The Reliable Source

But Would He Be Elected Foreman?

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Friday, December 2, 2005

The summons mailed to 43 Prairie Chapel Ranch Rd. in Crawford, Tex., asked potential juror 286 to report to the McLennan County Court next Monday. Sadly, George W. Bush has a previous commitment.

The president was among 600 people selected at random for the jury pool that went to judges this week, reports the Waco Tribune-Herald. The White House has asked for a postponement, but says Bush isn't trying to weasel out of serving. "We will be working with the court to reschedule his jury duty," press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters yesterday, calling it an "important civic responsibility." After all, Sen. John Kerry served as foreman in a Massachusetts civil case just last week.

Bush was excused the last time he was summoned in 1996, after arguing that, as governor, he might be asked to pardon someone from the case. Could he make it this time? Lois Heaney , who has helped lawyers pick juries for 26 years, says she doubts it.

"If you were a plaintiff in a personal injury or product liability case, you wouldn't want him because he's a strong advocate for caps on awards," she said. "If you were a criminal defendant, this is a juror who strongly favors the death penalty, is strongly supportive of law enforcement, is rather pro-prosecution, and believes in draconian sentencing."

Also: His presence could overwhelm the other jurors, or polarize them so much they could never reach a verdict. The chances of Bush being seated? "Zero," said Heaney. Au revoir, dire.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Greek billionairess Athina Onassis Roussel and fiance Alvaro Afonso de Miranda Neto plan to be married Saturday on a Brazilian estate. She is the granddaughter of the shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, the husband of Jacqueline Kennedy.
Greek billionairess Athina Onassis Roussel and fiance Alvaro Afonso de Miranda Neto plan to be married Saturday on a Brazilian estate. She is the granddaughter of the shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, the husband of Jacqueline Kennedy.(Tasso Marcelo - Associated Press)
It's been a big year for Greek shipping heirs, returning to the international gossip columns they dominated through the 1960s and '70s. First, young playboys Paris Latsis and Stavros Niarchos battled for the affections of Paris Hilton . And tomorrow, Athina Onassis Roussel will wed a Brazilian horse-jumping star in a lavish Sao Paulo ceremony.

Often called "the richest girl in the world," 20-year-old Athina is the granddaughter and sole heir of shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis , who wooed diva Maria Callas and married Jackie Kennedy ; her mother, tragic jet-setter Christina , died in 1988, leaving Athina with $2.7 billion. She won a court battle with father Thierry Roussel over some of the fortune; now she's fighting trustees of Ari's foundation over the rest -- and enduring speculation her 32-year-old fiance, Alvaro Afonso de Miranda Neto , is only in it for the bucks.

THIS JUST IN . . .

Hollywood's most hotly anticipated project of 2005 has arrived -- Baby Bennifer! Us Weekly reported yesterday that Jennifer Garner gave birth to a girl Wednesday night in Los Angeles; E! News says the name is Violet . With "Alias" now canceled, we recommend she and husband Ben Affleck pursue that long-rumored move to kid-friendly Charlottesville, where he can ponder a political career and she can work on regaining those stupendous abs outside the paparazzi's glare.

L.A. is a very dangerous place. If you go there, you run the risk of getting lured into a touch-football game with Tim McGraw , Faith Hill and Garry Shandling , and maybe tearing a ligament. Okay, maybe that wouldn't happen to most of us -- but it did happen to Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) when he took his family to visit his brother, agent Ari Emanuel , for Thanksgiving. The game, organized by Ari's pal, actor-director Peter Berg , also included former superagent Mike Ovitz . The congressman says he slid on one knee to catch a long pass from country crooner McGraw; on the next play, his knee just collapsed. So: football with Faith? "She's a darn good player," he said. "And McGraw's got a good arm -- I felt lucky catching the pass."

Camilla has finally made it onto Prince Charles's official Christmas card. The newlyweds selected a picture from their April wedding; the happy couple (she in a pale blue gown) are flanked by their children from previous marriages: Princes William and Harry , and Laura and Tom Parker Bowles .

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

A double-take-inducing '70s flashback as Stevie Nicks dined with Mick Fleetwood at Fahrenheit in Georgetown Wednesday -- she in all-black, he in a vest, basically looking exactly like their old "Rumours" album cover. Fleetwood Mac's been breaking up and reuniting for 30 years, so we can't keep track of whether they're still in the band; at least we now know they're friends.


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