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.