When, during a particularly harrowing part of the proceedings, Lana Clarkson's mother, Donna, was reduced to tears, Dunne reached forward to rest a comforting hand on her shoulder, the only person in court to truly understand how she was feeling. Dunne, who at 82 has lived by himself since the break-up of his marriage in the mid-1960s, divides his time between a small apartment in Manhattan and a country home in Connecticut, half an hour's drive from the city of Hartford, where he was born.
The Connecticut home is an exquisite colonial-style clapboard house, the back garden sloping down to a wetlands conservancy, where a stream meanders through high grasses.
He is usually to be found there two or three times a week, always at the same table, where he can see, and be seen by, everybody who walks in.
As we ate (Dunne's order is always the same: the chef's salad and a Diet Coke) a steady stream of people made their way to his table to slap hands and exchange a few words of greeting – a television executive, a publishing big-shot, a high-powered agent.
Across the room, a table had been set for 12, and the hum of restaurant conversation missed a beat when the guest of honour arrived. As is so often the case with Dunne, a man who subtitled his memoirs Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper, there is a story here. He and Reagan go back to a time 'before politics', as he puts it, when she was plain Nancy Davis, a jobbing actress, and Dunne was a Hollywood television producer whose boss was forever nagging him to give Reagan a job.
Morgan responded with a palimony suit, including a deposition that included sordid details of Bloomingdale's appetite for S&M.But it is for his reporting of high-profile criminal trials that he is most renowned.In his coverage of the trials of Claus von Bulow, OJ Simpson, the Menendez brothers, William Kennedy Smith and Michael Jackson, Dunne has pioneered a unique style of reportage, offering a dramatic rendering of the criminal trial as a mixture of legal process, high theatre and social event, shaping a narrative in which he invariably plays a central part.('I'm a Democrat.') Seated with Nancy was her best friend – and a friend of Dunne's – Betsy, the widow of Alfred Bloomingdale, the department store and credit-card magnate, who was one of Ronald Reagan's 'kitchen cabinet'.For 12 years Alfred had a mistress – a sexual adventuress named Vicki Morgan – whom he maintained in lavish style.On a sofa is a pillow in needlepoint with the legend, I NEVER REPEAT GOSSIP – SO LISTEN CAREFULLY.