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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Encore Presentation: Interview with Dominick Dunne
Aired April 16, 2006 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Dominick Dunne, from Hollywood to high society he's the insider with the lowdown on the trials and the scandals of the rich and famous.
We'll get his take on the Duke rape investigation, the Tennessee minister murder mystery, George Clooney's personal connection to Dominick's own tragic loss, the murder of his daughter and a lot more.
Dominick Dunne for the hour and we'll take your calls next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening. He's one of our favorite guests, Dominick Dunne, the host of "Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege, and Justice" on Court TV, special correspondent for "Vanity Fair." He's a "New York Times" best-selling author in both fiction and non-fiction. Thanks for joining us Dominick, always good to see you.
Let's get right to it. We'll go down a lot of cases. We'll review your thoughts on them. We'll be taking calls. What's your take on this Duke lacrosse rape story?
DOMINICK DUNNE: Well, I mean I think this whole thing is a fascinating story and there are so many facets I don't actually know which way to go. I mean I was just hearing tonight that when the alleged victim went to the hospital that she didn't mention the rape or the lacrosse team or Duke.
And now I understand also it looked the other day when the DNA came in that the team all kind of, you know, passed and everything. But now there's going to be a second DNA. I don't know what that's about yet, so everyone isn't all free and clear.
KING: You tend to be, Dominick, as you've discussed on this show, you tend to be prosecution oriented based on the tragedy in your own life. Is this one you're holding up on though?
DUNNE: Well, yes, I just don't know enough about this yet. You know there was -- you know there was another -- there was a 911 call from a woman who we've never heard this again but on the first day who said that she walked by the house with a black girlfriend of hers and that people on the porch of the house where the alleged rape took place yelled anti-black things to these two women walking by. Now we haven't heard any more about that and that seemed to be going on at about the same time that the alleged rape was.
KING: Now we turn to a bizarre case, a woman, a minister's wife, shoots her husband in the back, drives off with the children and then is subsequently apprehended and brought back. Mary Winkler is her name. What do you read on that?
DUNNE: Well, you know, she seems like such a gentle, sweet person and obviously the whole town, who loved her husband in their congregation I mean, the whole congregation where he was the minister they loved him but they -- they have enormous sympathy for her and something happened there that really was quite unusual for a person who, you know, has just been arrested for murder.
She was allowed to go to the funeral home and to sit alone with her husband's body, the husband whom she had shot to death. I mean I thought that was a very unusual thing. You know there's obviously some big secret between husband and wife in this story that we don't know yet.
KING: And now we turn to a place very familiar to you, Greenwich. You've written about Greenwich, Connecticut. You got a man much later than originally after the crime. You were a major point in having him sent to prison.
And now we have the brutal stabbing murder of the real estate mogul Andrew Kissel. Kissel who was facing four charges was discovered bound and bloodily stabbed in the basement of his Greenwich home on April 3rd. The body was found by movers. His wife had filed for divorce. What do you know about that?
DUNNE: I know about as much as what you just read off. But this is a fascinating story. I mean this is like a film noire to me. This was a m an who was the head of the board of, I don't know if it was a condominium building or a co-op building in New York, and he allegedly stole $3 million to $4 million from that building.
They left there. They moved to Greenwich, where they had a rented house, a big red brick mansion, but they were like unknown people in the three years that they lived there.
Now two years ago Andrew Kissel or Kissel's brother Robert was murdered in Hong Kong and he was murdered by his wife and the wife had one of the daughters give him, she didn't know what she was doing, a milkshake, a strawberry milkshake that was laced with some kind of powder or something that put him out and she then battered him to death.
She is now serving life in a Hong Kong prison but she hated Robert Kissel the way Haley (ph) Kissel hated Andrew Kissel. It's really quite interesting with the two wives.
KING: How about the theory that Andrew Kissel may have hired someone to kill him so the family could get the insurance he hired his own killer?
DUNNE: Well, yes. You know I think that is a possible scenario but I don't think it works here at all. In the first place, if he had committed suicide, by the way, then it's either a $10 million or a $15 million life insurance policy that he wanted to go to his kids and if he had committed suicide they wouldn't have to pay that. So, there is this theory that he could have hired someone. But if he were going to hire someone to kill him I don't think that you hire somebody to stab you multiple times in the back and, you know, tie you up behind your thing and your arms and your feet together and all that. I mean I don't think you hire anybody to do that. You might hire someone to put a bullet in the back of your head. So, I don't believe that at all.
