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David Letterman Faced the $5m Kidnapping Plot of His Son 16 Months after His Birth

Junie Sihlangu
Jan 15, 2022
02:40 P.M.
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David Letterman welcomed his first child before he and his girlfriend married. A man was later found to be plotting to kidnap the child and his nanny when the boy was just a year old.

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In November 2003, David Letterman and his girlfriend, Regina Lasko, welcomed a baby boy who weighed 9 pounds, 11 ounces, and 21 inches long. David announced the news on his talk show.

He confessed that he couldn't have ever imagined being a part of the birth of his child, which turned out beautifully. The "Late Show" host was 56 when his first child was born.

David Letterman onstage during the Fourth Annual LOVE ROCKS NYC Benefit Concert For God's Love We Deliver on March 12, 2020 in New York City, and Harry Letterman at the 20th Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on October 22, 2017 | Photos: Kevin Mazur & Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Getty Images

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David named the little boy Harry Joseph Letterman after his father died at age 57. The talk show host also joked that he wasn't sure about being a father referencing the late Michael Jackson's scandal of dangling one of his children over a balcony, stating:

“First thing I took him home and dangled him over the balcony.”

Regina Lasko and David Letterman at the Museum Gala at the American Museum of Natural History on November 30, 2017, in New York City | Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

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THE PLOT TO KIDNAP HARRY

In March 2005, Kelly A. Frank, then-43, was arrested and charged in Cascade County with solicitation. The news was revealed by a spokeswoman for the Montana Department of Corrections, Sally Hilander.

The Simms, Montana man, was on probation when he was taken in. Hilander said on March 2, 2005, Frank reached out to a male acquaintance about his plot to kidnap David's son.

David Letterman attending a tennis match against Serena Williams at Ed Sullivan Theater on August 20, 2014, in New York City | Photo: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic/Getty Images

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The acquaintance wasn't keen on the idea and reported the matter to the Teton County sheriff's office. Frank, who worked on David's Montana ranch as a painter, was charged with plotting to kidnap the star's 16-month-old son and the nanny, who would look after the boy.

The would-be kidnapper had hoped to ask for $5 million in ransom money from the late-night talk show host. According to Teton County deputy attorney Laurie McKinnon after his initial court appearance, Frank's bond was set at $500,000.

David Letterman and son Harry at the 20th Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in Washington, DC, on October 22, 2017 | Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Getty Images

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GETTING AWAY WITH IT

Frank managed to strike a deal with prosecutors to drop the kidnapping charge. Instead, in 2005, he pleaded guilty to obstruction for lying to investigators and a poaching charge.

He also admitted to theft for overcharging David for painting work. Frank ultimately received a 10-year sentence for his crimes but managed to get out on parole at a later stage.

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DAVID THANKS LAW ENFORCEMENT

David and his girlfriend shared their gratitude with Teton County and Montana's FBI and law enforcement for their assistance in a written statement. He said they would forever be thankful for their efforts, determination, and vigorous pursuit of the matter.

KIDNAPPER’S FIANCÉE DEFENDS HIM

In January 2006, Frank's fiancée, Laurie Johnson, addressed his arrest. She defended him while speaking to ABC News' "Good Morning America," claiming he was a "compassionate man" who would never harm anyone else.

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FRANK'S RELEASE ON PAROLE

After spending years in the Montana State Prison for his foiled plan, Frank was released on parole in mid-November. According to the Great Falls Tribune, it came four years after being paroled for the first time.

In 2007, Frank and a fellow inmate, William Willcutt, made headlines for escaping while using a prison truck assigned to the former. Frank was supposed to use the vehicle to lay some irrigation pipes.

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According to reports, for 10 miles, Frank walked through the Mission Mountains without shoes or socks. He was rearrested and given ten more years to his sentence before getting parole in 2014.

Sadly, a year later, he ended up back in jail for violating his parole terms. His father, Robert, said he didn't see any of it coming and hadn't imagined his son thought like that, especially since Frank had never seen David before.

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DAVID'S BOND WITH HARRY

In April 2020, David appeared virtually on the "The Howard Stern Show," where he discussed quarantining with his family. One of the people he spoke about was his son, then 16.

The television personality said he found quarantining with Harry "great" because he finally got some time with the teenager. The star joked about how non-responsive the boy was to general questions about his day like any typical teenager.

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Despite Harry's lack of proper communication, his father shared how much he loved him and thought he was a goofball. David also noted that his son was entertaining and shared his gratitude for his family.

RETIRING FROM HIS TALK SHOW

In May 2015, David finally retired from his "Late Show" hosting duties. Lasko, now his wife, and Harry were both in the audience for the final episode. The star thanked them for being his family.

He also professed his love to them before noting how nothing but that mattered. Despite his run on the show ending, his Netflix series, "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman," was renewed this month for a second season.

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TALKING ABOUT HIS SON & WIFE

Despite having a successful career that has lasted more than five decades, David revealed in 2017 that his greatest joy was his son. He said his wish was to leave a good legacy for Harry, 13 at the time.

David [Letterman] explained that he just had to tell his wife [Regina Lasko] and child [Harry Joseph Letterman] the truth about his indiscretions.

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"The Late Show with David Letterman" former host was married to Lasko by then after they tied the knot in March 2009. Their marriage came after the couple had been dating for 23 years!

In the past, David once had this to say about having a child with Lasko: "You are in love with your wife. But the real deal doesn't happen until you have a kid." However, things haven't always been smooth sailing for the couple besides the thwarted kidnapping of their child.

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LETTERMAN'S INDISCRETIONS

Previously, David confessed that he felt his world "crumbling" when a blackmailer threatened to go public with details of his secret extramarital affairs with co-workers. The comedian later admitted to the indiscretions.

The television personality likened the whole thing to have killed one's family in a car crash. David explained that he just had to tell his wife and child the truth about his indiscretions.

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