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Miller Attorney's Ready for His Close-Up

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, October 18, 2007

Officially, "Nothing but the Truth" is not, we repeat, not the Judy Miller story. The movie, now filming in Memphis with Kate Beckinsale and director Rod Lurie, just happens to tell the story of a reporter who goes to jail for refusing to give up her source on a big CIA story.

But it does have a Judy Miller connection: Floyd Abrams. The veteran First Amendment lawyer, who repped her and the New York Times in the grand jury investigation of a CIA leak, has agreed to take a small part in the movie -- playing the judge who sends Beckinsale's character to the slammer.

Miller didn't return a call, but friends say the journalist is dismayed by her former attorney's winking role in a movie she wanted no connection to -- though she did consent to a friendly lunch with Abrams and Beckinsale to help the actress study up for the part.

So, has Abrams done much acting? "Only in front of judges and juries," he told us. He got his big showbiz break when he met Lurie last year at a reception. The director kept coming back for expert advice on his screenplay -- and eventually asked if he'd take the part. Abrams went to Memphis two weeks ago for rehearsal and came back with 11 pages of script; he'll shoot his scenes early next month.

"I had mixed feelings," Abrams said. "I felt a lot better after rehearsing with the real actors. But at this time I'm not giving up my day job."

He said it was eerie to watch Alan Alda play a lawyer going through situations so similar to his own -- though, of course, Alda is not playing him, he emphasized, just as the movie "is not the Judith Miller case. It has some recollections of it to me, but the plot's entirely different."

Abrams told us yesterday he didn't know Miller was upset about his role. "She really bears no responsibility" for the movie, he said. "She doesn't know what's in the script. . . . I think that when the movie comes out that she'll like it."

Wayne Newton's Ill-Timed Gig a Red Flag to Suspicious Minds

Wayne Newton fans were bummed when he canceled tonight's one-man show at the Birchmere because of "artist illness" -- and suspicious when they saw him performing Tuesday on "Dancing With the Stars." What's up with that?

Word is that "Mr. Las Vegas" has pneumonia and bowed out of two weeks of concerts. Although he was voted off "Dancing" last week, Newton was recruited as a last-minute sub for Gloria Estefan on Tuesday's results show, where he sang (what else?) "Danke Schoen."

Newton's doctor okayed two minutes on national TV but not two weeks on the road. He's tentatively rescheduled for February.

LOVE, ETC.

* Engaged: Patrick Fitzgerald, 46, to Chicago teacher Jennifer Letzkus, 34. We noticed the Very Special Prosecutor in the Scooter Libby case first, and People magazine put him in its "Sexiest Man Alive" issue. Now we've learned he's proposed to Letzkus, described as a former investment banker turned Head Start teacher and marathon runner (hard to compete with that résumé, ladies). First marriage for Fitz, second for her. Plans call for a small, private wedding, probably in the spring.

QUOTE

"It was more trouble than it was worth."

-- Valerie Plame Wilson, telling Katie Couric she regrets posing for that controversial glamorous-lady-spy photo shoot in Vanity Fair. In her first TV interview, to air Sunday on CBS's "60 Minutes," Wilson says her CIA boss "was caught unawares" by the photo and "gave me a really good chewing out. As I deserved to be."

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