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David Letterman, Robert Halderman

AP Photo/Evan Agostini; AP Photo/Pool, Marc A. Hermann

From the department of Stupid Human Tricks, criminal division...

Prosecutors in the David Letterman's extortion case have released transcripts of conversations clandestinely recorded of Robert "Joe" Halderman, who allegedly threatened to go public with affairs Letterman had at the home office unless the funnyman forked over big bucks.

"Defendant Halderman's threat was simple: Unlss Mr. Letterman paid him $2 million, defendant Halderman would make public information about a purported, sexual relationship between Mr. Letterman and his assistant," said the feds in court papers filed yesterday.

But why $2 million?

The Emmy-winning CBS News producer asked for the large sum "because that amount would enable him to visit his son [in California] without needing to demand more money from Mr. Letterman in the future," said prosecutors of the discussions that were taped at a New York City hotel by two of Letterman's wire-packing lawyers.

According to excerpts, Halderman's intent was "crystal clear": he was going to claim the negotiations were a business transaction for a screenplay treatment and use that as legal cover to shake down Letterman.

Per the docs, Halderman admitted to Letterman's camp he was worried the talk show legend might exact revenge.

"I'm not sure how crazy this guy is, or um, how dangerous he might be," Halderman said, per court papers. "Should I be fired, mysteriously...if my house burns down...any number of things that...I have no idea who or what he is or is capable of."

Prosecutors also rejected his contention that he was merely trying to pitch a movie about Letterman's life and career. They cited remarks Halderman made that he stored copies of the dirt he had on Letterman in case anything happened to him.

"The only way to be sure that I never talk to anybody is for somebody to kill me. Well, you know, I don't want that to happen," Haldeman is quoted as saying.

Some business transaction...if you're doing business with The Sopranos maybe.

After the recordings were made public, Letterman's legal team issued a statement praising the government for its handling of the case.

"Once again, the D.A. has effectively outlined the compelling evidence of this case—evidence that points to criminal behavior," said Team Dave.

Halderman's camp meanwhile is petitioning to have the attempted first-degree grance larceny charge against the veteran producer dropped. A hearing has been scheduled for that motion on Jan. 19.


Get all the latest scoop on the Letterman extortion plot here.