KING: Dominick, do you think that certain families are fated for tragedy?
DUNNE: Yes. I mean look at the Kennedy family. I mean what family has ever had such tragedy as the Kennedy family has had? And, obviously this is -- this is another version of that.
KING: And do you think some families are prone to crime? The Kennedy family had political assassination but things happening to them?
DUNNE: Well, I mean they've had more than political assassinations. They had their daughter Kick who died in a plane crash. They had the oldest son Joe who was a great war hero and who was killed. They've had drug deaths with the second generation.
DUNNE: I mean that is a family they've had other tragedies. They've had Chappaquiddick. They've had to deal with terrible things to deal with. Yes, I think that is a star-crossed family.
KING: We'll take a break. When we come back we'll ask Dominick Dunne about his connection just learned with George Clooney and other facets of crime and then we'll be taking your calls for Dominick Dunne on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Police in Greenwich, Connecticut have been combing the estate of Andrew Kissel for clues to his murder. Kissel's body was discovered on Monday morning by workers from a moving company. Police say his hands and feet were bound and he had been stabbed several times.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The manner and the way in which this was carried out gives us a level of comfort in stating that it was Mr. Kissel that was the intended victim.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Our guest is Dominick Dunne and his always, always interesting column in "Vanity Fair." The latest one he writes about his encounter with George Clooney and the unique connection between the two, tell us about it. DUNNE: Well, you know, Larry, it was an amazing thing. I was at a party given by Barbara Walters and Don Hewitt, you know, the producer of "60 Minutes," and they were giving the party in honor of the film "Goodnight and Good Luck." And, George Clooney and David Strathairn and so forth and Frank Langella, who are all -- who played Bill Paley and Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly.
And there were 90 people there and I have never met George Clooney, although I lived in Beverly Hills and his aunt Rosemary Clooney I knew very well and her kids were friends with my kids growing up in Beverly Hills but I had never met George.
And, at that party it was at the Four Seasons, I was sitting, I think I was talking to Lesley Stahl and somebody came up behind me and put his hands very hard on my shoulders, so I couldn't kind of turn around. And I finally got around like this and it was George Clooney.
And so I hopped up and I said, "Oh, George, George, I'm so glad finally to meet you and congratulations on your thing and your three nominations and your this." And he was going "Yes, yes, yes" waiting for me to get through it.
And he said, "I've got something I want to tell you Dominick." He said, "You know, I've been in rooms with you over the years and it was never the right time and everything" and he said, "This isn't the right time either at this party" but he said "I saw your back here."
And he said, "I was a friend of Dominique's" and Dominique is my daughter, was my daughter who was murdered in 1982. And I said, "You were" because I had never known that. And he said, "We were in acting class together" and it was Milton Katselas' acting class.
And he said, "We were -- we were -- she was 22. I was 21. We were very close and there was a whole group of us in the class and Dominique was the first of our group to get a part in a feature film and that was in Steven Spielberg's 'Poltergeist.' And then she got some things on "Hill Street Blues." She was the first one of all of us to break out."
And he said, "We all knew she was being stalked by this man who she was deeply afraid of." And he said, he told me about how the guys in the acting class kind of took care of her and walked her home and did things.
And he told me that he was in a mall, which I assume to be it's on La Cienega, and that Sweeney, the killer, who had been her boyfriend and was stalking her and they ran and Sweeney chased them or something like that.
And he told me that he had given a deposition at the trial. I thought I knew everything about this, my daughter's case, and I never knew any of this. And he gave a deposition about Sweeney's manner of stalking her and everything. And I was -- I was...
KING: Wow! DUNNE: I was undone by this and he was so intent, I mean the staring and people that came up, you know, to speak to him and everything and they all drifted away because he was so intense on this conversation.
And I said, "George, you know" and then I said, "Can I hug you?" And he said, "Sure." And we hugged each other and then he said, he patted me like this and he said "She would have been a star Dominick" and he walked back to the party. And it was, you know, he's a -- I think this guy...
DUNNE: ...is a fantastic man, really wonderful man.
KING: The best.
DUNNE: The best.
KING: Amazing that in all these years two famed figures don't...
