War of the Wynns
* A nasty divorce--his third--is in Rep. Albert Wynn's future. The four-term Democratic congressman from Prince George's County has filed a complaint against Jessie T. Wynn, his wife of five years and mother of their daughter Gabrielle, 5. In court papers, the 47-year-old Wynn--who moved out of their Upper Marlboro house last November and now rents an apartment in Mitchellville--accuses his 41-year-old spouse of making it "difficult if not impossible" for him "to maintain a meaningful relationship with his daughter" and asks the court for custody.
"That's ridiculous," scoffs Jessie's lawyer, Leonard Goldstein. Albert further claims that the mortgage on their house "is in default" and the property "will be foreclosed" because his wife "refuses to contribute toward it." Goldstein replies: "He's always been responsible for the mortgage. Now he's threatening to put her and their daughter out on the street, but we intend to resist that." More--and worse--to come.
Carl and Doug, We Hardly Knew Ye--Till Now
We figured things were getting out of hand when a CNN booker phoned us at home Sunday night and asked us to go on the following morning to talk about John F. Kennedy Jr. We'd had our first and last conversation with Kennedy in April, when we visited George magazine, but the booker brushed aside our protest that we barely knew the man. "You have no idea how difficult it is to fill 72 hours of live coverage," he explained. We opted to keep a hard-won appointment with our dental hygienist.
Luckily, the nation's television outlets have not lacked for obliging friends and experts ready to go on camera and muse about plane-crash victims Kennedy, his wife, Carolyn, and her sister Lauren Bessette. Ubiquitous among the talking heads are Washington author Carl Sferrazza Anthony and presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, both contributing editors at George.
Anthony, who drops the "Sferrazza" for television ("People on TV can't really spell or pronounce my middle name"), has submitted to on-air phone interviews with Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw and appeared on the Sunday "Today" show, Monday's "CBS This Morning" and CNN's "Larry King Live" Monday night. "I was very leery of it," Anthony told us, arguing that he's tried to keep his comments professional, not personal. "But regardless of how you emphasize that you are not a longtime close friend," he lamented, "the nature of the questions are such that they immediately want to suggest that."
Brinkley has been especially hard to avoid, with appearances on CNN, MSNBC, NBC's "Today," "Dateline" and "Meet the Press," and ABC's "Good Morning America," plus dueling essays in the latest Newsweek and Monday's New York Times limning his friendship with Kennedy. "I am a historian of 20th-century America and this is a major event of 1999," Brinkley told us. "But I just told 'Larry King Live' no. [Anthony went on instead.] And I just told Dan Rather no. . . . I'm not doing any more for a while." That was Monday. Yesterday, of course, he was back on the "Today" show.
THIS JUST IN . . .
* Hey, PETA, eat this! It's National Hot Dog Day, so the American Meat Institute and the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council are hosting today's annual hot dog lunch at the Rayburn House Office Building.
* Flying down to the scuttled shuttle launch in Florida with 11 female members of Congress, 18 Women's World Cup soccer champions and daughter Chelsea, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton had to put down some rowdy behavior. "She was walking up and down the aisle, trying to get members and players to sit down so the plane could take off," an eyewitness told us yesterday.
* Remember Walter Kaye, the insurance mogul and close friend of Monica Lewinsky's mom, Marcia Lewis--the guy who arranged Monica's White House internship? Kaye was back at the White House Sunday night for dinner with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. "The Clintons said hello to me, but they're always very nice to me," the 80-year-old Kaye told us. "This is the first time I'm talking to a reporter in probably a year."
* Ohio Democratic Party officials want trash-TV host Jerry Springer to run against Republican Sen. Mike DeWine, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
* Helen Hunt and Hank Azaria got married over the weekend.
* Grief-stricken JFK Jr. pal Diane Sawyer begged off anchoring "Good Morning America" Monday and yesterday, the Associated Press reports. An ABC spokeswoman said Sawyer is "not emotionally equipped."
CAPTION: Rep. Albert Wynn, who's divorcing again, speaking in 1997.
CAPTION: Filling time: Brinkley, above, and Anthony, below, have been repeatedly offering their not-very-personal JFK Jr. reminiscences.
CAPTION: Sawyer, too upset to anchor.