The Reliable Source column in yesterday's Style section incorrectly reported the number of Suzanne Cooke's drunken-driving convictions. According to Fauquier County Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Kevin F. Casey, Cooke has two drunken-driving convictions. (Published 12/03/1999)
Suzanne Cooke's Not-So-Jolly Holiday
For the past 10 days, Suzanne Martin Cooke--the late Jack Kent Cooke's third wife and the mother of his 11-year-old daughter, Jacqueline--has been living quietly in the Fauquier County Adult Detention Center. She'll be released today. "I'm just doing a lot of soul-searching," the 43-year-old Cooke told The Post's Graeme Zielinski. "I just have to really reevaluate my life now and make some changes."
Cooke was thrown in jail two days before Thanksgiving, having been arrested in July for driving without a license, then convicted and sentenced by Judge Carleton Penn to 90 days, with all but 10 days suspended. Authorities had yanked her license in 1998, branding her a "habitual offender" because of three earlier drunk-driving convictions.
According to the police report, the latest incident occurred around 11:30 p.m. July 4 in Marshall, where Cooke was chauffeuring three passengers, including her daughter, and made an illegal left turn in her Chevrolet Suburban, causing another vehicle "to swerve to avoid a collision." She had the "odor of alcohol on her breath" and refused a sobriety test at the scene, the report says. Cooke denies she had been drinking.
She said she has spent her jail time reading the Bible, helping fellow inmates mop floors and trying to avoid "Judge Judy" on the television set in her dormitory-style quarters. Fauquier Sheriff's Major David A. Flohr calls her a model inmate. But despite her car troubles, Cooke insisted she feels no kinship with the woman who replaced her as the Squire's wife, Marlene Kent Cooke, who has also been convicted of drunk driving. "I have nothing in common with her," Suzanne said. "She would be the last person in the world that I would ever speak to." Meanwhile, she has hired someone to drive her.
Hot Flashes in Hillaryland
Partisans of Hillary Rodham Clinton are in a lather over Gail Sheehy's new biography of the quasi-candidate for Senate, and White House press secretary Joe Lockhart is peeved at The Source for daring to mention a new National Enquirer expose alleging divorce talk between the first lady and President Clinton over Mrs. Clinton's budding New York campaign.
First, Sheehy, who made her reputation writing bestsellers as the minstrel of menopause: One theme in "Hillary's Choice" is that the first lady's late father, Hugh Rodham, was overly demanding and cold. As evidence, Sheehy offers the factoid that Rodham didn't attend his daughter's graduation from Wellesley College.
"Totally incorrect," New York campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson told CNN's Larry King Tuesday. "If you're going to make up . . . the fact that her father wasn't there and then create an entire scenario in which the daughter and the father don't get along . . . that's the kind of book it is." Yesterday Sheehy told us that several eyewitnesses insisted Hugh was not present, and that her repeated attempts to get a response from Wolfson and the White House were unavailing. "I feel mousetrapped," Sheehy said. "They wanted me to be wrong so they could discredit the book. . . . There are hundreds and hundreds of source notes, pinned down to a fare-thee-well."
As for the Enquirer story, the first lady's press secretary, Marsha Berry, scoffed: The president "has commented many times how proud he is of her. This is a couple who are committed to their marriage." And Lockhart scolded: "The fact that you're reporting the story makes you no different than the National Enquirer." Maybe so. The Clintons' attorney David Kendall also does libel work for the Enquirer and, from time to time, The Washington Post. "It's false that we review any articles pertaining to the president or Mrs. Clinton," Kendall told us.
THIS JUST IN . . .
* The very pregnant White House social secretary, Capricia Marshall--whose first child, a boy, is due in mid-January--is getting a very prestigious baby shower. Her boss, the first lady, has invited 300 friends to a Dec. 12 celebration in the East Room. The mother-to-be and her physician-husband, Robert Marshall, have registered for some plush baby booty, including a $200 changing table and a $330 stroller.
* Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan--who took part yesterday in World AIDS Day events at the United Nations along with Hillary Rodham Clinton, Kofi Annan and Magic Johnson--told us that the Middle East "is very much affected by the conspiracy of silence of this disease. We have to break through this barrier." Noor, whose husband, King Hussein, died of cancer in February, said she's keeping busy. "I'm continuing on the work that was always important to my husband."