The salacious details of Chris Rock's model-smearing exploits with Anthony Pellicano were front-and-center at the disgraced PI's wiretapping trial this morning, when the comic took the stand for less than an hour. It was barely the most appealing Pellicano morsel in Variety today, in fact, with arguably the year's greatest headline — Weiner Gets Served in Pellicano Case — announcing the Huffington Post reporter Allison Hope Weiner's temporary restraining order yesterday outside the courtroom.
Rumblings from the inner sanctum of the CAA Death Star hint that co-pilots Kevin Huvane and Bryan Lourd are taking an early lunch today to plot an legal attack of wonderfully (if predictably) bloodthirsty ferocity. Their target: Who else? CAA emperor emeritus Michael Ovitz, whose misadventures with Anthony Pellicano upon returning to the agent game almost 10 years ago reportedly involved wiretapping the old joint for a not-so-subtle stab at talent poaching:
The Anthony Pellicano saga accidentally became interesting again when a disgruntled hedge-funder testifying Tuesday in the private investigator's wiretapping trial recounted that one time Pellicano offered to whack a producer who ran off with his money. After a $1.1 million investment with talent agent-turned-producer Aaron Russo resulted in exactly no movies and a full year of Russo's evasions, Exis Capital owner Adam Sender turned to Pellicano upon lawyer Bert Fields' recommendations. After the jump, a courtroom report in The NY Times and phone recordings at The Huffingon Post reveal how that could have gone better.
· Yesterday, we promised you a brainmeltingly awesome new thing, and dare we say, you got it. We only wished the entire episode could have existed inside the cat-pee-induced, hallucinatory world of Heavy South Metal Park [South Park]
· HuffPo's Allison Hope Weiner, who's dutifully provided us with every juicy tidbit to emerge from the Pellicano trial thusfar, may be subpoenaed by the defense. That could transform her into the Hollywood Wiretapping Trial of the Century's own Judith Miller, Patron Saint of Source Protection. [THR ESQ.]
· Will Paul Giamatti's next role as a U.S politician require him to wipe his ass with the historical document John Adams helped create? [Vulture]
· As Kate Bosworth giggled with Paul Shaffer, UTA wept. [DHD]
· If you live in the Hills, a blog called The Daily Coyote isn't something you'd likely need or want. For everyone else: Look! Coyotes! Daily! [The Daily Coyote]
The Bert Fields Chronicles. Chapter the Third: The Fifth Amendmenting: HuffPo's Allison Hope Weiner stands by the story she broke about Scary Hollywood Lawyer Bert Fields taking the Fifth at the Pellicano trial. Standing in direct conflict to Fields's rep's statement to us that Fields had not received so much as a Hanukkah card from the government "in five years," Weiner reports that prosecutor Daniel Saunders "said again this afternoon that the government had been notified by Mr. Fields' counsel of his intent to take the Fifth Amendment if called to testify." Saunders added that "Mr. Fields invocation of the 5th would be improper because the statute of limitations has long run on any of Mr. Pellicano's alleged crimes with respect to Bert Fields." [HuffPo]
We just got off the phone with Lonnie Soury, a rep for Greenberg Glusker Fields, who tells us there's nothing to HuffPo's report that Bert Fields would be taking the Fifth at the Pellicano trial. Soury tells us that "Bert has not talked to the government in five years," that he has "not been called as a witness," and that if he is, "he will testify. He won't be taking the Fifth. He has nothing to hide...That comes from Bert himself." Where, then, did HuffPo reporter Allison Hope Weiner get the idea that Fields would be taking the Fifth? According to Deadline Hollywood Daily's own "Extra! Extra! Bert Fields Has Nothing to Hide!" story, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Saunders told the judge at a pre-trial hearing today that "one of our witnesses" would plead the Fifth. A Pellicano attorney asked who, and Saunders replied, "Bert Fields." Developing...
