Tag Archives: Rupert Murdoch

Rising Sun: The Image of the Desired Japanese Part Four

(This post remains incomplete, and will be finished over the next few days.)

RISING SUN:

THE IMAGE OF THE DESIRED JAPANESE

PART ONE PART TWO PART THREE PART FOUR

INTERMISSION: I PLAY THE BUSINESSMAN

The impetus of this post was to find a conspiracy which equals that of Rising Sun, entirely real, and entirely on native soil. We perhaps have this very thing by following the life of Anthony Pellicano. Rising Sun the book, and to a far lesser degree the movie, present an alien invasion with the Japanese as alien, a secret force that somehow has co-opted the press, the police, the law, where corporate surveillance is everywhere. We have already seen all these elements in play by tracing the life of the now imprisoned detective. The tabloid press is a supposedly ruthless weapon, with the Enquirer braying endlessly on breaking the John Edwards scandal, but it’s influence appears to have been bought in the California governor’s race. Moles in the LAPD made requests and passed on vital information to Pellicano. Surveillance in movie studios is documented both in a non-fiction profile of Bert Fields, and in the fiction of the man himself. The characters in a novel about ReganBooks speak of their phones being possibly tapped, and it looks as if the head of that publishing imprint, Judith Regan, collected ten million because of a recorded phone call. This phone call was so damaging because it involved the head of Fox News, Roger Ailes, demanding that Regan lie about an affair with Bernie Kerik, then the commissioner of police, because any such scandal would hurt Kerik, and in turn, hurt Rudy Giulliani, a friend of Ailes and a man that he wanted to see win the presidency in 2008. This is not speculation, it is not fantasy. It is all well sourced, yet it unveils a world as fantastic and fascinating as that of Rising Sun where nothing is where it seems1.

This intermediary point is where we can move to a system that carries all these aspects of conspiracy – the co-opting of the police, the press, the law, private surveillance – on a far larger scale, both leaving behind Pellicano and containing him. The last fascinating character we’re left with in this part of the story is Marc Dreier, the man who ran the legal firm which Regan employed for her suit against News Corp. Dreier is a man who embodies our age, both the fallen world of the 2008 crash, and the one we live in now, a man who put on a very good act, and wasn’t at all what he seemed. He embodies our age for many reasons, so, of course he ran a ponzi scheme.

“We live in an age of white-collar villains. But of all the financial bad guys out there, Marc Dreier is arguably the single greatest character of them all,” wrote Robert Kolker in the definitive profile of this man, “The Impersonator”. Dreier was a hard-nosed tough as nails lawyer who ran a firm which he’d expand from thirty to two hundred fifty lawyers. Their clients would include Jay Leno and the rock act Wilco. Dreier owned a yacht that was over a hundred feet, an Aston Martin, and two houses in the Hamptons2. Dreier helped fund the law firm expansion by selling promissory notes – investment securities – for the projects of one of his clients, a real estate magnate named Sheldon Solow. The real estate magnate had no idea Dreier was doing this, because he’d never issued such securities. They were entirely fake, created by Dreier to bring in money for himself. Dreier and associates forged the notes, faked the signatures on the notes, faked financial statements with the Solow letterhead, and set up conference calls with themselves posing as Solow executives. This was no penny ante scheme – one hedge fund bought $60 million worth of these fake notes. The scheme went well for a while, and then it didn’t3. Once you run out of money to keep a ponzi scheme going, everything falls apart. Dreier was so short of cash, he had to sell securities just to pay the law firm’s car service bills. He missed the payment schedules for the phony securities already out there. Regan would sue Fox Corp. with the help of lawyers from Dreier’s firm in late 2007, and in January 2008 the suit would be settled. In December of that year, Dreier would be arrested in Toronto after he tried to peddle his notes by impersonating the head of an Ontario teachers pension fund. Dreier would eventually plead guilty to fraud and get twenty years4.

