The district attorney overseeing the investigation into Christa Worthington’s murder has been asked by the victim’s kin to remove himself from the case, but the state attorney general’s office has said the district attorney will remain in place.

Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe has come under fire for sharing crime scene photos and detailed information and for making condescending remarks about the victim in Maria Flook’s “Invisible Eden: A Story of Love and Murder on Cape Cod,” which hits bookstores today and has reignited media interest in the case, including a story in the Sunday Styles section of The New York Times. Worthington was found stabbed in her home in Truro, Mass., last year with her unharmed toddler daughter nearby. WWD reported on May16 that the family was upset about the book and was trying to block its publication.

This story first appeared in the June 24, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

During a phone interview Friday, Flook, who portrays O’Keefe unfavorably at times, stood by him and said he should continue to head up the investigation. “I think he’s a professional prosecutor. He spoke in the vernacular with me because he spent many hours with me,” she said. “He wasn’t professional 24-7 with me but I did admire him [for his work].” She denied speculation the two became romantically involved. “I never felt he was vile,” said Flook. “He was actually kind of cute. But it wasn’t going anywhere. It wasn’t happening, baby.”

Flook has refuted O’Keefe’s claim that they had a deal they would exchange information, provided nothing was published for a year. O’Keefe could not be reached for comment.

A spokeswoman for state attorney general Thomas Reilly said Friday, “If and when the crime is solved, the district attorney has agreed to review the evidence at that time with the attorney general and to confer with him about the appropriate forum in which to prosecute the case.”

Monica Kraft, the attorney for some Worthington family members and Amyra and Cliff Chase, who have custody of Christa Worthington’s daughter, said they “strongly believe O’Keefe has compromised the integrity of the investigation and future prosecution of Christa’s murder.” The Worthingtons and Tony Jackett, the married man who fathered Worthington’s child and has been interviewed by police, are looking into taking legal action against Flook and/or Random House for what they claim are inaccuracies in the book. Flook has written some passages as if she were Worthington, although the author claims she never had access to Worthington’s journals since these were taken away as police evidence. Contrary to published reports, which claim Worthington’s neighbor and former boyfriend Tim Arnold, who discovered the body, was the only suspect to have his conversations with Flook recorded, Flook said she taped interviews with several subjects.

As for any potential lawsuits from the family, Flook said, “I don’t have too much concern about that at all.” — Rosemary Feitelberg

SURREAL SIMPLE: The top brass at Time Inc. flirted with having Real Simple’s Carrie Tuhy keep her editor’s letter through the fall, but the plan apparently got nixed. Coming in the August issue is Tuhy’s final letter to her readers before she moves upstairs. And by the way, it’s not a demotion, she says. Really — she even uses brackets. “It’s time for me to move on,” Tuhy writes. “As the newly promoted editorial director of Real Simple [see masthead, this issue], I will still write for the magazine, but the majority of my time will be spent interpreting its real wisdom and simple tips for new formats: books, special issues, the Internet. Who knows what else? TV? T-shirts? [I can see it now: a classic Petit Bateau T-Shirt printed with the saying ‘The Balanced Life Is Not WORTH LIVING’]. And I will continue to put into use what I’ve learned in my all too-too-brief but seemingly endless time as editor….Now where’s the dental floss? I think I’ll have a slice of Brie.” — Jacob Bernstein

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