Joe Halderman

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Robert Joel "Joe" Halderman (born October 1957) is an American television news writer, director, producer for CBS News, who was convicted of attempted extortion of talk show host David Letterman.


Born in Dayton, Ohio, Halderman began his journalistic career in 1980 at CNN in New York City. He was hired as a sound man and then became a cameraman, a writer and an assignment editor. In 1982, he went to work for CBS News, first on the national assignment desk and then, as a producer on the CBS Morning Show with Diane Sawyer and Bill Kurtis. In 1986, he produced the CBS specials AIDS Hits Home and 48 Hours on Crack Street.[1] He became a foreign reporter who travelled to more than 70 countries, and was responsible for war reportage from nations such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Bosnia.

He was stationed in London for 12 years, throughout the 1990s, from where he reported on events in the Soviet Union and later Russia. In 1992, he wrote and produced the CBS special Somalia: A Country Is Dying. Halderman worked for CBS Sports during the Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France '92, Lillehammer, Norway '94 and Nagano, Japan '98.

During the 2000s, Halderman worked on domestic shows for CBS, He produced the show Flashpoint in 2007, and from 2005–2009, he was also a producer of the CBS true crime journalism series 48 Hours, including episodes such as Out of the Shadows (2005), about the serial killer Dennis Rader, also known as the BTK Killer, and Virginia Tech: Anatomy of a Rampage (2007), about the school shooting and mass murder known as the Virginia Tech massacre which took place at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.[1] Halderman wrote and produced more than 50 episodes of 48 Hours during his tenure there. In September 2006 he produced Five Years Later: How Safe Are We?, a look at US security since the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon.[1]

Halderman's work at CBS News won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for broadcast journalism and eight Emmy Awards. He also received an Academy Award nomination for the 2006 film Beslan: Three Days in September which was narrated by Julia Roberts. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and aired on Showtime. The film about the Beslan school siege, which Halderman wrote, directed and produced, combined guerilla footage and interviews with family members, soldiers, local politicians, school officials, and survivors to describe the hostage-taking and massacre of hundreds of people at a children's school by Chechen rebels in North Ossetia, Russia.[2][1]

In July 2010, when he was serving his sentence at Riker's Island, Halderman was nominated for an Emmy as a producer of a 48 Hours Mystery segment regarding Amanda Knox.[3][4] The Emmy was won instead by a 60 Minutes segment on the War in Pakistan.[5]

Halderman was the Senior Producer for On the Case with Paula Zahn from 2011 to 2013.

As of November 2017, he is associated with James O'Keefe and the Project Veritas organization. [6]

Personal life[edit]

Halderman married Patty Montet in 1990 and the couple had two children. They divorced in 2004.

According to CBS News, Halderman and Stephanie Birkitt lived together in Halderman's Norwalk, Connecticut home until August 2009, when she reportedly moved out. She was also romantically linked to David Letterman during the same time.[7]

Blackmail attempt[edit]

In October, 2009, Halderman was accused of attempting to blackmail David Letterman for $2 million. According to Letterman, who described the incident on his television show on October 1, 2009, someone had threatened to expose Letterman's sexual affairs with female staff employees in the form of a screenplay and a book if he was not paid off. Halderman was arrested when he attempted to cash a phony $2 million check given to him by Letterman's lawyer.

At the time of his arrest, Halderman was a producer of the CBS true crime journalism series 48 Hours. Halderman was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury[8] and he pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted grand larceny in criminal court on October 2, 2009.[9][10] If convicted, Halderman faced punishment of five to 15 years. Bail was set at $200,000, which Halderman posted.[11]

Halderman had at one time lived with one of Letterman's assistants, Stephanie Birkitt.[12][13][14] As a member of the CBS page program, Birkitt worked for both Letterman's show and for 48 Hours before becoming a staff employee for Letterman.[15]

On March 9, 2010, Halderman pleaded guilty to attempted grand larceny in the second degree and received a six-month jail sentence, to be followed by five years probation and 1,000 hours of community service.[16][17]

Halderman was released from Rikers Island on September 2, 2010, after serving four months of his six-month sentence.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d "Joe Halderman". Archived from the original on 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  2. ^ "Joe Halderman". IMDb. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  3. ^ Mirkinson, Jack (2010-07-15). "Joe Halderman, Letterman Extortionist, Nominated For An Emmy". Huffington Post.
  4. ^ Weisman, Jon (2010-07-15). "Letterman larcenist gets Emmy nom". Variety.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "A woman approached the Post with dramatic — and false — tale about Roy Moore. She appears to be part of undercover sting operation".
  7. ^ "Report: Stephanie Birkitt (Pictures) Involved With Letterman and Alleged Extortionist at Same Time". CBS. 2009-10-06. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
  8. ^ Zand, Joel (2009-10-02). "Halderman Indictment: Letterman Extortion Suspect's Charges". FindLaw. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  9. ^ "Robert Joe Halderman, 48 Hours Producer, Named in David Letterman Sex Extortion Plot". Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  10. ^ Honan, Edith (2009-10-02). "Suspect in Letterman extortion pleads not guilty". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  11. ^ "Ex-wife of Letterman blackmail suspect talks about husband from Fort Collins". Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  12. ^ "CBS Employee Robert Joe Halderman Charged with $2M David Letterman Extortion Plot". Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  13. ^ "CBS worker arrested for extortion". Associated Press. 2009-10-02.
  14. ^ Shea, Danny (2009-10-02). "Stephanie Birkitt". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  15. ^ "The Woman at the Center of the Letterman Scandal". 2 October 2009. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  16. ^ "Letterman Shakedown Ends With Guilty Plea". CBS Broadcasting, Inc. and Associated Press. 2010-03-09. Archived from the original on March 11, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-10.
  17. ^ a b Siemaszko, Corky (2010-09-02). "Robert Halderman, ex-producer in David Letterman blackmail plot, gets early release from NY jail". New York Daily News.

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