Colleen Nestler, a resident of Santa Fe, N.M., alleges that late night TV host David Letterman has communicated with her in coded words in his broadcasts, has tormented her and driven her into bankruptcy, and has promised to marry her. So far, nothing terribly unusual as regards the problems celebrities face from fixated fans; Letterman himself long endured the attentions of a female stalker suffering from mental illness, Margaret Mary Ray, who repeatedly was arrested for entering Letterman’s property. This time, however, the law has taken a different attitude: according to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Judge Daniel Sanchez of the district court in Santa Fe late last week granted Ms. Nestler a temporary restraining order against Letterman, which the entertainer’s lawyers are now attempting to get lifted. Ms. Nestler’s application for the order
requested that Letterman, who tapes his show in New York, stay at least 3 yards from her and that he not “think of me, and release me from his mental harassment and hammering,” according to the application.
Nestler’s application was accompanied by a typed, six-page, double-spaced letter in which she said Letterman used code words, gestures and “eye expressions” to convey his desire to marry her and train her as his co-host. Her story also involves Regis Philbin, Kathie Lee Gifford and Kelsey Grammer, whom Nestler says either supported or attempted to thwart her “relationship” with Letterman, according to the letter….
When asked if he might have made a mistake, Sanchez said no. He also said he had read Nestler’s application.
(Jason Auslander, “Letterman lawyers: End Santa Fe claim”, Santa Fe New Mexican, Dec. 21) Discussion: Volokh, TalkLeft, and a hundred others. On judges’ over-readiness to grant restraining orders in cases of alleged domestic violence and its threat, see this set of links. Updates Dec. 23 (discussion); Jan. 2 (judge lifts order).