Jewish World Review Jan. 8, 2004 / 14 Teves, 5764

Lloyd Grove

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Consumer Reports

Sitcom star won't be excused from Blake murder trial; fierstein on fire; Drudge & Blumenthal, together again | NEW YORK — Sultry actress Christina Applegate has somehow fallen into the jury pool for the Robert Blake murder trial.

And, so far, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Darlene Schempp isn't ready to let her out.

After spending nine hours on Monday at the Van Nuys courthouse with hundreds of prospective jurors — including my pal Harry Shearer, the voice of Montgomery Burns and Ned Flanders on "The Simpsons" — the 32-year-old Applegate was ordered to return to court this morning.

"I think it's safe to say that she was not overjoyed to be called back," Shearer told me yesterday.

He was luckier — obtaining his freedom after retiring to Schempp's chambers to tell the judge, along with the prosecution and defense attorneys: "I'm contractually committed to 'The Simpsons.'" When the judge asked, "What if you don't show up," Shearer replied, "I'd probably be sued for breach of contract."

Applegate's manager, Tami Lynn, told me yesterday that the actress will argue today that she, too, has obligations, and that it would be a hardship to serve on a four- to five-month trial. Blake, who played a cop on the "'70s television series "Baretta," is charged in the 2001 shooting death of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, outside a Los Angeles restaurant.

Shearer told me that Blake was present in the small courtroom where he and Applegate spent the afternoon sitting together "making jokes, like the bad kids in the back of the classroom."

Applegate will bring documentation of her busy professional schedule, such as starring opposite Will Ferrell in the upcoming movie "Anchorman" and opposite Ben Affleck in "Surviving Christmas" — both of which will require her availability for re-shoots and voice-overs.

Then there's Applegate's trip to Utah's Sundance Film Festival late next week to help promote three indie movies in which she appears.

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"Obviously, if you're a well-known person, no attorney is going to let you serve on a jury — not the Robert Blake jury, for starters," Shearer said.

But if the actress ended up being impaneled for Blake's trial, wouldn't that be a perfect illustration of a jury of one's peers?

"Christina might be a peer of Robert Blake's," Shearer quipped, "except that she didn't get out of a parked car outside a restaurant and say, "I have to go back inside. I left my gun in the restaurant.'"


Democratic presidential candidate Joe Lieberman, wife Hadassah and daughter Rebecca got an earful Tuesday night when they dropped by Harvey Fierstein's dressing room after watching a performance of "Hairspray." Yesterday, the Broadway star told me, "He's a very nice man, but I yelled at him. Basically, I said, "You've got to get some balls and stand up to the Republicans. You have to do what's right and not be frightened off your positions. The American people know the difference between the two parties. How come all of you guys don't?'" Fierstein, who is especially angry about Republican attempts to prohibit gays from getting married, said the centrist candidate listened noncommittally, while Hadassah Lieberman said soothingly: "I understand."

DRUDGE & BLUMENTHAL, TOGETHER AGAIN Once upon a time, cybergossip Matt Drudge claimed on his Web site that then-Clinton White House aide Sidney Blumenthal beat his wife. Drudge retracted the erroneous story, and Blumenthal sued him for $30 million. The case was settled four years later in May 2001 (with Blumenthal paying $2,500 toward the travel expenses of Drudge's lawyer), and the two have had nothing to do with each other since. Until now. Over the holidays,, which claims to receive more than a billion hits a year, quietly slipped in a coveted permanent link to Blumenthal's new weekly political column in Britain's The Guardian. Yesterday, Blumenthal told me he was unaware of the link. "I never read it," he said, referring to the Web site. "I have no reaction," he added. Drudge, meanwhile, said Blumenthal "plotted my $30 million ruin, but it's a new year and a new century. That was the last century ... I try to compile the most provocative people. Blumenthal is certainly provocative with all his conspiracy theories."

