Irvin Kovens, the long-time friend of suspended Maryland Gov. Marvin Mandel, has been dismissed as a defendant in Barbara Mandel's alimony suit against her former husband.

Kovens, who had allegedly guaranteed to back up Mandel on the alimony payments and separation agreement with his ex-wife, was dismissed from the suit by order of Circuit Court Judge James A. Perrott.

The separation of Kovens from the lawsuit apparently relieves him of the lawsuit apparently relieves him of future alimony payments in the Mandel divorce, according to an informed source.

perrott signed the order Thursday at the request of Barbara Mandel's attorney, Thomas C. Beach."It does simplify the case, Beach said yesterday. "Half the case is all that's left to argue when it goes to trial."

The trial, scheduled for June 19 will decide how much money Barbara Mandel should receive for legal fees and costs of her court action.

When she filed the suit last year, she said Mandel owed her $28,000 in back alimony payments and about $12,000 more for legal costs.

In February, Perrott ordered Mandel to pay his former wife $28,125 for back alimony and insurance payments. Mandel admitted in court papers that he owed Barbara the money, but said he could not afford to pay.

Barbara Mandel had also filed the suit against Kovens, saying she had refused to move out of the Governor's Mansion in Annapolis until the influential political figure and multi-millionaire had agreed to back up their alimony and separation agreement.

Kovens said in court papers that he had never guaranteed to make the $1,562.50 per month payments if Mandel could not meet them.

Kovens, Mandel and four other business associates were convicted of mail fraud in federal court here last August for a scheme to hide the ownership of race tracks in Maryland while Mandel, who was then governor, was receiving secret benefits from them.

Kovens could not be reached to discuss his dismissal from the divorce action.