Regan, her lawyers, and her suit were an unrelated footnote to the Dreier wreckage, fascinating characters making cameos in each other’s plotlines. There were, however, interesting notes for those who followed the stories of Regan, Pellicano, and Fields, where your own suspicions gave each unanswered question a sinister possibility. Regan would terminate the use of her lawyers before the settlement was made. They would argue that she did so to avoid paying them, while she said that she did so with cause. The astonishing amount of the Regan settlement – a little over ten million – was discovered when a letter disclosing the amount was somehow left in the case file. Regan would charge that this violated the non-disclosure agreement of the settlement, and argued it was grounds on which the lawsuit against her by the legal team should be dismissed. Regan would allege that Dreier tried to extort money from her in exchange for keeping secret privileged information in relation to the case5. “Marc Dreier claimed Regan cheated him. It was Dreier who was attempting to cheat Regan and apparently, many others,” was the assessment. “News Corp once made false claims about Regan. They lost. Marc Dreier will lose too.” This last, I’m sorry to say, came from the sterile email of a Regan assistant, and was not said by Regan herself, before she perhaps gave off a hearty cackle, fired a machine gun in the air, and disappeared under the cover of a smoke bomb6.

Dreier’s arrest, the revelation of the settlement amount, and Regan’s call to have the suit dismissed all take place in December 2008, two weeks before Christmas. In February 2011, “Fox News Chief, Roger Ailes, Urged Employee to Lie, Records Show” by Russ Buettner is published, based on documents that were once again somehow placed in the public case file. Though Regan had earlier argued that there was no basis for the suit, she settled in that May. “We settled before the Roger Ailes article,” Regan would say. “Everyone has [sic] reached a settlement agreement in the fall. The papers were not completely signed, they had been drafted.”7 There was puzzlement on the part of Leon Neyfakh in two of his articles on the controversy, “Spurned Lawyers Sue Judith Regan For Stiffing Them on Legal Fees” and “The Office of Judith Regan on Legal Fees Lawsuit: ‘Marc Dreier Will Lose’ Just Like News Corp”, on why exactly Bert Fields was staying on as counsel when Dreier was representing her. Fields would stay on as counsel when Dreier was replaced by Joe Cotchett8.

You could look at all this as mundane back and forth with nothing beneath the surface, or turn it into a film noir where everybody had a loaded gun in their pocket. In this hypothetical vision, the documents don’t exactly end up by chance in the public file, but are there to put pressure to have the suit against Regan settled, now. Fields stays on as legal counsel because Fields is the contact point with Pellicano, and maybe it’s Pellicano who knows where the tape of the conversation between Regan and Ailes is, encrypted, hidden somewhere. “Fox News Chief, Roger Ailes, Urged Employee to Lie, Records Show” ends its piece with an interesting footnote: “After Ms. Regan fired her lawyers, a seemingly unlikely figure came forward to help settle the case: Susan Estrich, a law professor and a regular Fox commentator whose book Ms. Regan had published, according to Ms. Regan’s affidavit.” The piece, however, neglects to mention what I thought was the most important detail of Estrich: she’s a loyal and close friend of Bert Fields9. This is all speculation, and should not be seen as possessing anything like certainty. Pellicano speaks of meeting with Rupert Murdoch about something to do with Judith Regan, but Pellicano was in jail from 2002 on. They could not have literally met, not without an insane level of media frenzy over this famous jailhouse visitor, either around the time when Kerik was up for the Homeland Security nomination in December 2004 or after Regan was dismissed in 2007.

Regan is often enthusiastic and merciless in speech, except in this one area. Pellicano’s statement that he met with Murdoch over something dealing with Regan, only gets a cautious parenthetical reply, “Regan says she never introduced the two men.” You could read Pellicano’s indiscrete mentioning of this in public as more of the bragging he was well known for, or in a very specific, sinister way: don’t forget, you owe me10 In “Judith Regan’s Millionaire Match”, from December 2010, she is forthright in many things, accusing Glenn Beck of “repulsive anti-Semitism”, and equally unrestrained about Beck’s broadcaster and her former employer: “If you study the Fox News method of operation, there’s all kinds of historic anti-Semitic views and the stuff with Glenn Beck is textbook.” From the same article, the author writes of her ongoing hatred for anothr enemy: “Any mention of Murdoch is apt to provoke Regan into a lengthy and detailed indictment of the media mogul’s alleged treachery against her after she made so much money for him. I manage, with some effort, to discourage this.”11 About Dreier and her lawyers, she was equally open after she settled with them: “Marc is a world-class criminal. I accused him of forgery before he was arrested. Do you think I paid them millions of dollars? Not a chance,” she’d say. “I’m very happy with the settlement.”12 Only in one area, perhaps due to the terms of the settlement itself, would she say nothing. In an article which told of the one thing that might lure her back into the book industry, “Judith Regan Wants to Publish a Book of Charlie Sheen’s Poetry”, out one month after the revelation of a taped phone call of Roger Ailes instructing her to lie to federal investigators, the writer asks for an interview and gets the reply, “Not if it’s about Roger Ailes.13 It’s an unexpected demurral from someone who usually threw her darts so fearlessly and recklessly.