A round-up of several delicious developments in the Anthony Pellicano Wiretapping Trial of the Century:
· The biggest news by far is that the Scary Hollywood Lawyer at the center of this sordid affair, Bert Fields, has invoked the Fifth Amendment's protection against self-incrimination. Unfortunately for Fields, no amount of scarily worded cease-and-desists printed on firm letterhead and delivered by Krav Maga-trained assassin-couriers will serve to lessen the culpability implied by such a bold legal action. [HuffPo]
UPDATE: Bert Fields will not be taking the Fifth, and "has nothing to hide," a rep tells us.
Speaking as someone who once had his own life threatened by a fairly powerful, decidedly unhappy source, I particularly empathize today with Anita Busch, the former star trade reporter whose receipt of a dead fish, a rose and a note screaming "STOP" foisted the Anthony Pellicano investigation horror on an unwitting Hollywood nearly six years ago. Rapidly approaching her testimony date in the Pellicano trial, Busch granted a rare interview in a NY Times profile that is about the biggest bummer we've read since, well, maybe ever:
There was little that could have come from Brad Grey's testimony at the Anthony Pellicano trial today that would have matched the sensationalism of the last bombshell to emerge from this ongoing saga of backdoor Hollywood intrigue—i.e., the Chris Rock: Accused Rapist tapes. Still, there was plenty of opportunity for another Moment, the diminutive studio emperor having a sizable axe to grind with Garry Shandling, who pulled no punches on the stand in a brutally frank testimony against his former manager. (It would surely have included some waterworks had the Larry Sanders Show star not years ago had his face pulled tighter than a conga drum, effectively sealing every one of his above-the-neck mucus membranes tighter than Tutankhamen's tomb.) As it turns out, Grey did not use the opportunity to take some public jabs at his nemesis, instead delivering straightforward statements relieving himself of all knowledge of Pellicano's shadowy surveillance methods:
Maybe this Anthony Pellicano trial isn't as hopelessly bereft of A-list manure-flinging as we had initially thought. Just a day after Garry Shandling's bitterly frank testimony about former manager Brad Grey—which so riled the Paramount Emperor that the planned The Love Guru ice cream social was cancelled with a company-wide e-mail instructing staffers to, "Go enjoy a cup of Garry Shandling's steaming, fudge-covered horseshit instead"—comes something even better: A tape, which prosecutors say was made by Pellicano and obtained by The Huffington Post, containing a 31-minute conversation between Chris Rock and the private investigator. Rock secured Pellicano's services after the then-separated comedian engaged in a brief fling with what he describes as "a girl with big tits and white pants" back in 1998, who then turned around and accused him of rape. (Interesting side note: He took her to a dinner party at Guy Oseary's house attended by Madonna and Elisabeth Shue!) The charges were ultimately found to be bogus, and were never officially filed.
Comedian Chris Rock features prominently in a recording being used against Hollywood private detective Anthony Pellicano in his trial for wiretapping and racketeering and posted at midnight by the Huffington Post. In it, Rock and Pellicano discuss allegations from a woman Rock once slept with while separated from his wife, who accused him of fathering her child (proven false) and raping her (charges never pressed, hew own lawsuit later dropped). The audio sheds light on the tactics Pellicano used on behalf of showbiz clients like Rock, and includes Pellicano saying things to Rock like, " I want to make [the rape accuser] out to being a lying, scumbag, manipulating, cocksucker, so that all that could ever come back to her is that." The Post is already on the story. A summary of the dialog between Pellicano and Rock, including audio highlights, after the jump.
