From the wires:
Late-night host David Letterman acknowledged on Thursday’s show that he had sexual relationships with female employees and that someone tried to extort $2 million from him over the affairs. CBS says an employee has been charged with attempted grand larceny in the case.
Letterman told his story during a taping of his show, mixing in jokes to an audience that seemed confused about what it was. He called it a “bizarre experience” that left him feeling disturbed and menaced.
The late-night comic began his show by walking onstage and briefly leaning on a pillar with his back to the audience. Then he gave a monologue with jokes against frequent foils like Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin. He told his personal story after sitting behind his desk.
He said he was glad the audience was in a pleasant mood “because I have a little story that I’d like to tell you and the home viewers as well.”
Three weeks ago, Letterman said he got in his car early in the morning and found a package with a letter saying “I know that you do some terrible, terrible things and that I can prove you do some terrible things.” He acknowledged the letter contained proof.
Letterman said he called his lawyer to set up a meeting with the man, who threatened to write a screenplay and a book about Letterman unless he was given money. There were two subsequent meetings with the man, the last one resulting in the check being delivered.
He told the audience that he had to testify before a grand jury on Thursday.
“I was worried for myself, I was worried for my family,” he said. “I felt menaced by this, and I had to tell them all of the creepy things that I had done.”
“The creepy stuff was that I have had sex with women who work for me on this show,” he said. “My response to that is yes, I have. Would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Yes, it would, especially for the women.”
Whether they wanted to make the relationships public was up to them, he said.
“It’s been a very bizarre experience,” he said. “I felt like I needed to protect these people. I need to protect my family. I need to protect myself. Hope to protect my job.”
Letterman mixed in jokes while telling the story, keeping his audience off guard.
“I know what you’re saying,” he said. “I’ll be darned, Dave had sex.”