Jeffrey Archer, author and former deputy chairman of Britain's ruling Conservative Party, yesterday went before his country's High Court to fight allegations that he had sexual relations with a prostitute specializing in kinky sex. Archer resigned from his party post last year after Britain's tabloid Star said he paid $3,200 to the 35-year-old prostitute, Monica Coghlan, to avoid a scandal. The story alleged that one of Coghlan's clients wanted to dress up as Red Riding Hood, wearing a garter belt.
Archer and his wife Mary sat together as the jury trying the libel case listened to tape recordings of telephone conversations between Archer and Coghlan in which he consistently denied knowing her and recommended she go to the police. The hearing, which is expected to last a week, resumes today.
A Warhol by Mistake
Instead of receiving $800 worth of spare parts for a submarine, South Carolina's Charleston Naval Base received an Andy Warhol painting of Queen Elizabeth II, worth $100,000.
The freight box that arrived at the Navy base this weekend was from Equinox Gallery in Vancouver, British Columbia, Navy officials said yesterday. The painting and the spare parts apparently were mistakenly switched in transit, officials said.
James McFarlane, a pilot for mini-submarine manufacturer International Submarine Engineering of Vancouver, discovered the mistake. "When I opened the box and started looking inside, and the first thing I saw was an Andy Warhol original, I was a little stunned to say the least," McFarlane said.
Singer Kris Kristofferson apologized yesterday to an Albany, N.Y.-based Vietnam veterans group that had expressed anger last week after a plaque they had given him at a benefit concert was found in the trash after the show. The singer, who flew back to Upstate New York to "re-receive" the plaque, said, "We screwed up. We left it behind. We didn't know it wasn't even on the bus until we heard about it on the news."
Kristofferson, who gave the benefit concert at the suburban Colonie Coliseum to raise money for the planned Albany County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Monument, also responded to charges that he was paid a five-figure sum for the concert, which raised no money for the memorial, saying he didn't even know he was being paid for the performance.
John Tower's Divorce Case
Attorneys in the divorce case of former Sen. John Tower, who chaired the presidential review panel on the Iran-contra affair, met privately yesterday in a special Washington divorce court. None of the parties would discuss whether there were moves toward a settlement.
Associate Judge Sylvia Bacon, who is hearing the case in the family division of the District of Columbia Superior Court, set additional hearings for July 21 and July 28.
In her divorce petition, Lilla Burt Cummings Tower accused the former Republican Texas senator of "marital misconduct" and is seeking alimony. John Tower, on the other hand, hopes to prove valid his claims on his wife's substantial estate. In court documents, Tower states his wife's net worth exceeds $2 million.
Joan Collins' Divorce Case
And speaking of marital upset, actress Joan Collins has been successful in her attempts to boot her estranged husband Peter Holm from her Hollywood home. The 39-year-old Swedish businessman and former rock star was ordered yesterday by a Los Angeles superior court judge to vacate the mansion as soon as his lawyer, Frank Steinschreiber, receives notice that escrow on the property has been closed. Collins' lawyer, Marvin Mitchelson, said the home has been sold to film producer Freddie Fields for $650,000.
Randolph Hearst Weds
Randolph A. Hearst, 71, president of the San Francisco Examiner and chairman of the board of Hearst Corp., tied the knot for the third time Sunday when he wed 39-year-old Veronica de Uribe. The newlyweds were married in an small outdoor ceremony at a family retreat in Dunsmuir, Calif. De Uribe is a widowed mother of two.
Chuck Conconi is on vacation.