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‘Not Guilty’ Plea in Letterman Extortion Case

“48 Hours” producer faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on grand larceny charge.

CBS News producer Robert J. "Joe" Halderman appeared Friday in a Manhattan courtroom to plead not guilty to charges he tried to extort $2 million from David Letterman. 

Halderman, a producer on "48 Hours," was arraigned on one count of attempted first-degree grand larceny, punishable by five to 15 years upon conviction. Bail was set at $200,000.

Letterman, on Thursday night’s "Late Night," told the audience he was the target of an extortion attempt based upon his sexual relationships with female employees of the talk show, which Letterman admitted to on-air.

According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Halderman waited outside Letterman’s Manhattan home at 6 a.m. on Sept. 9 to deliver a package containing a letter and other materials to Letterman.

In his letter, according to the D.A.’s statement, “Halderman wrote that he needed to ‘make a large chunk of money’ by selling Letterman a so-called ’screenplay treatment.’" It also said the talk show host’s "world is about to collapse around him" with the disclosure of the information about his private life.

Letterman said on-air that he referred the matter to the Special Prosecution Bureau of the D.A.’s office, which conducted an investigation that culminated in Halderman’s arrest Thursday.

In court on Friday, Assistant District Attorney Judy Salwen told the judge Halderman was in debt, but did not elaborate. "The evidence is compelling," she said. "It shows the defendant is desperate, and he is capable of doing anything."