A U.S. television producer has pleaded not guilty to trying to
blackmail late-night talk show host David Letterman for $2 million.
Robert "Joe" Halderman, a producer for the CBS television network, entered his plea Friday, posted bail and was released from custody. He was arrested Thursday outside the CBS studios in New York.
The 51-year-old Halderman has been indicted on one count of attempted first-degree grand larceny after threatening to expose details about Letterman's private life. Halderman has been suspended from his job pending the outcome of the investigation.
Halderman's lawyer says the story is more complicated than people realize.
Letterman himself revealed the plot in his nationally televised talk show Thursday. The talk show host said he found a package in his car three weeks ago from a person claiming to have embarrassing information about Letterman's life and demanding $2 million to avoid going public.
Reports say that as part of the investigation, Letterman gave Halderman a phony $2 million check, which Halderman allegedly tried to cash.
Letterman told his audience the embarrassing information was that he had had sexual relationships with female staffers. It is not clear when those relationships took place. Letterman married his long-time girlfriend, Regina Lasko, earlier this year. They have a five-year-old son.
Halderman is an employee with CBS's real-life crime show, "48 Hours." He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Letterman has hosted "The Late Night Show With David Letterman" since 1993 and has been a late-night talk show host for nearly 30 years. President Barack Obama was a recent guest on the program.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.