Page Six   March 02, 2006  
SCANDAL HAUNTS MURPHY SPLIT
EDDIE Murphy's ongoing divorce battle could threaten to open the trannie closet from his past - particularly if information from a private eye once retained by the "Beverly Hills Cop" star falls into his estranged wife's hands.

Last August, Nicole Mitchell, Murphy's wife of 13 years, filed for divorce citing "irreconcilable differences." Our source says Mitchell, who's now being represented by Christian Slater's divorce attorney Glenn Buzard, is considering arguing that Murphy breached their prenup agreement.

If she fights the prenup, the reason may indirectly relate to the 1997 incident in which West Hollywood police questioned Murphy for driving in his car with a transvestite prostitute. The scandal, which involved a Samoan streetwalker named Atisone Suiuli, prompted several other cross-dressing hookers to sell stories to the tabloids about their alleged meetings with the actor. Murphy has denied any solicitation for sex occurred.

In Essence magazine, Mitchell recently spoke of "the incident," saying, "[Murphy] told me there was this person on the corner crying, so he stopped to help. But I'm thinking, 'Well, why the hell did you let them get in the car?' " Murphy has claimed he has "emptied" his wallet on other occasions to help out hookers.

Paul Barresi, a private detective who claims he was hired for damage control by Murphy when the scandal broke, tells Page Six: "I called [Murphy attorney] Marty 'Bull Dog' Singer and told him I could round up all the transsexuals alleging sexual dalliances with Murphy." And they would all recant their stories.

"In less than 10 days," Barresi says, "I got them all to sign sworn, videotaped depositions, stating it wasn't Murphy himself, but rather a look-alike, who they'd encountered - with the exception of Suiuli." In 1998, she fell to her death from her L.A. roof.

Asked to comment about Barresi, Singer said, "I'm not going to comment on what we did on that case. I can't comment on whether [Barresi] was retained or not. If I hire a private investigator, it is privileged information. One way or the other, the matter was resolved to our satisfaction. We sued the tabloids and a couple of the transvestites who allegedly made up these stories. And they did recant their stories."

In 1997, Murphy dropped a $5 million lawsuit against the National Enquirer for running a story told by one of the he-shes, conceding that it "did not publish its article with malice, or recklessly."

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