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#1 2002 X5

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 02:08 PM

April 18, 2006 -- She never had to work a day in her life, but this transsexual is no lady - she manhandled her 84-year-old mom in a bid to wring more money out of her, a prosecutor said yesterday.

Diane Wells, 52, is to go on trial today for allegedly attacking her mother, South African heiress Constance Cheney, inside their Central Park West apartment in May, grabbing and twisting the older woman's arm so hard, she broke it.

Prosecutor Michael Kabakoff told Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Ellen Coin that it wasn't the only time Wells roughed up her mom.

"The mother has described to me incidents of physical and emotional abuse where defendant blew cigarette smoke in victim's face during an argument over money and pushed the victim backward into a wall where her head hit a picture frame," Kabakoff said.

The prosecutor made the comments just before jury selection was to start.

"They're making up all this nonsense about me," Wells, who was decked out in a dark suit and sunglasses, griped to the judge.

Wells' lawyer, Mel Sachs, said it's his client who's the victim - and that her mom has been turned against her by a brother who's hoping to get the family's fortune.

Kabakoff told Coin that Wells is the greedy one - and that she attacked her mom because she'd refused to name Wells sole beneficiary.

Cheney is also suing Wells, charging the daughter bullied her into naming her a co-owner of the 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom apartment Cheney's lived in for the past 50 years.

Wells, who was born Jonathan Cheney but underwent a sex change at age 21, "had vanished from her mother's life for approximately 15 years" when she suddenly resurfaced in 1991, the suit says.

That's when she called her mom to say she'd run through the hundreds of thousands of dollars in her trust fund and had "nowhere else to go."

Cheney, "immediately took her in," which the suit says was "among the worst decisions of her life."

The daughter "commenced a campaign of violence, menacing, manipulation, coercion and increasing cruelty" to wrest control of her mom's finances, the suit says.

The friction came to a head on May 10, when Wells was blowing smoke into Cheney's face while yelling at her about the will, the suit says.

When Cheney tried to shield her eyes, Wells - who has a man's strength - "grabbed Mrs. Cheney's arm and wrenched it with such force that the arm broke," the suit says.

Wells was later arrested - but not before she allegedly helped herself to $1 million worth of the mom's jewels, the suit says.

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