DUNNE: But I never heard that and my son Griffin had never heard this, you know, and he's of an age with George.
KING: Wow! Now we turn our attention to Anthony Pelicano, just got out of jail, looks like he's going to be going back on trial, faces trial on multiple counts of racketeering, conspiracy, wiretapping, a lot of big names, legal names, Hollywood stars, producers involved. You once used him is that right?
DUNNE: I'll tell you what, yes. Now the Anthony Pelicano I know is different from the Anthony Pelicano I'm hearing about every day now. And, when I knew him he wasn't famous and the guys, John Sweeney who murdered my daughter got out of prison in two and a half years and I was like a crazy person at that time. I mean I wanted to hire someone to kill him, you know.
And so, I heard about, you know, and I knew I'd never do that but I mean I did have the thought and then I heard about this private detective on Sunset Boulevard and he wasn't famous at all then.
And, I went there and I hired Anthony Pelicano to follow him. I had to know what he was doing. I had to know if he was with another woman so I could warn the other woman that this was a guy with a history of violence.
And, Anthony Pelicano followed him for, you know, a couple of months and nothing happened. And he said, "Listen, Dominick, you know," I was having a hard time financially at that point and he said, you know, "You can't really afford this." And he said, "I'll keep an eye on him" and I liked him I have to tell you.
And then through the years, you know, he showed up at the Menendez trial. He showed up at the O.J. trial. He was with Mark Fuhrman. And, before he went to prison, on the night before he went to prison, he called me to say goodbye. KING: Oh.
DUNNE: And he went to prison because they found when they went to his office they found grenades and...
KING: An arsenal.
DUNNE: An arsenal and, yes.
KING: What do you make of all the wiretapping and the like?
DUNNE: Well, I mean this is going to be -- I mean the names that I hear, I'm not going to say any of them here because -- but I mean this is an enormous scandal and, you know, wiretapping is against the law. I don't care how you look at it. And, there are some very big names involved in this, people who have hired him and this is going to be a big story, Larry.
KING: We'll take a break. And when we come back we'll ask Dominick about a major story in New York that has spread nationally, front page in many newspapers involving the most famous gossip column in America, page six of the "New York Post." We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pelicano's fall started with a raid on his Sunset Boulevard offices four years ago. He was convicted for illegal possession of grenades and plastic explosives and went to jail. And when he finished his sentence, the feds hit him with the wiretapping charges plus illegal accessing of protected government computer databases, payoffs to phone company workers and police officers, a web of alleged criminal activity going back to the mid-'90s.
Lawyers speaking on behalf of Pelicano have been quoted in newspapers as saying "The government is trying to persuade him to become a witness," something government lawyers say they can't talk about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAROL COSTELLO (voice-over): "Page Six" has become page one news. One of its writers, Jared Paul Stern, is the target of a federal investigation. He's accused of trying to extort money from California billionaire Ron Burkle.
Stern allegedly demanded a $100,000 up front payment and an additional $10,000 a month. In exchange, Stern would not write negative stories about the billionaire. The Post suspended Stern pending the outcome of the probe.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: And Burkle wrote an op-ed piece today in "The Wall Street Journal" and everybody has covered this, including "The New York Times" putting it on the front page. What do you make...
DUNNE: For two days in a row.
KING: What do you make of this Dominick?
DUNNE: For Saturday and Sunday, they have done 10,000 words. They have something like 13 reporters on this story. It's amazing.
DUNNE: That the...
DUNNE: ...that "The New York Times" with all the pictures of Jared Stern and Richard Johnson. By the way, a nice little touch to it is that on the day of Richard Johnson's wedding he was...
KING: Who writes the page.
DUNNE: ...it was on the front page. I mean that must have been some wedding night and...
KING: All right, why do you think "The New York Times" is giving it this kind of -- and why do you think it has become a national story?
DUNNE: Well because, you know, "Page Six" is indeed exactly what you said. It's the most powerful gossip column. I think it's more than in the United States. I don't think there's a gossip column like it in the world.
And, as much as I have had my problems with "Page Six" over the years and, you know, it hurts. It hurts. They're tough and when they hit you it hurts. But you know what it's the first thing I read. I mean I read it before I read "The New York Times." I turn to "Page Six" which is never on page six.
