Peter Cook and his former teen paramour testify about the affair that ended his marriage

By Oliver Jones and Kathy Ehrich Dowd
Updated July 02, 2008 03:45 PM
Credit: Lisa Mauceri/INF (2)

Christie Brinkley and Peter Cook’s divorce trial kicked off on Wednesday with immediate fireworks, including a tearful breakdown by Cook on the witness stand.

In opening statements, the model’s lawyer Robert Stephan Cohen portrayed her estranged husband, 49, as a chronic philanderer and an abuser of Internet pornography whose habit cost the couple $3,000 a month. Meanwhile, his lawyer described Brinkley, 54, as a woman so consumed with anger that she is turning their children against him.

Brinkley’s lawyer called Cook as the first witness in the case. Under questioning in a Long Island courtroom, Cook testified about the affair he had with his then-teenage assistant, Diana Bianchi, who has been subpoenaed to testify in the case. The affair lasted “less than a year,” he said.

Cook, who has admitted paying Bianchi to keep quiet about the relationship, said in court that he began leaving money for Bianchi shortly after their affair started in 2005. In one instance, the architect left cash under a rock outside his office and another time behind a small painting called “Zeus” inside his office.

Cook also admitted sending an email to Bianchi that was submitted as evidence. “I don’t know – you’ve put me under your spell,” read the email in part. “You’ve never asked me but I left you money … I want to see you again.”

In another email Cook admitted to sending in June 2006, he asked Bianchi to lie to cover up the affair. He was emotional on the stand, at one point breaking down in tears during cross-examination by his attorney.

Later in the day, Bianchi, 21, testified that Cook had given her $15,000 for a down payment on a new Nissan Maxima and said they had sex “less than 10 times.” Looking petite in a white ruffled shirt, fitted gray skirt and heels, Bianchi remained composed on the stand but got teary as she left the courtroom.