Dan Gross: Supreme achievement for local lawyers

Posted: July 21, 2010

LOCAL ATTORNEYS Michael Banks and Gordon Cooney, of Morgan, Lewis & Backius, LLP, are taking their case to the Supreme Court. John Thompson's case.

The Supreme Court in October will hear an appeal by the New Orleans District Attorney's Office, which was ordered to pay $14 million to Thompson, who was wrongfully convicted of murder and imprisoned for 18 years.

The attorneys' work is covered in a book about Thompson's saga, "Killing Time: An 18-year Odyssey from Death Row to Freedom," which author John Hollway signs at 6:30 tonight at Borders (1149 E. Lancaster) in Bryn Mawr. Banks and Gordon also will speak at tonight's signing.

In 2003, Banks and Cooney proved that the New Orleans D.A. had withheld evidence in order to convict Thompson, who spent 14 years on death row. In 2006 Cooney and Banks optioned film rights of their story to Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, but the movie never happened.

Since his release, Thompson has founded Resurrection After Exoneration, to help exonerated or released inmates in New Orleans.

"Killing Time," which Hollway, a former attorney at Morgan, Lewis, wrote with Ronald Gauthier, is published by Skyhorse.

Bravo's Bethenny here

"Real Housewives of New York" star Bethenny Frankel signs bottles of her Skinnygirl Margarita from 5 to 7 tomorrow night at the state store at Franklin Mills. Frankel, who has her own Bravo series - "Bethenny Getting Married?" - created the cocktail because she wanted to make a lower-calorie, natural, ready-to-drink margarita. Skinnygirl samples will be offered. The 750-ml bottle sells for $13.99.

Out and about

_ Anna Kournikova talked about injuries and rehabbing with Flyers forward Ville Leino - who is on crutches after recent surgery - last night at the Pavilion at Villanova, where she took part in a World Team Tennis event. She had to shell out $300 for a cab from the airport to Villanova after her driver locked the keys in the limo.

_ Extreme singer Gary Cherone dined Saturday at the Sofitel's Chez Colette with "The Barrel of a Gun" filmmaker Tigre Hill, producer Violet Mendoza and Maureen Faulkner, widow of slain police officer Daniel Faulkner.

Hill's film is about the controversy surrounding Faulkner's 1981 murder and his convicted killer, Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Cherone, Hill and Faulkner went to the Irish Pub (20th & Walnut) after dinner to sign copies of the movie's poster, which will be auctioned off Sept. 21 at the film's Merriam Theater premiere. Cherone and Hill shot a video Sunday for one of the songs that Cherone contributed to the film.

After Sunday's hot day of shooting, Cherone and Hill dined at Raw (1225 Sansom), where the rocker, who briefly also fronted Van Halen, signed autographs.

* "Extra!" and "America's Best

Dance Crew" host Mario Lopez spent the weekend at the Borgata in Atlantic City, which celebrated its 7th anniversary. Lopez, best known as A.C. Slater from "Saved by the Bell," worked out at the Immersion Spa's Fitness Center before dining at Bobby Flay Steak with his future brother-in-law. The guys then went to mur.mur, where Lopez pal DJ Eric Cubeechee, former fiance of actress Jaime Pressly, was spinning. Lopez and pregnant fiancee Courtney Mazza got a cake from Borgata pastry chef Thaddeus DuBois to congratulate them on the upcoming delivery. The couple will be featured on a VH1 reality show this fall.

Radio bigs honored

Both 93.3 WMMR and host Pierre Robert are up for big honors at the National Association of Broadcasters' Marconi Radio Awards Sept. 30 in Washington. Robert is named in the Major Market Personality of the Year category, while 'MMR, where he's worked since 1981, is up for Rock Station of the Year. 98.1 WOGL is up for Best Oldies Station at the Marconis.

JimmyStyle says sayonara

Stylist Jimmy Contreras will be closing his JimmyStyle (1820 E. Passyunk) boutique July 30. The home-decor and gift store is the sixth business to close in recent months within a small stretch of Passyunk Avenue.

"I worked hard to make people believe this neighborhood is the next great thing. It's great for restaurants and bars, but not for retail," Contreras said yesterday.

He'll stay busy working as street-style reporteron Philadelphia magazine's Phillymag. com and with his partner, Matthew Vlahos, on his food and fashion PR firm. JimmyStyle merchandise is 50 percent off from July 27-30.

Visit PhillyGossip.com for Dan's latest updates or follow PhillyGossip on Twitter. Have a tip? Call 215-854-5963, or e-mail grossd@phillynews.com. For recent columns, visit go.philly.com/dangross.

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