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Defendant in Letterman Extortion Case Pleads Not Guilty

Defendant in Letterman Extortion Case Pleads Not Guilty
David Letterman (left) and Joe Halderman
John P. Filo/CBS; Brad Barket/Getty

updated 10/02/2009 at 03:00 PM EDT

originally published 10/02/2009 03:40PM

CBS producer Joe Halderman has pleaded not guilty to charges that he attempted to extort $2 million from talk show host David Letterman.

Halderman, 52, wearing a gray suit and handcuffs, was arraigned in a Manhattan courthouse Friday afternoon for allegedly threatening to go public with information that Letterman had sexual relations with an employee of the Late Show.

Prosecutors recommended bail of $500,000, but a judge set the amount at $200,000. Halderman remained calm and attentive throughout the proceeding.

His defense team, lead by Gerald Shargel, described him as a divorced father of two children, ages 11 and 18 (they live with their mother), who coaches soccer and Pop Warner football in his Connecticut community.

"He was a responsible person," Shargel told reporters after the arraignment. "He has never been in trouble with the law before." Shargel added that his client, a CBS employee for 27 years, will likely be out on bail before Monday.

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