Remember Anthony Pellicano, the thuggish Hollywood private eye recently convicted of racketeering and wiretapping? He worked frequently with attorney Bert Fields, Fields' celebrity clients and other lawyers at Fields' firm. And he reportedly worked for Tom Cruise. But now that Pellicano is lost to the justice system, Cruise, still represented by Fields, has a private investigator named Paul Barresi defending his interests. And Barresi just did a strange thing: He provided to the Daily News federal court papers accusing Cruise of helping lead misdeeds by the Church Of Scientology, including harassment of this lovely sort:

In court papers provided to The News by investigator Paul Barresi, [ex-Scientologist Peter] Letterese claims a member of the church phoned his lawyer at home, and when the lawyer's wife answered, said he was her husband's homosexual lover.

Barresi, who has done investigative work on behalf of Cruise, tells us: "[Letterese] is just including a celebrity name to get attention."

If Cruise's man Barresi thinks alleged Scientology harassment victim Letterese is merely trying to get attention, why would he abet that process by providing documentation of his allegations to a tabloid?

Probably because, after all the video that has emerged over the past eight months, more people than ever are now primed to believe Letterese's allegation that Cruise is, in fact, something like the number two leader of the "scary" sect. Which would mean Letterese's court case, filed under the RICO statute used to prosecute mobsters, might not be ignored by the media. So Barresi is trying to get out in front of the story.

For now, that appears to involve providing some fairly benign quotes to the Daily News — an oddly limited role for an "investigator." One wonders what else Barresi has been — or will be — up to. The PI, after all, works for a man, Fields, who recently compared a celebrity doctor to Nazi sicko Joseph Goebbels after the doctor said Cruise may have been abused or neglected as a child (nevermind that Cruise actually was abused as a child). And, insofar as he is part of a triangle with Cruise and Fields, Barresi follows in the footsteps of Pellicano.

If nothing else, Barresi has signaled, by working with a tabloid, that Cruise and the Church of Scientology will treat aggressively those who seek to draw the Hollywood star and church hero in their legal battles with Scientology. And through his willingness to be identified and acknowledged in that tabloid, he signals that he wishes to be seen doing so, as well. Prospective church critics will no doubt take note.

[Daily News]