in Italy. He was one of four producers cited for the story. The news Emmys will be presented Sept. 27 in New York.


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