Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Stupid Human Tricks: Alleged Letterman Blackmailer Lunched with Nashville Homicide Detective

Posted By on Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 4:50 PM

What's the Nashville link between Perry March, convicted murderer, and David Letterman, attempted extortion victim? Turns out it's the Metro Police Department's 2005 Investigator of the Year--and 2006 Scene Nashvillian of the Year--Sgt. Pat Postiglione. This afternoon, Gawker posted an exclusive interview with Postiglione, the veteran Nashville homicide detective who shared the Investigator of the Year and Scene honors with Det. Bill Pridemore for his work on the Janet Levine March case. Why? Postiglione had lunch not long ago here in town with none other than Joe Halderman--the 48 Hours producer accused to trying to extort $2 million from Letterman. Halderman was in town as the featured speaker at the National Information Officers Association conference, held in late August at the Downtown Hilton. (Curiously, his name is no longer listed on the conference's online agenda: there's a blank where the featured speaker should be.) Postiglione told Gawker that Halderman had spent quite a bit of time here researching a 48 Hours episode:
"He seemed OK," said Postiglione, who worked for years with Halderman on a 48 Hours story Halderman produced about the 1996 murder of Nashville socialite Janet March. Postiglione's cold case unit solved the case in 2004, and he featured prominently in Halderman's piece. "He seemed like he had lost quite a bit of weight, but other than that he was normal. We talked about different cases, and he said he wanted to come back and do a story on a cold case." Little did Postiglione know that on September 9, a little over one week after that lunch, Halderman would hatch his alleged extortion plot by handing a blackmail note to Letterman's limousine driver outside his Manhattan home. Postiglione said Halderman's work on the March story, which took him to Nashville several times over several years, made him a lot of friends in the Nashville police department. "We knew him fairly well," he said. "We were stunned. He's much smarter than that, and he was clearly pro-police to the max."
Like Halderman's colleagues at CBS, Postiglione seems most bewildered by the ineptness of the alleged extortion scheme--not what you'd expect from a man who made it his job to examine the fallibility of criminal minds. "If he was going to do something like this," Postiglione told Gawker, "you'd figure he would have come up with something more sophisticated. He tried to cash a $2 million check and didn't think anyone would notice?" (H/t: the lovely and talented Beverly Keel.)

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