David Letterman Thanks Authorities in Blackmail Case

03/10/2010 at 08:00 AM EST

David Letterman Thanks Authorities in Blackmail Case
David Letterman
John Paul Filo/CBS
David Letterman spoke briefly on his CBS Late Show Tuesday to thank authorities who handled the $2 million extortion attempt against him, which earlier in the day had resulted in Robert "Joe" Halderman's guilty plea and sentence to six months behind bars.

Just as the case ended, Letterman released a statement through his attorneys, saying of prosecutors, "When they became involved with this case, I had complete faith that a just and appropriate result was inevitable. On behalf of my family, I am extremely grateful for their tireless efforts."

He added on the air, "It was handled professionally, skillfully and appropriately."

Halderman, 52, pleaded guilty to attempted grand larceny, acknowledging he threatened to destroy Letterman's reputation by making public the TV star's sexual relationships in his workplace as based on information authorities said Halderman discovered in the diary of a former girlfriend, Stephanie Birkett, who had a relationship with Letterman.

Outside the courtroom after his plea and sentencing, Halderman apologized to both Letterman and Birkett.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Halderman is prohibited from using any diary entries, photos, notes or other materials in fashioning a book or screenplay about Letterman.

In other good news for the TV host, this week's Monday Late Show beat NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno in the ratings among the key demographic group of adults 18-49 and adults 25-54, according to the Nielsen ratings, reports MSNBC.

In the actual count of total viewers, Leno was still slightly ahead in the game, with 4.36 million as opposed to Letterman's 4.19 million.

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