THE UNCROWNED KING

Judith Regan demonstrated the appeal and the limits of the tabloid sensibility. It was lurid and magnetic, yet it also was manichaen: either victim or villain, either the parents grieving for their missing child, or the hussy of an actress cheating on her man. Regan broke the tabloid simplicities, and you could find her fascinating in a way that tabloid would never allow, without necessarily being sympathetic. Regan has all the qualities of Meredith Johnson (the Demi Moore character of Disclosure brought up in part one of this post) – the ambition, the ruthlessness, the sexual forwardness – without ever being a simple villain. After a scene of vicious beating, the line that Moore cries out in G.I. Jane which signifies that she’s unbroken is “Suck my cock!” At her desk, Regan was known to sometimes scream out “I have the biggest cock in the building!”14 She had all the qualities that Demi Moore might have, might need to be a successful movie actress, but which could never be shown in a role without being the villain.

We might make the simple and obvious comparison between Regan as described by her former friend, Michael Wolff, in “The Trouble With Judith”,

And then there’s the sex thing. Judith is obsessed with her disadvantages as a woman—and she would reasonably point out that no man, no matter how graphic his conversation, would ever be described as advancing his career through sex. Still, Judith’s sex talk is not only unstinting, disturbing, and subversive, but also what makes her sui generis. She’s vulgar but uncommon. Powerful men—the list is long—can’t resist Judith’s vagina monologues. Perhaps because her sex talk is not just dirty but, fundamentally, about power. And control. (“What’s my secret?” she once snarled at me. “I’ll tell you my secret. I never let them come!”) To hear it is a kind of privilege of wealth. You’re in the presence of something sexually spectacular.

and Meredith Johnson’s own speech in Disclosure:

You wanna put me on trial here? Let’s at least be honest about what it’s for! I am a sexually aggressive woman. I like it. Tom knew it, and you can’t handle it. It is the same damn thing since the beginning of time. Veil it, hide it, lock it up and throw away the key. We expect a woman to do a man’s job, make a man’s money, and then walk around with a parasol and lie down for a man to fuck her like it was still a hundred years ago? Well, no thank you.

The Meredith Johnson of the movie is something closer to an actual character, rather than the simple effigy of the book, where she is an executive who is designed only to be hated, not only sexually avaricious, but an incompetent fool as well. The book has the simplicities of tabloid, without being honest enough that that’s what it’s trying to do, dressing it all up in a serious issue about sexual discrimination. One of Regan’s major adversaries while heading up ReganBooks was Janet Friedman, the head of parent publisher Harper Collins, and though Regan took the fall for the O.J. Simpson book, If I did it, it was a project with the backing and enthusiasm of Friedman and Murdoch. This desire for something squalid, without being able to admit the desire, underlies Disclosure, and it feels like an obvious symmetry that Crichton and Friedman were close friends15.

Tabloid gave you this limited vision, and sometimes you only wanted this limited vision, but whether or not you wanted it, tabloid was everywhere. “I used to say to people, ‘Everything is going to become the National Enquirer,’ and it did,” said Regan in the nineties. “Everything became the National Enquirer, including what I do now. What I do now is a version of the National Enquirer.” She explained her motives for going on Millionaire Matchmaker: “I did it because it’s so ridiculous and so outrageous—but all of life is that way now. That’s the way the culture is. That’s the way everything is.”16 Her ex-boss, Rupert Murdoch, knew this as well as she, knew that tabloidization wasn’t your choice, it was theirs, and their choices mattered, not yours. Murdoch, the capo di tutti capi, knew what Anthony Pellicano knew, that it didn’t matter if you were the victim or the villain, the family grieving for their missing girl, or the hussy actress, because the result was the same: you were the quarry, in our sights and on our tapes, either ways.