But you know as long, you know, I have a long Hollywood career behind me and there was a lot of stuff like in those days with the Hedda Hoppers and those people, Luella (ph) Parsons, when people would make deals with them, "I won't tell this story about Rock Hudson if you give me this story about this person," do you see what I mean?
DUNNE: There was a trade. But this is a whole different thing. Now we're talking extortion and this is a real shakedown. And, I have a cohort, not a cohort a reporter friend of mine, one of the really great reporters whose name I'm not going to give, who has seen 35 minutes of the videotape that the police made of the meeting between Jared Paul Stern and Ron Burkle. And he told me just about a couple -- about an hour ago before I came on the show when I was talking to him, I knew he had seen 35 minutes of it, and he said that Jared Paul Stern mentions other people than Richard Johnson, so this is going to be a good one.
KING: How badly do you think -- Richard Johnson by the way edits and writes the page. It contains his name. There are other people who work with him. How badly do you think it's hurt?
DUNNE: I think it's going to hurt a lot. I think Jared Paul Stern is finito (ph). I mean I don't see how, you know, whatever he's saying he was set up or, you know, whatever, it was still a shakedown.
And, you know, there are all kinds of things, the bride, Richard Johnson's bride worked for Ron Perlman and Ron Perlman, you know, one of the richest men in New York who is constantly in the papers with his marriages and divorces, most recently with Ellen Barken, a highly publicized thing in which Ellen Barken's been hit pretty hard, harder than Ron has.
It's a fascinating story and I think it's -- I think there's going to be more names involved and I think more things are going to come out. I don't know why the Times is so fascinated by it but, you know, the Times has, you know, its own version of a gossip column, which isn't a gossip column. It's called "Boldface" and they, as of Friday they are canceling that.
KING: Yes. It's curiouser and curiouser.
DUNNE: It is. It is.
KING: And the "New York Daily News" is having a field day with this.
DUNNE: Well the "New York Daily News"...
KING: The Post's big rival.
DUNNE: ...they haven't been so happy in years. I mean they have had front page headlines that are just so -- so incredible and I can't think of the name of the reporter who broke the story but I was watching him on television earlier and boy he knows he's got, he's broken, you know, a big time story and this is a high moment for him. And, you know, there's a terrific rivalry between...
KING: Oh, the two papers.
DUNNE: Yes, and I have met Jared Paul Stern and his wife, whom he calls Snoodles (ph) and...
KING: You like him?
DUNNE: I didn't say that. No, I don't.
KING: Oh. You don't like him?
KING: All right, we'll leave it at that. Let me get a break. Well put Dom, Dominick well put. And I just saw Ron Perlman the other night. I just saw Richard Johnson the other night at the "Vanity Fair" party.
DUNNE: Oh, you did?
KING: We'll take a break and come back with your phone calls for Dominick Dunne, the host of "Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege and Justice" on Court TV, special correspondent for "Vanity Fair," best- selling author.
Here's a clip from Dominick's TV show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In June of 1982 shockwaves swept through the upscale village of Northbrook, Illinois. Stereo king Werner Hartman has been slain in his own home. Investigators find ten bullet casings next to the body. They determine Werner was gunned down by a semi- automatic weapon. Someone wanted to send the "Stereo King" a message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Before I ask about other cases, we'll take some phone calls as we continue with Dominick Dunne. And we go to Anaheim, California. Hello.
CALLER: Hello Larry. This is for Dominick Dunne.
CALLER: You are my hero. My question to you is in regards to the minister's wife in Tennessee.
CALLER: OK. What do you think the motive was? And will she be acquitted?
DUNNE: Well, I think there is something -- there's a mental problem, I think. There's something that went on between the husband and the wife that we don't know yet. And, I mean, this is an incredibly nice -- this is a nice appearing woman. And, you know, I don't know what's going to happen here. I mean, as I said before, she seems to be beloved by the parishioners of her late husband, who also loved him. So, I mean, this is a very interesting, interesting case.
KING: More here than meets the eye. DUNNE: Absolutely.
KING: Before we take our next call, get us up to date on James Sullivan, convicted of his wife's killing. You did a story on it, led to an arrest, did you not?
DUNNE: I did a story on it. And like a week, eight days later, someone who had seen the show saw him in Thailand. He was the man from Palm Beach, Florida, who wanted desperately to be in Palm Beach society. And he was married to a lovely Atlanta African-American lady. And she didn't fit into his social plans, and he had her killed.
