CBS has been quietly trying to un-ring (or at least dampen) the bell in the David Letterman affair/extortion case. Brian Stelter of The New York Times reports that the network over the weekend was busy removing unauthorized videos of the talk-show host revealing after last Thursday’s monologue the alleged plot and events leading up to it.
In a remarkable 10-minute segment Thursday night, Mr. Letterman told viewers of a Connecticut man’s suspected $2 million extortion attempt, predicated on evidence of Mr. Letterman’s sexual relationships with female employees. The suspect, Robert Joel Halderman of CBS News, was arrested Thursday and released on bail Friday.
Copies of the segment were uploaded almost immediately to YouTube by users, but many of them were flagged by CBS for removal, citing copyright claims. The network did not provide an official copy.
Meanwhile, Halderman’s lawyer, Gerald Shargel, hit the morning talk shows to reframe the case. There’s a video below from his Today Show appearance, in which he hints that his client’s trial also will be about the “motive, intent and conduct of David Letterman.”
On CBS’ Early Show, the New York Daily News reports, Shargel said:
“Here’s a guy who is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, who has dealt with cops and wiretaps and undercover investigations virtually his entire life.
“Look at the fact that there was a $2 million check. In the history of extortion, I don’t think there’s been a single case where the alleged extortionist took a check in payment. It just doesn’t make any sense.”