Former CBS producer is also to do community service

The former CBS News producer who tried to shake down David Letterman over the comic icon’s office affairs started a six-month jail term Tuesday, closing a case that opened Letterman’s behind-the-scenes behavior to public scrutiny.

Robert “Joe” Halderman, 52, didn’t speak before he was led from a Manhattan court in handcuffs to begin his jail sentence, to be followed by 1,000 hours of community service. He agreed to both when he pleaded guilty in March to attempted grand larceny.

Letterman wasn’t on hand for Halderman’s sentencing Tuesday. But throughout the six-month saga, Letterman made himself a presence in the case, if not the courtroom.

He revealed the blackmail plot — and the workplace dalliances at the heart of it — before prosecutors unveiled the case. He dispatched his lawyers to court statements for the press, and Letterman himself commented on TV last week on the toll the disclosures had taken on his personal life.

Halderman admitted in March that he demanded $2 million in hush money last fall to keep from revealing personal information about Letterman. He buttressed the threat with information he’d culled from peeking at a former girlfriend’s diary, which described a relationship with Letterman, her boss, officials have said.

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