And someone whom he hired delivered a box of flowers, and when she opened the door to take the flowers, he shot and killed her. And years went by, and nothing happened. But he escaped the country, and this person who saw my show then saw him in Thailand and reported him. He was arrested and brought back here. There was a trial that just ended a couple of weeks ago, and he was found guilty.
KING: Why do millionaires keep doing this?
DUNNE: I just don't know. I just don't know. You know, I think -- you know, whatever happened to divorce, you know?
DUNNE: It's so much easier than killing them.
KING: It would seem a lot -- by the way, I know you travel to London a lot and I know you're well connected and I know you knew her. Do you buy anything into the possibility that Princess Di was murdered?
DUNNE: Well, it's very intriguing stuff. I mean, you know, Henri Paul now it turns out was a member of the French intelligence. Whether he was an informant or what, I'm not exactly sure. I've just recently learned that. I don't know. But, you know, Dodi Fayed, I knew Dodi in Hollywood and liked him. And his father is just not letting go of this.
DUNNE: That there was a conspiracy to kill her. And it's like in a way -- you can liken it to the Kennedy assassinations. You know all the different theories about that that have come out through the years.
DUNNE: Anyway, you know, it just goes on and on. I don't know what ever is going to happen.
KING: Riverside, California, hello.
CALLER: Good evening. My question is for Mr. Dunne. And it's an older case. I'd like to know his take on the Spider Savage Claudine Longet case from the 70s.
DUNNE: Yes indeed.
KING: I remember that. The Andy Williams.
DUNNE: Andy Williams' wife, yes. I mean, I know it well. And I did a show on it on my series. Andy Williams, who was a top singer of the time with his great hit "Moon River" and many others. He still is a great, great entertainer. And he fell in love with Claudine Longet, an absolutely gorgeous French starlet.
And she was in a picture or two, and she did an album and so forth and so on. And I think she had two kids with Andy. And then she fell -- they divorced, and she fell madly in love with this guy, Spider Savage, who was an Olympic skier, lived in Aspen, was one of the heroes of the town. They had a blazing affair, were everywhere, everywhere.
And I don't know. She got possessive. She got whatever. And he got sick of her. He had somebody else, and she killed him. And she shot him, and she said he was teaching -- she was going to be alone and that he was teaching her how to use the gun, which, of course, nobody -- well, apparently people did believe it because Andy came to her aid. He came to the trial. He stood by her.
And, you know, she's a hated figure in Aspen. He was a beloved -- Spider was a beloved figure there. But they acquitted her. I mean, that was a real surprise to everybody. And curiously enough, she still lives in Aspen. She married her defense attorney in the trial.
KING: Great story. Calgary Alberta, Canada.
CALLER: Hi Dominick. Are you there?
KING: Yes go ahead.
DUNNE: I'm here.
CALLER: Yes. After all of your coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial, I am just wondering if you are still in touch with that? What's happening with him?
DUNNE: Well, I mean, you know, I'll always be in touch with that story because, I mean, that was such -- that was the most important case that I ever covered. I was in the courtroom for the entire trial. Judge Ito gave me a front row seat. You know, I got to know -- I made incredible friends in the media of the other reporters.
And we all kind of -- a lot of us just sort of -- Dan Abrams and Jeffrey Toobin-- anyway, just so many, we're all pals. And I don't keep in touch with O.J. O.J. never liked me very much because I felt right from day one that he was guilty. And I said so on TV all the time. I used to get booed outside the courthouse by the people waiting outside. And I meant to mention Cynthia McFadden, too. I mean, she was another one of the ones who was there for the full year. And we all became a group together. And when we meet up, all that we do still, all these years later, we still talk about the O.J. trial.
KING: Were you friendly with Johnnie Cochran?
DUNNE: I became friendly afterward thanks to the Henry Schlieff, the CEO of Court TV. Because Johnnie hated me, and I didn't really like him at all during the trial. I always loved his wife. I mean, she was a terrific, wonderful, fantastic woman. And, but, no, Johnnie didn't like me at all. And, you know, I wrote and talked on TV about him and so forth.
But then, you know, years pass, and Henry Schlieff said to me, who was the head of Court TV, you know, this has got to end. And so he set up a lunch between Johnnie and me, and we hugged. And, you know, we had some laughs. And he wouldn't talk about O.J., if he kept in touch with him or not.
