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Colleen Nestler, Court Jester

Wednesday, December 28, 2005, 19:14 EST Leave a comment Go to comments

Insanity isn’t funny, but sometimes how our ostensibly sane institutions deal with it is. Take the case of Colleen Nestler of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ms. Nestler is the woman who got a temporary restraining order against David Letterman to keep him from thinking about her and sending her secret coded messages through the television.

The typed statement submitted to the judge reads like a case study in delusional disorders. The tale it spins is, Nestler acknowledges, “highly un-believable” but “ENTIRELY TRUE”. It’s a good thing she says that up front so the judge would know to take her seriously.

Letterman is apparently obsessed with Nestler, a woman he didn’t know existed until she got the restraining order against him. He had accomplices too: Regis Philbin, Kathie Lee Gifford, and Kelsey Grammer, who all were “entirely aware of the reality of me being the person Mr. Letterman wanted to marry, and at the same time, was the person, through my willingness to learn, who wanted to train me via intense observation, to be his co-host on the Late Show with David Letterman.” Um, yeah.

How does Nestler know all this? Because Letterman “talks in a ‘code'” which Nestler had to learn. Talking in code is “common in the television industry”, as we all know. The coded communication began in 1993, on the first night Letterman’s show aired from the Ed Sullivan Theater. Nestler became captivated and started sending “supportive thoughts of love to him”, believing that “thoughts are things”. Letterman began responding with looks and gestures and code words such as “Nevada”. That last one was particularly remarkable because Nestler hadn’t yet written to Dave to tell her she lived in Nevada, yet somehow he knew that was where she lived! Soon thereafter, he proposed to her on his show, calling her by her first code name, “Oprah”. Other messages continued even via Late Show musical guests who would embed messages to her in their lyrics. Letterman also insisted that she watch Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, which she didn’t like but had to watch because “Dave hammers and hammers until he gets his way.” (Now we begin to understand why she needed a restraining order; it’s just cruel to force someone to watch Kathie Lee Gifford.)

But that wasn’t all! Nestler was becoming sleep-deprived because Letterman wanted her to watch television programs at all hours as part of her co-host training. By 1998, after years of trying to do what Letterman asked, she just had to tell him that she couldn’t be his co-host. It was at that point that Letterman began using Kelsey Grammer, through his show Frasier, as a conduit for his messages to Nestler. Unfortunately, Grammer (unlike Letterman’s good friend Regis Philbin) didn’t approve of their relationship. Entire Frasier episodes were devoted to telling Nestler of Grammer’s disapproval were based upon their communications with one another.

It wasn’t until after Letterman had his coronary bypass surgery that Nestler realized she no longer loved him. Letterman, however, just couldn’t let go of her love or the prospect of her becoming his co-host. That must be when the harassment started, necessitating the restraining order ordering Letterman to:

  • not threaten, harm, alarm or annoy Plaintiff
  • stay at least 100 yards away from Plaintiff and from Plaintiff’s residence, workplace and children’s school
  • not telephone Plaintiff or contact Plaintiff in any way, either directly or through others
  • not block Plaintiff in public places or roads

And it was so ordered at 2:55 p.m. on December 15, 2005, by Santa Fe District Court Judge Daniel Sanchez, who must have gotten his law degree from Bob’s Mail Order Law School. But that doesn’t mean that Judge Sanchez is not a reasonable person. Yesterday, he lifted the restraining order at the request of Letterman’s lawyers. I hope Judge Sanchez’ brain doesn’t hurt after his difficult deliberation in the matter. Those who wish to express their opinions to Judge Sanchez can do so at:

    Judge Daniel A. Sanchez
    New Mexico District Court
    First District
    Division VII
    P.O. Box 2268
    Santa Fe, NM 87504-2268
    Phone: 505-827-5056
    Fax: 505-827-5055/7998

(Hat tip to Free New Mexican for all the documents.)

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