Jewish World Review Dec. 31, 2003 / 6 Teves, 5764
Disaster for the defense; no-war Omar; the shoe must go on; more
http://www.jewishworldreview.com | NEW YORK CBS News star Ed Bradley scored big with his Michael Jackson interview on Sunday's "60 Minutes," but CBS News legal analyst Wendy Murphy says the appearance was an unmitigated disaster for the accused child molester.
"Mark Geragos must have taken leave of his senses to let that interview take place," Murphy, a New England School of Law professor and former Boston-area sex-crimes prosecutor, told me Monday. "I think it amounts to malpractice," she added.
Jackson's famous attorney didn't respond Monday to my message detailing Murphy's harsh criticisms.
"The interview exposed Jackson to the inevitable question: Did you really mean it when you said that it's fine to sleep with little boys?" said Murphy, the mother of five children aged 2 to 14. "It was crystal clear that Jackson thinks it's fine for a 45-year-old man to sleep with a 12-year-old boy. . . . He came across as a typical pedophile sociopathic, narcissistic, self-centered and arrogant."
Murphy, who prosecuted hundreds of pedophiles in Massachusetts' Middlesex County, said that the onetime King of Pop came off as "manipulative" and told a series of "crazy lies" during the interview:
"Lie number one: He said he was locked in the toilet for 45 minutes when the whole booking process took 30 minutes," Murphy said. "Lie number two: He said the injury on his upper forearm was caused by the handcuffs. I have seen many handcuff injuries and they're all on the wrists. You would have to be a contortionist to get the cuffs up there. It's absurd."
Murphy continued: "Lie number three was that he dislocated his shoulder. But right after the booking process, he came out and raised one arm high above his head and made a peace sign for the cameras, and waved to fans with his other arm like Queen Elizabeth. Believe me, you couldn't do that if your shoulder was dislocated."
Murphy predicted that the prosecution will try to use the interview to impeach Jackson's credibility, "and I guarantee you, Geragos will fight to keep it out of the trial."
Count Omar Sharif among the critics of President Bush's attempt to transform Iraq into a democracy.
"A democracy isn't good for everybody," the 71-year-old Egyptian-Lebanese actor warned on Sunday at the Capri-Hollywood Film & Music Fest on the Italian island of Capri. "A democracy is good for educated people. The moment the troops leave Iraq that culture will return to its old tribal governing ways."
Sharif, a master strategist in the game of bridge if not foreign policy, went on: "People who are poor worry about food for their families. That's true in any country. You give them five dollars and you can buy their vote. That's true everywhere in Iraq and even here in Italy."
So was Bush wrong to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein?
"If he went to Iraq to remove a tyrant, he was right," Sharif answered. "If he went to Iraq to achieve a
democracy, he was wrong. If he went to Iraq to remove weapons of mass destruction, he was wrong because
there never were any."
Sharif continued: "So many tyrants in this world, why this one? There is more reason to attack North Korea. And Pakistan has the atomic bomb."
Asked if he suspects that the United States' real reason was Iraqi oil, he vigorously nodded yes.
Sharif, who achieved stardom with memorable roles in "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Dr. Zhivago," is enjoying something of a career comeback. He is featured in the upcoming Viggo Mortensen vehicle, "Hidalgo," and Monday night received the Capri Legend Award for lifetime achievement.
HOT FOR VOGUE: Is Drew Barrymore groveling before the altar of Anna Wintour? Back in September 2000, animal rights activist Barrymore made a fuss when Vogue magazine's editor-in-chief reportedly wanted her and "Charlie's Angels" co-stars Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu to don dangerous leather and furs for the cover. Wintour had rejected the previous Herb Ritts photos of the trio swaddled in angelic white. But Barrymore, then a vegan, refused to wear animal products or the clothes of any designer who used dead fauna. The Vogue cover was scrapped.
But, according to Us Weekly, the actress later wrote Wintour a letter of apology. "She told Anna she was sorry for causing her so much trouble," a Barrymore friend tells the mag about the actress's campaign to get herself back in Wintour's good graces. "Drew still won't wear fur; however, she will now wear designers who use fur and leather in their lines."
The private letter was sent two years ago, but someone from the Barrymore camp apparently has just leaked it to Us. Meanwhile, the actress is now a carnivore. But her charm offensive has yet to bear meat: Instead of the cover of Vogue, I'm told she's being featured by Harper's Bazaar for her Valentine's Day movie co-starring Adam Sandler, "50 First Dates." If all else fails, I suggest the actress pose with succulent steak on the cover of Gourmet.
THE SHOE MUST GO ON: Women's footwear designer Steve Madden has been cooling his heels in a federal prison in Florida, serving a 41-month sentence on a stock fraud and money laundering conviction. But that hasn't stopped folks from buying Steve Madden shoes. In fact, Brand Name Blowout, which stages cut-rate sales, claims to have moved 10,000 pairs of Madden shoes (at $20 per) and boots ($40 per) in the past month. "It's been incredible," sale impresario Jimmy Ressler told this column. Madden's attorney, Joel Winograd, vowed that his client will be free in a few months and "working for the company as the creative director of style." As for the 46-year-old convict's reported $700,000 annual royalty payments behind bars, Winograd said: "If he has been getting that, I'd better start billing him."
12/19/03: Bob Shapiro's free commercial?; Are sophisticated and hip New Yawkers easily duped?; Positive Saddam fallout?; Ratty insult?