And he took out his cell phone, and he called -- we were in New York at Michael's Restaurant. And he called his wife, Dale, in L.A., and he said, guess who I'm having lunch with? And he handed the cell phone to his wife. So we ended up great. And then he died less than a year later. I went to his funeral.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with more of Dominick Dunne, one of our favorite people. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The murder happened on the morning of a crucial court date in the Sullivan's divorce. It also happened while a friend of Mrs. Sullivan was staying with her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard her open the door, and I heard her say, good morning. I heard three shots. The gun, pow, pow, pow.
COSTELLO: Prosecutors contend that the hit man had tried to make the same deadly delivery to Mrs. Sullivan just days before the murder, but she didn't answer the door. The defense insists though that there is no physical evidence linking Sullivan to the crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Back with Dominick Dunne. Chicago, hello.
CALLER: Good evening, gentlemen.
CALLER: Dominick, I have several questions for you. In the recent issue of "Vanity Fair", you wrote about Claus von Bulow. What do you think of him? Do you think he tried to murder Sunny? Is he still in a coma and what's he doing now? Thank you.
KING: Good question.
DUNNE: Very good. Indeed, I did cover that -- I covered the second of the two Clous von Bulow trials. This was in Providence, Rhode Island. Sonny von Bulow is still in a coma, is still alive. She is no longer in Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. She's in a private hospital on the Upper East Side. I'm very friendly with her daughter Ala and her son Alexander. And they I know continue to visit their mother and bring their children to see Sunny. You know...
KING: You think Claus did it?
DUNNE: Well, I'm not going -- yes. And what he did -- it was attempted murder. It wasn't murder.
KING: Right, she's not dead.
DUNNE: And she's not dead. But she's been in this coma now for 25 years or something. And she's not being kept alive. It was -- Claus is another one who hates me a lot. And there's several of these people around here.
KING: That was a great movie though, wasn't it?
DUNNE: It was a very good movie. It was based on Alan Dershowitz's book. And of course Alan Dershowitz did a brilliant job. Claus was found guilty after the first trial and I think sentenced to, whatever, 30 years or something.
And then Dershowitz came in, and the verdict was overthrown on appeal. And then the trial lawyer in the second trial was really a wonderful lawyer called Tom Pucchio, a guy for whom I have a lot of respect, which I don't have for a lot of defense attorneys. And when I get called up for jury duty, when I just walk in, they say they don't want me.
KING: Where is Claus now?
DUNNE: Claus has been living in London ever since the verdict. And he has recently become the theater critic for the "Catholic Herald of London," which is quite a difference.
KING: He was a guest on this show as well. New Liskeard, Ontario, hello.
CALLER: Hello, Mr. Dunne. I enjoy your articles in "Vanity Fair" very much. My question is, have you ever been sued?
DUNNE: Yes, yes, I have been. I was sued by the former Congressman Gary Condit. But I don't discuss the case, that's part of the agreement.
KING: Lynnwood, Washington. Hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry. I enjoy your show. KING: Thank you.
CALLER: This question is for Dominick Dunne. It's is an old case, and it's the fall of Calumet Farm in Kentucky. And I want to know if you think JT Lundy had anything to do with Alydar and insurance money.
KING: Do you know about the death of that horse, Alydar Calumet?
DUNNE: You know what, yes I do, kind of.
KING: Great horse.
DUNNE: Gosh, I had forgotten that story. I really can't be a help on that, I'm sorry.
KING: He got beaten by a, total of maybe a half a length in three races. Anyway, our guest is Dominick Dunne. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DUNNE: Everyone around town seemed to know about Werner and Debbie (ph) Hartmann, the "Stereo King of Chicago" and his arm candy of a wife. In a suburb like Northbrook, they didn't exactly blend into the background.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Debbie tells officers she thinks her husband Werner has committed suicide. Police take her statement and ask her and Eva (ph) to stay at the station while officers check out the scene.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Dominick Dunne. Baltimore, Maryland, hello.
CALLER: Hello. Mr. Dunne, I enjoy your writing but you focus mostly on the murders of the rich and the famous. However, statistics have shown that millions of ordinary people's lives have been destroyed and their savings wiped out by white-collar crimes committed by big corporations like Enron. Shouldn't more focus be put on the damage done to people by corporate criminals?
