Joe Halderman, the exortionist who threatened to destroy David Letterman's career, and instead abolished his own, has pleaded guilty. A story posted on the New York Post's website earlier today said he would receive only four months. However, the judge just gave him six months.

 Halderman expressed "great remorse" for his actions, at the just concluded hearing.  

 Here's Letterman's statement:

  “I would liketo thank the District Attorney of Manhattan,Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the former District Attorney, Robert Morgenthau,the Special Prosecutions Bureau in the
D.A.'s Office, and the New York City Police Department.   When they became involved with this case, I had complete faith that a just and appropriate result was inevitable.  On behalf of my family, I am extremely grateful for their tireless efforts.”

 Thus ends one of the most unexpected - and bizarre - extortion attempts in entertainment history (and there have been many.) Letterman was forced to  tell a grand jury of his sexual encounters with female employees at Worldwide Pants, and later the same night, a national TV audience. Letterman's career didn't even come close to tanking - indeed, his ratings were actually stronger afterwards.

  A Letterman spokesman declined comment, referring reporters to Letterman's statement. Nevertheless, it would appear a major victory for Letterman in one obvious way - he avoids a messy trial that would move the extortion attempt back to the front pages, while Halderman's attorney, Gerald Shargel, insisted he would have called Letterman to the stand had the trial gone forward.

  There's a silver lining for Halderman too: Had he been convicted following a full trial, he could  have been sentenced to fifteen years.



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