Letterman's love life

October 2, 2009 1:39:29 PM PDT
Is it a story that David Letterman had affairs with members of his staff, or is the story that he's been the victim of an alleged extortion plot?

The answer is yes.

Of course it's a bid tawdry and none of our business, what he does in his private life.

Except that he brought it up, raised the issue in a press release, alerting everyone that he was going to disclose it on his late night talk show, and then talked about it on air.

It's always a slippery slope, reporting on someone's private life. And anyone in this business who says he or she enjoys it, well, they should be working for one of those gossip rags.

But it's hard to argue that this story isn't news. All of it. The extortion, with a long-time CBS News producer accused of trying to pry $2 million from Letterman's wallet by threatening to publicize the talk show host's office shenanigans. And Letterman's handling of the case - working a sting, recording the conversations with the producer, cutting him a phony $2 million check, testifying to the grand jury, and then disclosing it all on the air.

It was uncomfortable watching Letterman. He told the story in typical Letterman manner. It was funny, but the audience at home knew what the audience in the studio did not: That this wasn't a funny story. And so there was laughter when there should have been cringing. Applause when there should have been gasps. (Who applauds when someone says they've slept with their workers? Sheesh.)

We'll have the latest on the extortion plot - and precious little, by design, on Letterman's sex life, tonight at 11.

And we know lots of folks have opinions about this. CLICK HERE and we'll publish them in this space next week.

Also at 11, we're following what turns out to be fast-moving developments in the case of an off-duty New York cop, behind the wheel of his own car, who hit and killed a pedestrian in Brooklyn last weekend. He was suspected of driving drunk, but after he refused a breathalyzer test, it took 7 hours before he was given a blood alcohol test. And it came back zero.

Why did it take so long to test the officer?

That's now the subject of an internal affairs investigation.

Now, more fallout. Today the NYPD suspended another officer - an anti-crime cop who was seen on surveillance video giving water and gum to off-duty officer Andrew Kelly shortly after the crash.

A fourth cop, a sergeant, is now reportedly close to facing departmental charges because he supervised the nearly one-hour delay in getting Kelly to a nearby hospital after the accident.

I get it - trying to protect your co-workers and friends. But there's a line that shouldn't be crossed - and in this case it might have been. Your heart may want to protect your friends, but when your friends are sworn to uphold the law, and they break it, and kill someone - the line's pretty clear.

Also at 11, another police story - a different kind. This one involves a cop from Jersey City who was killed in the line of duty in July. Anthony DiNardo left behind a wife and three young children.

But his widow has run into a big blue brick wall in trying to collect his pension. She's gotten nothing so far - and has been told she'll have to wait till November to see any money. And tonight, our Jeff Pegues has an Eyewitness News exclusive that will make you furious.

We'll also take a look at the rejection of Chicago as the site of the 2016 summer Olympics. Rio de Janeiro won; Chicago didn't make it out of the first-round of voting, despite personal appearances by Pres. and Mrs. Obama, and Oprah Winfrey.

There are unquestionably politics involved in this decision by Olympics officials, but there's a legitimate question about whether the Obama presence helped or hurt the Windy City's bid.

Of course some of the President's critics - and by some I mean just one, Rush Limbaugh - took the defeat as an opportunity to trash Mr. Obama. Again.

Limbaugh - who is now getting attacked by some conservatives for some of his wackier stunts - called this "the worst day" of Obama's presidency, because of the vote. Paleeeze.

What stings today isn't Chicago's loss of the Olympics - it's the loss of 263,000 jobs in September.

It's the 21st straight month of U.S. job losses, and unemployment jumped to 9.8% - only the second time since the Great Depression that the unemployment rate has hovered near 10%. The last time was more than 25 years ago. The business news folks at ABC News came up with some other fascinating number comparisons after today's job loss announcement:

*There are now six times as many people looking for work as there are jobs available.

*The number of jobs lost during this recession - 7.2 million - is more than the combined populations of Los Angeles, Chicago and Baltimore.

*41% of Americans say that in the last year someone in their household has had their pay or work hours cut.

It's a deep recession - and while it may have bottomed out, it appears to be a ways from crawling out of the trough. At some point, the recession that Obama inherited from Bush becomes at least part Obama's recession as well. Are the plans he put into motion to try to fix the economy working, or not? We'll have the latest, tonight at 11.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20.

BILL RITTER


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