Dave's Accused Blackmailer: Smart, Tough, Cocky, Broke

'Charming rogue' was a star field producer and serial office romancer
By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2009 8:12 AM CDT
NEW YORK - MAY 01: Dariya Fadeeva, one of the subjects of the film, and director Joe Halderman attend the premiere of the film 'Three Days in September' during the 5th Annual Tribeca Film Festival on...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Joe Halderman, the CBS producer charged with grand larceny for blackmailing David Letterman, was known around the network as an astute, aggressive newsman, a womanizer, a voracious reader, and the unhappy object of an expensive divorce settlement. Colleagues, calling him a "charming rogue, say they were stunned by the charges.  "It sounds to me like a nervous breakdown of some sort, one former boss tells Lloyd Grove. " I feel so badly about this."

“Frankly, I couldn’t be more astonished that this guy was involved in something like this than if you came riding through my apartment on a hippopotamus,” says Dan Rather, who traveled to many world hot spots with him. Halderman was a star field producer who produced award-winning reports from Somalia to Chechnya, carried on a number of office romances, and occasionally got in brawls, George writes on the Daily Beast. “He was like a character out of Hemingway, or maybe like The Great Gatsby," a long-time colleague said, "without the nuance and mystery." In recent weeks his wife moved his two children to Colorado, another said, and his girlfriend, Stephanie Birkitt, a former lover of Letterman's, broke up with him.