People 9b 5/11

Saturday, May 11, 2002

Woman said fit for trial in Gere stalking case

NEW YORK -- A woman who allegedly has called Richard Gere as many as 1,000 times during the past year was found fit for trial and held on $5,000 bail after being charged with stalking the actor.

After undergoing a psychiatric examination, Ursula Reichert-Habbishaw, 51, of Kassell, Germany, was arraigned on charges of harassment, aggravated harassment and stalking.

Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Gregory Carro has set Reichert-Habbishaw's bail, issued a protection order for Gere, and ordered her to return to court on Thursday. She faces up to a year in jail if convicted. A misdemeanor complaint filed with the court says Gere's personal assistant, Karen Klose, had told the defendant repeatedly to stop calling.

Assistant District Attorney Robert Wallack said the messages Reichert-Habbishaw left on Gere's voice mail since February 2001 include: "I want to be with you and share your life," "Death seems to be the best," "I can take a pistol and kill myself," "I will stay with you for all time," and "I will follow you."

Wallack said Reichert-Habbishaw, who is divorced and has four children ages 16 to 22, has appeared at Gere's Manhattan office at least six times and demanded to see him, apparently after traveling from her home in Germany. The woman was arrested when she showed up at Gere's office April 30.

Reichert-Habbishaw's Legal Aid Society lawyer, Jennifer Blasser, told Carro her client was in New York because she was trying to find a job here.

Letterman moves into New York home

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. -- Forsaking his longtime Connecticut home, comedian David Letterman has moved into an 88-acre Westchester estate he bought eight years ago.

The main house, built in 1986, is 8,300 square feet and has six fireplaces, six bathrooms and an outdoor pool. It's in North Salem, not far from the Bedford home of Letterman's "Late Show" bandleader Paul Shaffer.

Letterman, who now earns $31 million a year from CBS, sold his 202-year-old New Canaan, Conn., house in October for $1.1 million.

North Salem residents reported seeing the 55-year-old talk show host shopping or jogging.

"He's not a big, happy guy in the morning," said town highway chief Drew Outhouse. "We'll all wave at him and he doesn't wave back anymore."

Ex-House speaker seeks to annul former marriage

ATLANTA -- Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is asking the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta for an annulment of his second marriage, which ended in divorce after 19 years.

Gingrich's second wife, Marianne Gingrich, said Thursday through her attorney that she learned of the request this week when she received a letter from the archdiocese.

The letter, given to The Associated Press, says the annulment request is based on the fact Marianne Gingrich was married previously.

"We were married 19 years, and now he wants to say it didn't exist," Marianne Gingrich told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The couple were divorced in April 2000, nine months after Newt Gingrich filed for divorce and acknowledged a seven-year affair with Callista Bisek, a former congressional aide. Gingrich and Bisek were married in August 2000.

"No reasons have been given to her for the annulment," said John Mayoue, Marianne Gingrich's attorney.

The couple were married in a Lutheran Church in Ohio, in August 1981 and had no involvement with the Catholic church during their marriage, Marianne Gingrich said.

-- From wire reports

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