Jeanine took a job in the D.A.'s office, and Al set out to become the county's most politically connected attorney. Gradually, Al Pirro built a power base that would rival his wife's. If a deep-pocket developer, like Trump, Viacom, or ITT, wanted to build in Westchester, Al was the man to see. He could move controversial projects, like the $165 million Westchester mall in White Plains, through finicky public boards. "He's incredibly intelligent and effective," says Trump. "There's no one like him up there." Equally important, Pirro could be relied on to raise tens of thousands of dollars for Republican campaigns -- including his wife's. "Al has been a tremendous supporter of Jeanine and this party," says Spano. "He's helped plenty of people for a long time."
Together, the Pirros have also helped themselves to a life of luxury. They traveled to Italy to handpick the terra-cotta-hued marble that fills their home. "The marble's everywhere, on the spiral stairs, the walls, the floors," says one friend. "It looks like something out of Scarface." With friends like Carl Portale, the publisher of Elle magazine, the couple and their two children, Christi, 13, and Alex, 10, vacationed in the Caribbean and spent New Year's at the Pirros' home in West Palm Beach. "They are both high-powered people who go after what they want," says Portale. "They have a great deal of love and affection for each other and their children and their friends."
The Pirros wear their success with what one friend calls a nouveau riche flash. "She is someone who loves the spotlight," says longtime friend and local radio talk-show host William O'Shaughnessy. "And the spotlight loves her. She comes to the studio and the guys here all drool over her." And for good reason. Pirro is in top shape.
"Sexy as hell" is the way Trump puts it. She works out on a treadmill every morning at six. And she has traded the high hair for a soft, layered look with a blunt back and blonde highlights. Her nose is also noticeably thinner. She's taking her makeup cues from Larry King's makeup artist, because she loves how she looks on the show. And "she loves to wear nice clothes," says Bonnie Pressman, a longtime friend and the former women's fashion director at Barneys, who now holds the same position at Ralph Lauren. "She works very hard at keeping herself together. That's very central to who she is."
The couple has thrown $5,000-a-plate cocktail fund-raisers at their home, inviting political luminaries like Pataki and Al D'Amato. For close friends, they've hosted lavish -- and outlandish -- parties. A few years ago, a Mexican-themed cookout drew 500 people, including Trump's daughters, Ivanka and Tiffany. Guests passed a horse grazing on the front lawn, danced to a mariachi band by the pool, and found dozens of disposable cameras in a wicker basket. "Jeanine is there in this Miss Kitty bustier and black fishnet stockings and high heels dancing the Macarena," says one friend. "The woman is a fox, but I say, 'Jeanine, if you ever run for governor, you're gonna have to buy back all these pictures.' She says, 'Do I care?' "
The night before Jeanine Pirro took the reins as district attorney on January 1, 1994, a Bronxville man named Scott Douglas took a claw hammer and bashed his wife's skull in. Then he drove to the Tappan Zee Bridge and disappeared, leaving his car running in the third lane. The murder of Anne Scripps Douglas, an heiress to the Scripps newspaper fortune, shocked Westchester and led to an international manhunt. The made-for-TV murder mystery drew camera crews from around the world. And Jeanine Pirro, New York's foremost domestic-violence expert, was ready for them. In tailored suits and heavy eyeliner, she would dominate the nightly news stories while her words spilled forth in the daily tabloids. By the time Scott Douglas's body surfaced in the Hudson River three months later, Pirro had made her mark. And just as her name began to fade from the national headlines, a man in Los Angeles took a famous televised freeway ride in a Ford Bronco, and Pirro was cast into an even bigger drama, as talking head on Nightline, Larry King, Geraldo.