Today is supposed to be "D-Day," or "Debbie Day," for the prosecution in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial.
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon has subpoenaed Debbie Rowe, the singer's ex-wife and mother of his two eldest children, because he thinks she will damage Jackson in front of the jury.
The worst she can do is answer questions about her children's paternity.
If she does, I am told, she will have to concede that Jackson is not the father of Prince, 8, and Paris, 7.
Rowe has suffered for years by perpetuating the lie that they were conceived in a conventional manner.
The truth, according to my sources, is that she acted as a surrogate twice and was artificially inseminated — and not with Jackson's sperm. This open secret was revealed in a London tabloid last year, and Rowe has verified it to friends.
My sources say Jackson has a well-constructed fantasy about this truth, much like his claim that a 20-year-old boy who lives at Neverland, Omar Bhatti, was his son. That proved untrue as well, as this column reported exclusively last year.
But Sneddon has other needs for Rowe's testimony, and this may be another setback for him.
He plans to try to get Rowe to say that an interview she gave for "Entertainment Tonight" and the supermarket tabloid The Globe in February 2003 was scripted.
Sneddon thinks such an admission will support his argument that Jackson's people also scripted the video made later that month by the family of the boy accusing him of sex abuse.
But the prosecution will have its work cut out on this issue — because Rowe's interview, I am told, was not at all scripted.
In fact, Rowe volunteered at the time to tape the interview to help Jackson. I'm told that not only did no one ask her to do it, but she was not paid for it either.
At the time, Jackson and Rowe were still on relatively good terms over their children.
So what actually happened?
Ian Drew of US Weekly conducted Rowe's interview for "ET." He e-mailed a list of 100 questions to Jackson associate Marc Schaffel on Feb. 4, 2003. That was the day after "Living With Michael Jackson," the Martin Bashir documentary, aired in Britain.
If the subsequent interview had been scripted, as the prosecution claims, the answers Rowe would have given might have been more circumspect. But they are pure, original Debbie Rowe -- very off-the-cuff and honest.
In the interview, which will likely be played back today for the jury, Drew asked Rowe pointed questions about Jackson's sexuality, their sex life, their marriage, her role as a parent, Jackson's parenting skills and a lot of other subjects that would certainly not have surfaced in a controlled setting. Her answers were often evasive and not exactly flattering to Jackson.
After the video was done, Drew — who's on the defense list of possible witnesses — came back and asked to see the finished tape so he could make a transcript of the interview for The Globe. Sources tell me the "script" Sneddon will produce in court today is actually that transcript.
"You can see the time code on it," my source said. "Sneddon just doesn't get it. That script was made after the interview, not before."
What's on this video?
For one thing, Rowe admits that the couple married because she was pregnant with Prince. She admits to not spending her wedding night with Jackson and not visiting Neverland very often at all.
She also says that if she had been asked at the time of the marriage, she would have said she had no physical attraction to Jackson.
Drew asks — and it's hard to believe this would have been a sanctioned question — "Did you have sex to make [Prince]?"
Rowe responded evasively but strongly, "That is extremely inappropriate to ask. My answer is: That is an extremely inappropriate question. So let's not go there. Thank you."
Rowe, by the way, had to get permission from both her attorney and Jackson's to do the interview so she wouldn't break the confidentiality agreement she signed with the singer.
After the interview aired, she received not even a thank-you from Jackson and never saw her children again, despite having a visitation schedule.
Jackson, according to sources, never even returned her phone calls.
When the child molestation scandal broke nine months later, Rowe's attempts to speak with Jackson were again completely rebuffed.
If Macaulay Culkin is thinking of testifying for Jackson during the defense portion of the trial, he may want to take Rowe's experience under consideration.
When Jerry Seinfeld likes a book, he really knows how to throw a book party.
Last night at Cafe Gray in the Time Warner Center, Jerry and his wife Jessica — glowingly five months pregnant with their third child — entertained about 70 people for Ed Broth's mind-bendingly funny book, "Stories From a Moron."
Of course, there is no Ed Broth. He is as real as Ted L. Nancy, author of the "Letters From a Nut" series.
As with that series, Seinfeld wrote the intro to Broth's book. He spoke glowingly of him, but Broth never appeared.
"I can't compare him to Hemingway or Steinbeck, because I've never read them," Seinfeld said.
This may have been confusing to the incredibly tony crowd of diners who got to sample Gray Kunz's short ribs, salad and white chocolate marquise. Those who ordered fish were heard to grumble that the portions were so small they would stop later at a Cafe Gray of another sort, Gray's Papaya, on the way home.
And so the guests: News Corp's Rupert Murdoch and his lovely wife Wendy; the vivacious Regis and Joy Philbin; New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer; newscasters Paula Zahn, Anderson Cooper and Elizabeth Vargas with husband singer/songwriter Marc Cohn; Jann Wenner (who chatted up Cooper) and boyfriend Matt Nye; Tom and Alice Tisch; Steven Tisch; PR man Howard Rubenstein and wife Amy; Miramax's Bob Weinstein and wife Annie; Nancy and Andrew Jarecki; and New York magazine's new owner Bruce Wasserstein.
The Philbins and the Rubensteins reminisced about their favorite "Seinfeld" episodes.
Regis, just back from speaking at a luncheon in Dallas, inquired whether he could get Ed Broth to write a four-minute monologue about Kelly Ripa for his nightclub show. The answer was yes.
"Nothing mean," he said, "Just something funny."
Yet, it was a book party, with the editor, Elizabeth Beier, and the agent, Dan Strone in attendance, but no author.
There was entertainment, however, from a hilarious President Bush imitator named Steve Bridges whom Jerry found on Comedy Central.
He admitted that his "radical conservative appointees" were "oxygenated morons" and that "life begins at contraception." He also thanked the Electoral College for helping him win the election.
"The faculty and the students especially," he said. You get the idea.
Seinfeld did entertain his guests with a little skit involving a fake assistant and a cop who attested to author Broth's absence. So Jerry read from the book, which drew a lot of laughs, including a story about a mute who has Tourette's Syndrome and makes involuntary obscene gestures.
Jerry also did a little stand-up comedy, commenting on the recent scandal at Wendy's involving a finger found in the chili, which drew even more laughs and applause.
"Today they found an entire human being in the chili and it was missing a finger. But it was not a match," he said.
He also observed that there are far too many videotapes of terrorist training camps.
"Why don't they just follow the guy who drops off the film?" he said.
A great night. Too bad the author didn't show, but what the heck: The Seinfelds were the hosts with the most, as they used to say.