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01/02/04: Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio!?; "Bachelor" bruises; Returning to the scene of the crime?
12/31/03: Disaster for the defense; no-war Omar; the shoe must go on; more
12/19/03: Bob Shapiro's free commercial?; Are sophisticated and hip New Yawkers easily duped?; Positive Saddam fallout?; Ratty insult?
12/17/03: Magic Mystery Tour?; Russell Simmons battles ink by the barrel; Would it have killed her to say 'get well soon'?; no Gest room
12/12/03: Karenna defends her dad; now she tells us!; say it ain't so, Mo!; more
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12/05/03: The knives are out; Who's sorry now?; JWR in the news
12/04/03: The war of the gest-minnellis; something borrowed, something cashmere; fashion trendsetter, nailed!
12/03/03: Colombian grace under pressure; Lord of the Screwups; more
12/02/03: Curb your anti-Semitism?; fame fatigue?; bowing to pressure?; more
12/01/03: Dennis the Menace strikes again; first literary feud of the holiday season; Norma Jean & Hef in heaven?; the fog of McNamara; more
11/26/03: Catherine Crier raps Jacko's TV defender, refuses on-air hint of racism; At 50, Tina's in full cry; STAY OUT OF HER WAY!; more
11/25/03: The mogul strikes back?; go ahead, make Harvey's day; more
11/24/03: Georgette's pilfered baubles; prosecutor of pop?; absent but not missed?; Norman Mailer's prescription for education reform; more
11/20/03: Is a movie career in store for Maria Bartiromo?; People for the Unethical Treatment of Humans?; more
11/19/03: Scientologists on Razor's edge?; picking a winner?; source on a hot tin roof?; more
11/18/03: Clay Aiken neuters PETA?; THEM'S FIGHTIN' WORDS!; a mural for Joe
11/17/03: When networks attack!; leaky Fawcett; forget the Paris Hilton video!; more
11/13/03: Publicity hounds; Prophetic priest; Dumb and Dumber
11/12/03: Not so Rosie; do you believe in miracles?; catalogue of sins; My Heart Belongs to Koppel
11/10/03: Gen. clark on the Subway diet; life of the party; MTV's Dumb and Dumber?; the hug issue; but does the $6,000 shower curtain convey?; red faces at Buckingham palace?
11/06/03: Let them eat pita?; verbal jousting; pretenders to the throne?
11/05/03: Will Harvey Weinstein and Gregg Easterbrook now be pals?; crazed Quentin; more
11/04/03: Herding off the hipsters; more
11/03/03: Dean's tell-all on himself?; Lisaraye vs. Mya?; the odd couple; no need to panic; just don't call him "Scooter"!; Rosie scenarios
10/30/03: Autumn of the editor?; Cynthia Nixon's split may be costly; 'Burning' questions
10/29/03: Ah-nold, unauthorized!; a dilemma for Melissa Gilbert? not even Frank Gifford can help him now!; nobody wanted Elizabeth Hurley
10/28/03: It's Cher calling!; Brown Alert
10/27/03: Paparazzi uncensored!; where's Aaron Brown?; postcards from the middle; invasion of the party snatchers?; House flooded when not afire?; suspenders of disbelief?
10/23/03: Ace up Howard Dean's sleeve; Woody's ordeal; Paul Simon's kid makes good; the non-beginning of a beautiful friendship?
10/22/03: Showing the flag; Joe Frazier, smokin'!; see Carville bruised-up — sort of
10/21/03: Morris & Jaci's charm offensive; Hell hath no fury; Wintertime for Hitler
10/20/03: Isn't it rich?; men (and the occasional woman) behaving badly; peacenik John Lennon supporting the U.S. military?; courageous Connie
10/16/03: George Clooney and intolerable Drudgery; Cameron goes native; and you thought the war in Iraq was nasty?; now it can be revealed; star wars?
10/15/03: Kerik into the breach?; holiday pander?; "the Dink" corrects the record; more
10/14/03: Madge gets mad, lips are sealed; the candidates who listen; he who hesitates is Beatty
10/13/03: Clothes, but no cigar; New Yorkers put a Sox in it; mad at Matalin?; more
10/09/03: Gray Davis goes to the movies; Ali Wentworth, working blue; Law & Order?; pot of gold at the end of the rainbow room?
10/08/03: Art-time for Hitler; the actress who hates movies; lying "Liam"
10/07/03: Pond scum of the rich and famous
07/24/03: Ali and George, living it up; Mel Gibson's Washington power play
07/21/03: White House smear?
07/17/03: Yet another intern scandal; it's her party and she can pay if she wants to
07/14/03: On the auction block: JFK'S boxer shorts; love bytes the maestro
07/10/03: A hairy situation at Homeland Security; Van Susteren v. Orth
06/30/03: Rep. Patrick Kennedy: I've never worked a (bleeping) day in my life; Drudge's dressing down; Ken Lay's Kerry connection
06/26/03: Rapping the beat
06/23/03: Another Watergate scandal?; AL GORE TV!
06/19/03: Tony Snow, rocker?; that won't be crow on Mr. Carlson's plate
06/16/03: Missing dog, ransom demand, Hollywood ending
06/12/03: Giving both parties the needle
06/05/03: Incoming from Barbara Bush?
06/02/03: Bob Dole's plan for fighting unemployment
05/29/03: Newt's new novel
05/27/03: Hitchens & Blumenthal, together again; He still believes in a man called Hope
05/09/03: Close, but no cigar; Romeo & Juliet with a happy ending?; Geraldo to help Heebs?
05/05/03: So Bill Gates and Tom Brokaw walk into a coffee bar . . .; hotel hell; more

© 2003, Creators Syndicate