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Accused David Letterman Extortionist Feared Dave Would Kill Him

Dec. 16 2009, Published 12:28 p.m. ET

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David Letterman's accused extortionist, CBS news producer Robert J. "Joe" Halderman, said he feared Letterman would get him fired, burn his house down or even kill him, in printed excerpts Manhattan prosecutors made public Tuesday.

"I'm not sure how crazy this guy is, or um, how dangerous he might be... so, just for safekeeping, I'm going to keep a copy of everything," Halderman said in a conversation he had with Letterman's lawyer, James Jackoway, who was secretly recording the chat for the DA.

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Halderman expressed his fears to explain to Jackoway why he planned on keeping a copy of the e-mail evidence that connected Letterman to one of his staffers on a romantic level.

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"I'm worried about someone calling CBS head Les Moonves, and saying, you know, there's a producer at '48 Hours' who should be fired," Halderman said. "I don't want that to happen. I'm an employee in good standing, but should I be fired, mysteriously... if my house burns down...  any number of things that, I don't know this person, I've never met this person, I have no idea who or what he is or is capable of."

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Letterman admitted on his Oct. 1 broadcast that he had testified before a grand jury earlier that day, because of the alleged $2 million extortion scheme; he told his audience that "the creepy stuff was that I have had sex with women who work for me on this show,” an admission which ignited a firestorm of scrutiny towards the veteran talk show host.

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Halderman has pleaded not guilty to the charges; if the producer is found guilty of attempted grand larceny, he faces up to 15 years in state prison.



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