King's divorce wars:Larry King drew first blood...


King's divorce wars:

Larry King drew first blood in his divorce battle with Julie Alexander King yesterday when Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Leonard Ivanoski threw out her petition to have the case heard in Pennsylvania.

The talk-show host's Philadelphia lawyer, Albert Momjian, said he was "satisfied" with the decision. A spokesman for Julie King's lawyer, Richard Sprague, said an appeal will be filed today in Superior Court. "We believe the decision was incorrect," he said.

King would rather have the case heard in Arlington, Va., where the couple lived in for 46 of their 180 days together. That's 32 more than they spent in Philadelphia.

More pageant controversy:

The controversy continues at the Miss USA Pageant, where queens sue to get promised prizes and complain of being overworked. Now comes Miss Georgia, Tamara Rhoads, who says she was asked intimate sex questions by the state pageant director, who also recommended cosmetic surgery.

"I was told I needed to get a breast augmentation, have liposuction, get collagen injected into my lips," she said. "They suggested hair extensions to make my hair longer. . . ."

Pageant director Jim Whitehead said Rhoads must be upset at not being a finalist.

The bishop's affair:

Vicki Long, whose affair with former Archbishop Eugene A. Marino of Atlanta led to his resignation in July, said Marino seduced her when she went to his home in 1988 to discuss her paternity suit against a priest.

Breaking a long silence in a Sunday interview, Long said Marino "started off singing nursery rhymes to me and then he lay down beside me, and . . . it was pretty much over at that point." She said that they later exchanged marital vows in a New York hotel room and that he never expressed guilt over their relationship.

Marino was the country's highest-ranking black clergyman before going into seclusion last summer. He has never admitted to the affair, but the church has. David Hampton told a New York judge yesterday that he was cleaning up his life. And the judge, Michael Obus of Manhattan Criminal Court, sentenced him to three years' probation.

In 1983, Hampton gained access to the homes of Osborn Elliott, who was dean of Columbia University's journalism school, and John Jay Iselin, then president of Channel 13, and others by saying he was the son of actor Sidney Poitier and a schoolmate of their children.

His deceptions were the inspiration for "Six Degrees of Separation," John Guare's hit play.

Hampton, 27, served 21 months in the state prison in Dannemora, N.Y., after failing to make restitution in the incidents; he had pleaded guilty to attempted burglary. He returned to New York last summer after doing odd jobs in London and Hollywood after his release, he said.

Last December, he pleaded guilty to evading a taxi fare in Manhattan. After failing to show up for a court appearance, he said he was in a taxi accident on the way to Metropolitan Hospital. He was put on probation.

The district attorney found that Hampton had never been at the hospital. He was charged with submitting a forged document to show he had gone there.

Yesterday, Hampton told the judge he was undergoing counseling.

If he violates probation, he could serve up to one year in jail.

Briefly noted:

Argentina's first lady, Zulema Yoma, will file for divorce tomorrow from President Carlos Menem, her spokeswoman said yesterday. . . . Paul Newman will take part in a presentation of four Stravinsky works featuring the Orchestra of St. Luke's and the New York Choral Society on April 6 at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. . . . The attorney for television actress Dana Plato of "Diff'rent Strokes" says his client will plead innocent to robbery charges in a Feb. 28 video store theft when she appears in court in Las Vegas, in May.

Ford testifies:

Betty Ford said yesterday that the Bush administration's war on drugs had neglected the problem of alcoholism and had encouraged a return to treating drug and alcohol abusers as criminals.

"The focus has shifted to cocaine and crack to the extent of ignoring alcohol, the No. 1 drug of addiction in this country," Ford said in a rare appearance in Washington.

Ford sought treatment for her own drug and alcohol problems in 1978, a year after her husband, Gerald R. Ford, left the presidency. She testified yesterday before the House Aging Subcommittee on Health and Long Term Care, which is examining the dismantling of drug abuse treatment programs and the dwindling access to treatment for alcoholism.

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