Stephanie Birkitt, a former assistant to David Letterman, has been in the spotlight before but never like this. The 34-year-old New Hampshire native is the unwitting link between the Late Show host and his alleged would-be extortionist, CBS News producer Robert "Joe" Halderman. Widespread reports say Birkitt had a romantic relationship with Letterman before his marriage while she was working as his personal assistant and appearing regularly on his program, interviewing celebrities and reporting from the Winter Olympics, among other duties. Until recently, she dated the divorced Halderman and lived in his Connecticut home, where Halderman allegedly got ahold of her diary, e-mails and other evidence of her supposed relationship with Letterman. Authorities say those are the materials Halderman used to try to wring $2 million out of Letterman. Halderman pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan courtroom Oct. 2; if convicted of extortion he faces up to 16 years in prison.
Born Jan. 7, 1975, in Plymouth, N.H. Her father was a dentist and her mother an assistant principal.
Attended Wake Forest University, graduating in 1997 with a degree in history.
Spent a summer as a Late Show intern in 1996.
Worked briefly as an associate producer at the CBS News program 48 Hours where she met Halderman after graduating. Later returned to the Late Show explaining that she wasn't "much of a newshound."
While appearing on the Late Show, went by nicknames including Monty and Smitty. Her tasks included delivering prizes to audience members and interviewing castoffs from Survivor in addition to reporting from the Winter Olympics in 2002 and 2006.
Reportedly attended the Cardozo School of Law in New York City and passed the Connecticut Bar exam this year.
Her younger brother Johnny is a producer on ABC's Dancing with the Stars.
"Working for Dave is great though. Aside from being incredibly funny and personable he is generous, kind and is great fun to play catch with. I really couldn't ask for a more fun work environment. Dave is truly the greatest boss I could ever have."
In an interview with a Wake Forest school publication about her job (Window on Wake Forest, Sept. 22, 2003)
"No two days are ever alike. You come to work each morning really never knowing what will happen next ... I truly have a wonderfully crazy job."
Window on Wake Forest, Sept. 22, 2003
"He started calling once a week, sometimes twice a week, and we'd talk about my weekend. And then I would tell funny stories about my weekend or what he thought were funny stories and I thought were normal. And he started asking if I had pictures from my weekend and so I showed pictures. It kind of gradually became different things at different times."
Discussing in an interview how she became an on-air personality on the show (Fort Worth Star Telegram, March 22, 2004)
"I kind of wander through life unaware. He puts me very much at ease. He's very laid back about the whole thing. It's kind of just like hanging out onstage with your buddy."
On working with Letterman (Fort Worth Star Telegram, March 22, 2004)