Posts Tagged ‘Late Show with David Letterman’

David Letterman Reveals Extortion Attempt

October 2, 2009
David Letterman, the late night talk show host, said on his show on Thursday that he had been the victim of an extortion attempt over charges of sexual affairs with staff members, claims that he conceded were true.
 
A screengrab of David Letterman revealing that he had been a victim of an extortion attempt.
Mr. Letterman said on “The Late Show,” on CBS, that he had been approached by a person who wanted $2 million not to go public with information that Mr. Letterman had been in sexual relationships with women who work on his show.

Mr. Letterman said that he had testified before a grand jury and had admitted to the relationships.

“My response to that is, yes I have. Would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Perhaps it would,” he said on the show. “I feel like I need to protect these people. I need to certainly protect my family.”

In March, Mr. Letterman, 62, married his longtime girlfriend, Regina Lasko, whom he had been dating for two decades. They have a son, now 6.

In outlining to his audience what had taken place, Mr. Letterman said that three weeks ago, he received a package from a person who claimed to have information about the relationships.

Mr. Letterman said he reached out to the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

In the course of the investigation, Mr. Letterman was asked to write what he called a fake check for $2 million. The suspect in the case was arrested Thursday.

Neither Mr. Letterman nor the district attorney’s office revealed the person’s name. In a statement late Thursday night, CBS said the suspect was an employee of the CBS news program “48 Hours” and was arrested on charges of attempted grand larceny. The network said that the employee had been suspended.

In starting the extraordinary segment about the extortion attempt, Mr. Letterman asked his studio audience, “Do you feel like a story?” Supported by applause, Mr. Letterman said that he received a package three weeks ago that contained evidence of the affairs.

According to Mr. Letterman, the letter stated, “I know that you do some terrible, terrible things.”

“Sure enough, contained in the package was stuff to prove that I do terrible things,” Mr. Letterman said to laughter from the audience.

Mr. Letterman said the “whole thing has been quite scary.” He added at the end of his remarks, “I don’t plan to say much more about this on this particular topic.”

After disclosing the alleged extortion attempt, Mr. Letterman returned following a commercial and joked with the audience about the matter.

One executive affiliated with “Late Show” said the district attorney’s office intended to hold a news conference on Friday to fill in details about the case.

Mr. Letterman had been on something of a ratings roll lately, attracting more total viewers than “The Tonight Show” for the first time in years. He has drawn attention for pointed commentaries about politics and recent interviews with President Obama and former President Bill Clinton, but recently apologized after making a crude joke about Sarah Palin’s 14-year-old daughter.

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