If the old adage about the lawyer who represents himself having a fool for a client is true, then Anthony Pellicano's cross-examination today of Garry Shandling at his own trial (Underwhelming Hollywood with Nothing of Juicy Significance Since 2002™) was like the Comedy Store main room. When asked by the court what he does for a living, Deadline Hollywood Daily reports, Shandling responded, "That's a bad sign. I'm a comedian." To which the judge responded, "Not to me you're not." (To which the entire jury snapped in unison and remarked, "Ooooooh girl.") Shandling was there in connection with a long-running feud with onetime manager Brad Grey over lost earnings from his The Larry Sanders Show deal, during which Scary Hollywood Lawyer Bert Fields, a regular subscriber to Pellicano's eavesdropping services, allegedly used the P.I. to tap Shandling's calls. From DHD's courtroom report:
It's hard to believe it's taken six years for the Feds to bring their case against wiretapper-to-the-stars Anthony Pellicano to court. Along the way, the promise of dirt the likes of which Hollywood has never seen was dangled before us like a Sprinkles cupcake lowered by fishing line in front of Kirstie Alley, only to then be cruelly snapped away: The investigation turned up nothing juicier than some false statements made to the FBI by Die Hard director John McTiernan, regarding his hiring of Pellicano to tap his Rollerball producing partner's phone conversations. (He said he didn't, but it turns out he did. Oopsies!)
Director John McTiernan, of Die Hard, Predator, and paying Anthony Pellicano to illegally wiretap his Rollerball producing partner fame, was today sentenced to four months in jail after a judge decided not to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea based on his new attorney's attempted "my client was too jet-lagged/drunk/medicated to know what he was saying when that FBI agent grilled him" defense, according to the LAT:
At least, that's what lawyer Bert Fields said when he announced yesterday afternoon that our favorite golden-gina'd battleaxe is going to sue the Jew cabal at HarperCollins for wrongful termination. He also contradicts HarperCollins lawyer Mark Jackson's assertions about the content of the phone conversation that prompted Regan's firing, and implied that he may have a tape of the conversation. "They should worry about that," Variety quotes him as saying.
Fox News Channel plans on supplementing its regular, round-the-clock fake news coverage with a still-untitled "Daily Show for conservatives," which the network hopes will finally provide them with a much-needed forum for taking shots at liberals. Next on the FNC development slate-of-mirrors: a Colbert Report knock-off starring a comically delusional blowhard. [Variety]
Nielsen studies iPod users' viewing habits, discovers that most people don't use their devices to watch video downloads, perhaps finding the experience of squinting through an episode of Lost on a three-inch screen not as desirable as Apple had once hoped. [THR]
· Var reports on how your favorite supermodels (Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Padma Lakshmi) have overcome their perfect genes and fabulous racks to find great success hosting popular television shows. [Variety]
Fox Searchlight picks up the dark comedy Bonzai Shadowhands, which Rainn Wilson is writing as a starring vehicle for himself in which he'll play "a once-great ninja living a life of mediocrity." Whatever they gave him, he deserves three million more. [THR]
Imprisoned P.I. Anthony Pellicano writes a "guest column" for Variety (if your definition of guest column is reprinting an excerpt from a book of essays) "stating his case." But unlike OJ Simpson, he seems unwilling to go the "If I wanted to conduct illegal wiretaps of various Hollywood figures, this is how I would have done it" route, seriously reducing the piece's news value. [Variety]
The LAT is reporting that former Times and THR reporter Anita Busch has named Michael Ovitz, erstwhile Most Powerful Man In Hollywood and current Most Powerful Man Being Upgraded From An Anonymous Name In A Civil Action Today, in her lawsuit alleging that wiretap-happy PI Anthony Pellicano attempted to intimidate her on behalf of those unhappy with her entertainment industry reporting, giving the former superagent a profile-rising bump from the quiet indignity of previously being known only as "Doe 4." Says the Times:
Hollywood Interrupted recently published a chapter from a "book-in-progress" by Anthony Pellicano-heavy/gay porn producer/general skeazebag-about-town Paul Barresi. In it, Barresi writes of the time a gay hustler known as Big Red approached him between takes on a porn set, offering up many anecdotes of lusty, same-sex encounters with paying celebrities, most notably among them a detailed account of a wrestling mat tryst with Tom Cruise. (The chapter is here, though you'll find yourself rummaging under the kitchen sink for industrial solvents and SOS pads to scrub yourself with once you're done.) The Scoop approached Scary Hollywood Lawyer Bertram "Bert" Fields for his response: