Letterman Blackmailed: CBS Execs Didn’t Know About Plot Until Final Hours

By Chris Ariens Comment

More details are being revealed in the case of “48 Hours” producer Joe Halderman in the alleged extortion plot against David Letterman. The New York Times reports Halderman had gone to work Thursday, even attended a show meeting before being arrested outside the the CBS Broadcast Center. And despite this being a three-week ordeal, even the highest ranks at CBS Corp. didn’t know of the attempted extortion plot until just a few hours before it was revealed on their network.

CBS executives, including Leslie Moonves, the chairman of CBS Corporation, knew nothing about the attempted plot and were informed of the matter only several hours before the taping of his Thursday show. Inside CBS’s headquarters, where employees can usually watch the Letterman show live on closed circuit, the extortion segment was not transmitted.

Friday night’s show was pre-taped so there was no mention of the story. While recounting the “bizarre” experience Thursday, Letterman said, “I don’t plan to say much more about this…on this particular topic.”

The Times says Letterman’s admission that he’d had “sex with women who work for me on this show” brings up several questions for CBS brasss: “whether his actions constituted sexual harassment or at least abuse of a power relationship over employees.”

As for Halderman, CBS News will soon start getting questions about his work for the network. Can viewers trust the reporting and production of crime-based, documentary-style news from a man accused of trying to pull off a $2 million shakedown?