The lawyer for Robert “Joe” Halderman promised that we’d soon learn that David Letterman was not as innocent or as nice a guy as we all thought. He said this in a way that implied it would excuse or explain Halderman for attempting to extort $2 million from Letterman over his long affair with Stephanie Birkitt, Halerman’s ex-girlfriend. Thanks to the National Enquirer, we do have a lot of the details. Unfortunately nothing short of David Letterman committing criminal acts would explain or excuse Halderman’s extortion, so while it’s interesting to read, it doesn’t get Halderman off the hook in the slightest. It’s tawdry but not illegal, so I’m not sure why his lawyer thought it would help.
But, like I said, it’s tawdry. Meaning pretty damn interesting. According to the Enquirer, Dave was having an affair with Stephanie since she started working for him in 1996. It wasn’t a brief or even medium-length indiscretion. It was a long-term relationship. The Enquirer also says Stefanie started seeing Halderman when Letterman’s then-girlfriend/now wife Regina Lasko got pregnant six years ago. She was devastated, because she believed if she got pregnant first Dave would leave Regina and marry her instead. Since that didn’t work out, she started dating Halderman, but never really ended things with Letterman.
Here are some more of the Enquirer’s other bits:
The shameless 62-year-old talk-show host put his girlfriend [Birkitt] in charge of his Indy race car team, brazenly took her on trips with his family, and even had her re-enact his favorite “Stupid Pet Tricks” – with her as the pet, sources say… Insiders says Stephanie has competed with Regina – mother of Letterman’s 5-year-ol son Harry – for the “Late Show” host’s affections since she started working for him in 1996.
“It was like Stephanie was in a secret war with Regina that Regina knew nothing about. Stephanie once boasted, ‘Dave may go home to her, but I’m the one he fantasizes about!’” an insider told The Enquirer… Letterman soon hired Stephanie as a personal assistant and put her in charge of his charity work and his Indy race car team, said the source. “Stephanie knew next to nothing about race cars, but it gave her and Dave an excuse to go away together on so-called ‘official business,’” said the source.
“They’d book separate rooms in five-star hotels as a cover, but they would end up staying together.” …Their affair was nearly exposed when a race car owner caught them acting affectionate at the Indianapolis 500 one year. “Dave was stroking Stephanie’s hair and nuzzling her. Someone told the guy she was Dave’s granddaughter – much to Dave’s chagrin,” the source divulged.
“Stephanie has earned more than $2 million from Dave. He paid her a salary of $200,000 a year, and when she said she wanted to go to law school, he paid her tuition…”
… “Stephanie lied to Halderman and insisted she and Dave were ‘just friends’ – even after she flew with Dave to his Montana ranch last fall to go ‘hiking,’” said the source “And when Dave took Regina and Harry to his villa on the Caribbean island of St. Barts, he invited some staffers including Stephanie, so the two could sneak away together.”
[From the National Enquirer, Oct. 26, 2009, print ed.]
According to the Enquirer, Halderman found Stefanie’s journal last December, and had had it after he found her making out with Dave in his car in their driveway. The two were in the breakup process when Halderman learned Dave was buying Stefanie a house. The Enquirer says that’s what set him off and made him decide to extort Dave for $2 million.
After all, why should Stefanie get a $300,000 home and all Halderman gets is a broken heart? The least the guy is owed is $2 million, just like Stefanie, right? Ridiculousness. This doesn’t change my opinion that Halderman is guilty, and I’m sure it won’t change the New York City D.A.’s either. Or the public’s. BUT… yeah, Letterman comes off as not-so-great now. Taking the mistress on vacation with your wife and little son is just awful. It’s sleazy and terrible and whatever other negative adjectives you want to throw in there. Letterman and Birkitt were together so long I can’t help but wonder who he spent more time with: Stefanie or Regina. And why not just break up with Regina if he cared so much about Stefanie? I understand once he had a son, but before that? Why not just end it and not lead such a sleazy lifestyle? Something tells me Dave gets off on the sneaking around, or he would have.
I still think Letterman’s handled this situation as well as he could. But he should have behaved better from the beginning.
Images thanks to Fame Pictures .