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    Letterman's Dangerous Liaisons: Backstage Affairs Led to Extortion Plot

    Talk about your stupid human tricks.

    David Letterman revealed tonight while taping The Late Show that he has been the victim of an alleged extortion plot. He said that someone demanded $2 million from him three weeks ago in exchange for keeping quiet about various sexual liaisons the veteran funnyman has had with members of his staff. Or else he would write a screenplay.

    No punchline, it was for real.

    He says that he found a package in the backseat of his car—"I don't usually receive packages, 6 in the morning, in the back of my car"—containing a letter that said, "I know that you do some terrible, terrible things—and I can prove you do these terrible things."

    In the package was "stuff to prove that I do terrible things...At 6 in the morning, all you can think about is every terrible thing you've ever done in your entire life," he continued.

    OK, there were a few punchlines.

    "This is the word I used—that's a little hinky," Letterman said.

    "If you know me, I am motivated by guilt. I am just a towering mass of Lutheran, Midwestern guilt...So I get to the office and I say to myself, 'I hate doing things like this, but maybe I'll call my attorney.' "

    The case was referred to the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and the 62-year-old host ultimately took part in a sting operation. An arrest was made earlier today.

    CBS said that a 48 Hours staffer has been charged with attempted grand larceny and has been suspended from the network pending the results of the investigation.

    "This morning I did something I've never done in my life, and it was a combination of just unusual and scary. This whole thing has been quite scary," Letterman said. "I had to go downtown and testify before a grand jury. I had to tell them how I was disturbed by this, I was worried for myself, I was worried for my family. I felt menaced by this.

    "And I had to tell them all the creepy things that I have done...Now why is that funny?" he asked when his telling of the story inevitably got a big laugh.

    And prosecutors of course asked about his alleged dalliances over the years.

    "The creepy stuff was that I have had sex with women who work for me on this show. My response to that is, yes I have," Letterman said tonight, acknowledging past affairs.

    "Would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Perhaps it would...especially for the women. But that's a decision for them to make if they want to go public and talk about the relationships...I feel like I need to protect these people. I need to certainly protect my family. I need to protect myself, hope to protect my job and the friends who have been very supportive through this.

    "I don't plan to say much more on this particular topic," he concluded.

    Letterman has a 5-year-old son, Harry, with girlfriend-of-23-years-turned-wife Regina Lasko.

    (Originally published Oct. 1, 2009, at 6:40 p.m. PT)

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    You know what was funny? Conan O'Brien recounting how he bumped his head during taping last week.