It turns out the man accused of trying to extort $2 million from David Letterman for having "creepy" sex with his own staff knew from creepy. The brawling, hard-drinking 48 Hours producer was reportedly known for his own intra-office liaisons.
Joe Halderman's affairs were brazen, taking place both in the office and on the road, colleagues tell the Daily Beast's Lloyd Grove. He was a surly drunk, and was once thrown through a plate-glass window at an Upper East Side singles bar, one colleague told Grove. Some of his colleagues found his "cocky" aggressiveness more endearing, describing him to Grove as a "smart fratboy" and "charming rogue."
"If you said, which CBS News producer would be caught up in this thing, he would have been one of the first people to come to mind," said one associate. "His personality is one that pushes the envelope. As a breaking news producer that's what you need, but you could see how he would be living on the edge a bit."
And all the drinking and womanizing came crashing down on Halderman. His colleagues quoted in the Observer repeatedly "wondered out loud how such a smart person could do something seemingly so stupid." But it would seem he was pushed by circumstances, circumstances he himself made possible through his self-destructive spiral. Halderman met his first when wife when working in the CBS northeastern bureau, according to the Observer, only to divorce her after becoming a "star...cowboy" producer in London and re-marrying to a former CBS News translator — Russian, says Grove — who had three children of her own.
After having two kids with her, the couple divorced in 2004, a situation no doubt brought on at least in part by those "extramarital romances" colleagues told Grove about. As reported previously, Halderman was paying $6,800 and then $6,000 per month to the woman in child support payments. He went on to live with Stephanie Birkitt, a reported former lover of Letterman's, until she reportedly "dumped" him several weeks ago, as one colleague told Grove. His wife had just taken the kids with her in a move to Colorado and the breakup was, perhaps, the last straw.
As CBS producer Marcy McGinnis told Grove: "This is not a bad man. The behavior is so unbelievable, he just must have snapped."
(Pic: Halderman in New York Supreme Court today. Getty Images.)