Porn Stars

How the mob sent a scary, shocking message to a British press lord

Upon his return to London, Bailey was met at the airport by three newly hired Desmond bodyguards. They drove him straight to Desmond's home, which Bailey said was guarded "like Ft. Knox." The bodyguards quizzed Bailey about the assault, but Desmond expressed little concern for his aide. The press lord told him: "You don't look so bad. Bailey, you look all right." An outraged Bailey leaped at Desmond, pinning him against a refrigerator before being hauled off by the bodyguards. "Don't be naughty," they told him.

"Don't worry, Bailey," Desmond allegedly said. "We got a legit business here. I'm not paying [Chanes's company] a penny back. He can whistle for it. Stop crying, Bailey."

That was the last time Desmond ever spoke to him, according to Bailey, who quit the company a few weeks later. Bailey never spoke publicly about the incident, but the story leaked out, and over the years, every time Desmond has made news—such as when he purchased the Express in 2000—the press has hounded Bailey to talk, though he has always declined. For his part, Desmond has always dismissed the episode as "pure fantasy." Spokesmen for the press baron have also denied that he ever met Martino, and maintain that he has "never directly, or knowingly, engaged in any business with people associated with organized crime."

John Evans, a Penthouse executive, later visited Desmond in London and asked him about it. "I think he made it up, John," Desmond told him. Evans thought that was a strange opinion, since he'd seen the injured Bailey with his own eyes. "If he made it up," he told the publisher, "he was brilliant."

Guccione, now ailing and broke, lives largely in seclusion in a portion of his 45-room townhouse which has since been sold. His wife, Kathy Keeton, died in 1997. When the FBI asked Guccione about Bailey recently he said he only vaguely remembered an incident in which one of Desmond's people, possibly Bailey, had been "beaten up." A lot of people came and went in the house in 1992, he said, and he wasn't sure if Bailey had stayed there. It "was possible," he said.

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