DUNNE: Well, I think -- I don't know if more should be given, but it certainly should be. Yes, of course. And I think a lot is. That's what the Enron trial is all about that is going on now. Fascinating trial.
KING: Does white-collar crime fascinate you?
DUNNE: Not in the way that crime crime fascinates me. You know, my magazine wanted me to go to Houston and cover the Enron trial, but, you know, I wasn't sufficiently fascinated by it that I wanted to spend that many months away. And so I didn't go. You know, yes, I'm interested in white-collar crime but not as interested.
KING: Winston Salem, North Carolina, hello.
CALLER: Yes. Mr. Dunne, I have a question about the Edmund Safra case.
KING: Yes, go ahead.
CALLER: I was wondering if you thought that the principality acted in a paranoid manner by indicting and imprisoning the male nurse?
DUNNE: Well, I think the principality acted in a very strange manner throughout. I mean, on the night of the fire after the police got there, for whatever reason I still will never understand, that they held the firemen back from going up to the penthouse, where they still could have saved Mr. Safra. I forgot what you said. You asked if what?
KING: We've cut it off.
DUNNE: Oh, you cut it off. Oh, you asked if they moved too quickly on the male nurse.
KING: Right, yes.
DUNNE: Well, you know, he was first presented, you know, as -- told his wife that he had been a hero because he had been stabbed. And then by the time she got there, he had been arrested and had signed a confession. There's always been a problem to me about that in that he signed a confession in French, which is a language he did not speak.
I attended the trial. It was a very peculiar trial. And he got 10 years. He is up for release now except that he escaped from prison for -- however, they did it, he and his cell mate, they cut the bars of the cell. They tied garbage bags together. They came out the side of the prison in Monte Carlo and escaped.
But he was caught within a matter of hours. And now he is scheduled to have a new trial on the escape that keeps getting postponed, though. And there is a sentence of only one year -- there will be a sentence of only one year for the escape. And then apparently he will be set free.
KING: Ft. Lauderdale, hello.
CALLER: Yes. Years ago I saw a special on the murder of your daughter, Mr. Dunne. And I remember your warranted angry reaction to the judge's light sentence when he thanked the jury. I was wondering if your paths have crossed and if you're on speaking terms of him? And what is John Sweeney doing now?
DUNNE: Well, I'll tell you, about the judge, Judge Katz his name was. I saw him, curiously enough, at the -- as a reporter from "The Malibu Times," I saw him at the O.J. Simpson trial. And, no, we never spoke. And he said to me once, yes, I'm the guy you keep harping on or something or picking on or something. I didn't like the judge.
KING: In fact, he was scheduled to be on this program with him, and we had to ask him to go because you wouldn't go on with him. I don't think you crossed paths here, but you were both in the same studio area. What happened to Mr. Sweeney?
DUNNE: You know, I don't know, Larry. You know, you could spend your whole life in revenge. And I didn't want to spend my whole life in revenge. I don't know where he is. All of a sudden one day I said, you know, I don't want to live like this. And there's something I can do. I can -- I have the talent to write, the talent to go on TV and talk. That's a much better way.
And that is when I started covering trials. And I sort of feel that my daughter, who I was extremely close to -- on the night before she was murdered, it was my birthday, and she had called me. She was in Hollywood, and I was in New York. And the last thing she ever said to me was, I love you, daddy, like that. And, you know, I'll never forget that. And I'm happy that it ended like that.
KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Dominick Dunne. Don't go away.
KING: We only have 30 seconds. What do you make of "Crash" beating it for best movie?
DUNNE: I was really surprised, Larry. I mean, "Crash" is a very, very good movie. And I certainly enjoyed it. I don't think it's a great movie. I mean, I really loved it, in fact. But, I mean, I think "Brokeback Mountain" should have won the Academy Award. And I was kind of surprised that it didn't. I mean, considering that it got such, you know, the best director.
DUNNE: And so forth. I think that was a wonderful film.
KING: Thanks Dominick, always great seeing you.
DUNNE: Thanks, Larry. I love being here.
KING: Dominick Dunne, the host of "Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege and Justice" on Court TV, special correspondent for "Vanity Fair," his books have made the best seller list in both fiction and non-fiction.
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