Friday, December 23, 2005

Obsessed Letterman fan convinces judge star stalking her
AN INFATUATED woman who claims that America's best-known chat show host sent her coded love messages through her TV set has won a temporary restraining order against him.

In an extraordinary move that will alarm other celebrities seeking protection from obsessed fans, a judge in New Mexico ordered multi-millionaire TV star David Letterman to keep away from Colleen Nestler - a decision his lawyers described as ludicrous

Mr Letterman, she claims, announced his intention to marry her by using "code words, eye gestures and facial expressions" on his late-night show, and also planned to train her to be his co-host. She said that his "mental cruelty" had prevented her from sleeping properly for more than a decade.

Mr Letterman's legal team, meanwhile, has filed a motion to quash the order, arguing that it is completely without merit and "constitutes an unfortunate abuse of the judicial process".

"It's obviously absurd and frivolous," said Jim Jackoway, Mr Letterman's Los Angeles-based attorney and long-time friend. In their motion, Mr Letterman's lawyers in Santa Fe have requested that District Judge Daniel Sanchez reverse his decision to grant the temporary restraining order ahead of a full hearing on 12 January.

"Celebrities deserve protection of their reputation and legal rights when the occasional fan becomes dangerous or deluded," wrote Albuquerque lawyer Pat Rogers.

He argued that the court had no jurisdiction over Mr Letterman and that his client had never been served with papers.

Ms Nestler said she had no comment over her demand for a permanent order other than "I pray to God I get it".

In a six-page application, she claims that she began sending Mr Letterman "thoughts of love" soon after he became host of The Late Show in 1993 and that he responded in code words and gestures.

A marriage proposal to her, she said, was contained in a subsequent trailer for the show in which he jokingly asked US talk-show queen Oprah Winfrey to marry him.

Her application requested that Mr Letterman stay at least three yards away from her, to "not think of me, and release me from his mental harassment and hammering".

Ms Nestler is the latest thorn in the side that the talk show host has had to contend with.

In 1998, schizophrenic Margaret Ray, who spent two years in prison and a mental institution for breaking into Mr Letterman's home and driving his Porsche, committed suicide by kneeling in front of a train. Earlier this year, police foiled a plot to snatch the star's 16-month old son Harry from his Montana ranch and hold him for a $5 million [£2.9 million] ransom.

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Last updated: 23-Dec-05 00:26 GMT

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