Letterman’s Blackmailer Writes About DSK’s First Night on Rikers Island

The Daily Beast gets Robert “Joe” Halderman to contribute a post about life inside “The Rock,” a prison he spent four months in for blackmailing Dave

Robert “Joe” Halderman, the former CBS News producer who was sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to attempted blackmail of David Letterman in 2009, has resurfaced — as a blogger for the Daily Beast.

Halderman contributed a blog post the Tina Brown-edited site on Tuesday. The subject: Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF chief currently in protective custody on New York’s infamous Rikers Island, charged with sexually assaulting a maid in a luxury hotel in Manhattan over the weekend.

"He may be treated slightly better than the run-of-the-mill rape suspect," Halderman wrote, "but not much. It is jail, not the Sofitel. No croissants, no café au lait."

Halderman, who allegedly tried to extort $2 million from the “Late Show” host, spent four months on Rikers last year. In other words, the ex-"48 Hours" producer knows what life is currently like for DSK.

I know how this feels, because one year ago plus 12 days, I was also just another inmate being held by New York City’s Department of Corrections. Like Strauss-Kahn, I entered the system at Rikers. You probably remember the story, if not my name. I am the “Letterman guy,” which became my nickname on Rikers Island. A year ago May 4, I pleaded guilty to blackmailing David Letterman and was summarily sent to Rikers Island for four months. I will tell my story another day.


By now, Strauss-Kahn has probably seen and heard things he’d likely never imagined. My first night in Rikers, while brushing my teeth, I looked up and saw two guys sharing a homemade crack pipe. (How they got the stuff in, you don’t want to know, but the place is lousy with drugs.)

Strauss-Kahn will be safe, but not alone. Even in protective custody, there is no solitude. There are cells on all sides of you, and the men inside them are restive. The place is always noisy, even after lights out, at 11 p.m. In fact, that is often the edgiest part of the day, with inmates shouting to each other, or singing, and sometimes screaming, well into the night.

According to his Daily Beast bio, Halderman is now a writer and teacher in Connecticut.