Connecticut man indicted for attempting to steal $2 million from David Letterman in an extortion scheme

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today the indictment of a Connecticut man for attempting to steal $2 million from David Letterman in an extortion scheme.

The defendant, ROBERT JOEL HALDERMAN, a/ka/ “Joe Halderman,” 51, of Norwalk, was indicted on an attempted grand larceny charge. The crimes charged in the indictment occurred between September 9, 2009 and September 30, 2009.

The investigation leading to today’s indictment revealed that HALDERMAN waited outside Mr. Letterman’s Manhattan home at 6 a.m. on September 9 to deliver a letter and other materials to him as he was leaving for work.

HALDERMAN wrote that he needed to “make a large chunk of money” by selling Letterman a so-called “screenplay treatment.” The one-page “screenplay treatment” attached to the letter referred to Mr. Letterman’s great professional success and to his “beautiful and loving son.” The document then related that Mr. Letterman’s “world is about to collapse around him” as information about his private life is disclosed, leading to a “ruined reputation” and severe damage to his professional and family lives. The package contained other materials supporting the “screenplay treatment” and directed Mr. Letterman to call him by 8 a.m. to make a deal.

Mr. Letterman immediately contacted his attorney, who arranged an initial meeting with HALDERMAN. During this initial meeting, HALDERMAN demanded to be paid $2 million to avoid the disclosure of the private information in his so-called “screenplay treatment.”

Following this meeting, Mr. Letterman and his attorney contacted the District Attorney’s Office and cooperated in the further investigation that led to the indictment. During subsequent meetings, HALDERMAN repeated his demand for $2 million to prevent him from going forward with his threat to publicly disclose the personal and private information described in his initial delivery to Mr. Letterman.

HALDERMAN, a longtime employee of CBS, currently works as a producer for the program “48 Hours Mystery.” He was arrested yesterday outside the CBS offices on West 57th Street and will be arraigned today in State Supreme Court, Part 1.

A search warrant was executed in Connecticut yesterday and the investigation is continuing.

The defendant was indicted on one count of Attempted Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class C felony, which is punishable by up to 5 to 15 years in prison.

Mr. Morgenthau stated, “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. The law prohibits conduct like defendant’s and attaches severe penalties to it. We intend to enforce the law.”

Assistant District Attorney Judy Salwen, deputy chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau, is in charge of the prosecution under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Thomas Wornom, chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau. Detectives Herman Weisberg and Michael Bazerman of the District Attorney's Office Squad assisted in the investigation, under the supervision of Captain Ronald Haas, Commanding Officer of the District Attorney's Office Squad.

Defendant Information:

ROBERT JOEL (JOE) HALDERMAN, a/k/a “Joe Halderman,” 10/12/57
6 Renzulli Road
Norwalk, Connecticut


  1. What is "Joel's" born faith? The same as Dave's wife? All the original reports--before media got hold of his booking data--indicated he was Robert JOE Halderman. Letterman did a pretty smarmy and presumably accurate on-air whining impression of Joel's plaintive personal plea. I saw the impression on You Tube. The cable and broadcast networks are excising Dave's hilarious kvetching impression from their coverage.


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