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Vanity Fair: Lifting Jacko News From the National Enquirer?

Jacko and Vanity FairRobert Evans and Joe EszterhasNicky Hilton

Vanity Fair: Lifting Jacko News From the National Enquirer?

Vanity Fair magazine issued a press release yesterday about their new Michael Jackson story, and the whole thing sounds pretty funny.

It turns out that writer Maureen Orth, whom I have cited before as lifting material from this column, and other places, in her recent Jackson reporting, got her latest scoops from the National Enquirer.

The Vanity Fair press release breathlessly announces that Jackson plied his 12-year-old accuser with wine and called it "Jesus Juice." Big news, indeed!

Of course, this column told the world immediately on November 19 that Jackson's accuser would say he had been given wine and sleeping pills by the singer. That was our scoop, Maureen.

But the "Jesus Juice" story was published in the National Enquirer on December 14. It's certainly old news by now and adds nothing to the equation.

But people's memories are short, and Orth's clip reading is deep. I think the National Enquirer — which gets a lot of flak and is never taken seriously — should go after Vanity Fair.

I also was the first to tell you, back on November 19, that Jackson's camp had arranged for the boy and his family to get passports last winter after the Martin Bashir interview aired on ABC. The idea was to send them to Brazil to "cool off."

The mother, I told you, felt that she was being held captive at Neverland by Jackson's keepers. They never made it to Brazil, but to Disney World and to Miami.

When they returned, I reported, Jackson's staff moved them into Neverland, cleaned out their apartment and put their possessions in storage.

On March 26, 2003, I reported more recently, the family's lawyer, William Dickerman, sent Jackson's lawyer, Mark Geragos, a letter demanding the return of the possessions. There was no response. The family eventually got a new apartment, but it wasn't until May that the issue of child molestation suddenly appeared.

The lingering question, of course: Why did Jackson's advisers at the time — Dieter Wiesner and Ronald Konitzer — feel it was necessary to engage Geragos, a criminal attorney, back in February when even the child's mother had no inkling of a child-molestation issue?

If Jackson simply felt the family needed to deal with someone legal in his camp, wouldn't one of his regular lawyers have been capable of handling the matter?

All well and good, but I do await the rest of Orth's "original" reporting with much interest. Remember, last year she was the one — and only one — who reported that Jackson visited a voodoo doctor to cast a spell on Steven Spielberg. You've never heard a word about it again from anyone, have you?

Robert Evans: Joe Eszterhas Is a Liar

Robert Evans is not letting Joe Eszterhas get away with statements in his new book, "Hollywood Animal: A Memoir."

Evans, the famed producer who ran Paramount Pictures when "The Godfather" movies and "Love Story" were made, is furious with screenwriter Eszterhas for comments about Paramount's reigning chief, Sherry Lansing.

In the book, the writer accuses Lansing of forcing him to let her husband, Oscar-winning director William Friedkin, direct the movie "Jade," for which Eszterhas wrote the godawful script.

The movie, which was eventually panned, was also David Caruso's big leading-man role after he abruptly quit TV's "NYPD Blue" hoping for a film career. The movie tanked, and so did Caruso.

"I made the deal for 'Jade' long before Sherry was running Paramount," Evans insists. "And I specified I wanted Billy Friedkin. Eszterhas is wrong and he knows it."

In fact, Evans says, "the book is full of lies and half-truths. Joe Eszterhas is a great fiction writer, and even when he tries to write fact, it comes out as fiction."

Evans should know what he's talking about. He's collaborated with Eszterhas on several films, including "Sliver" and "Showgirls," two of the writer's many laughable flops.

Meanwhile, Evans continues to mourn the death of his great friend, photographer Helmut Newton, who had a heart attack as he was driving out of the Hotel Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood last week. Newton consequently lost control of his car and hit the retaining wall just beyond the hotel's driveway.

J-Lo's Ex-Manager's New Client: Nicky Hilton

In another lifetime, Nicky Hilton was the name of Elizabeth Taylor's first husband. The pair was married in May 1950 and divorced nine months later. They had no children. Nicky was the son of Conrad Hilton, the man who made the hotel fortune.

Fifty-four years later, another Nicky Hilton — a brunette whose sister is famous for appearing in Internet porno films and not knowing what a washing machine is — is in the news.

It seems that Paris Hilton's younger sister has become the latest client of Handprint Entertainment, which is owned by Benny Medina, Jennifer Lopez's ex-manager.

Apparently unable to re-secure Lopez as a client post-Ben Affleck, Medina has reached out to the younger sister of America's biggest embarrassment. He's going to make her a star.

Yesterday on Celebrity Bulletin, Handprint announced that Nicky would be "in town" next week for an event at the Waldorf-Astoria. The entry did not mention that Nicky actually lives in the Waldorf-Astoria — or rather the adjoining Waldorf Towers, which is owned by the Hilton Corporation, a company far removed from this Nicky or her tabloid-headline-seeking sibling.

So I guess she's already in town and shouldn't have too much trouble finding her way to the event which is being held at a location from which she, presumably, cannot be barred.