(This post remains incomplete, and will be finished over the next few days. A few minor aesthetic edits were made, along with additional footnotes and footnote material added on October 29th.)

THE WAR AT HOME

THE IMAGE OF THE DESIRED JAPANESE

RISING SUN:

THE IMAGE OF THE DESIRED JAPANESE

PART ONE PART TWO PART THREE PART FOUR

FOOTNOTES

1 The point about the National Enquirer and Schwarzenegger is brought up in part two of this piece. The points on Kerik, the secret recording, surveillance in Hollywood and ReganBooks are in part three. The essential story which unveiled the collusion of Schwarzenegger and AMI, the parent company of the Enquirer and the Globe, which is still too little known is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach. The essential story on the Kerik tape is the one that broke it, “Fox News Chief, Roger Ailes, Urged Employee to Lie, Records Show” by Russ Buettner.

2 From “The Impersonator” by Robert Kolker, on the expansion of the firm:

In 2003, Dreier took his small firm of 30 lawyers and rechristened it Dreier LLP. It was an odd time to embark on an expansion. Not only had his partner just left him, but Dreier had cash-flow problems.

Whether Dreier expanded his firm to make money to pay the interest on his phony notes or sold his phony notes so that he could expand his firm is an open question. What’s clear is that the firm grew dramatically. Dreier lured away entire departments from other shops, establishing practices in everything from bankruptcy and tax law to sports licensing and entertainment, and bringing the firm’s total number of lawyers to more than 250. With the new acquisitions came high-profile clients, such as Jay Leno, Wilco, and Michael Strahan.

On Dreier’s aggressive, ambitious character from “The Impersonator” by Robert Kolke:

“He was the type of guy who would do anything a client asked if it was in his interest,” says Kevin Smith, a lawyer who faced Dreier in court many times. “Everybody draws a line at some point. But this guy, he would do anything. Every courthouse, he’d pull up in a limo. He had suits that were cut, watches, jewelry. He was nasty, very aggressive, and contentious. He treated me like I didn’t exist.”

3 From “The Impersonator” by Robert Kolker, on the details of the scheme:

Dreier had been running similar scams with different marks, prosecutors say, since 2004. Dreier would allegedly contact an investment fund like Eton Park, Fortress, GSO Capital, Westford Global Asset Management, Perella Weinberg, and, before it went under, Amaranth and say that his client, Sheldon Solow, was trying to finance his real-estate projects by borrowing money with promissory notes. Dreier wasn’t a financier; he was a lawyer. But he would tell people he was working as a marketing agent for his client Solow’s securities. Solow, it appears, knew nothing about what Dreier called the “note program,” but that didn’t stop Dreier from sending along various offering materials—information about Solow, phony notes and financial statements on fake letterhead from Solow’s auditing firm, e-mails that he said had been issued by Solow, and so on. Dreier and his accomplices forged the notes themselves, complete with the fake signatures of Solow executives. If anyone asked to meet someone in the Solow organization, Dreier would arrange conference calls with people posing as Solow executives. He set up phone lines at his law firm. He created fake e-mail addresses. He kept hard-to-trace, no-contract cell phones—“burners” like Tony Soprano used—in a box in his office. Last July, Dreier diversified beyond his Solow strategy, selling $52 million in phony notes he said were issued by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. He used part of the proceeds to pay interest on some of the Solow notes he’d already sold.

4 From “The Impersonator” by Robert Kolker, on Dreier’s capture:

On December 3, the phone rang in the comptroller’s office of Dreier LLP. It was Dreier, calling from Toronto. He’d been arrested for criminal impersonation. Someone at the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund had alerted the police moments after Dreier was caught pretending to be Michael Padfield, and someone, either the police or a representative of the fund, had reached Dreier on his phone before his plane took off. Dreier agreed to turn himself in. “He was obviously a beaten-down man,” a Dreier LLP source says. “His voice was gravelly, desperate. He said he did wrong, he’d ruined his life and career, and he’d try to make up for it.”

From “Lawyer Gets 20 Years in $700 Million Fraud” by Benjamin Weissr:

Marc S. Dreier, once a high-flying New York lawyer who orchestrated an elaborate fraud scheme that bilked hedge funds and other investors of $700 million, was sentenced on Monday to 20 years in prison by a judge who rejected the government’s request for a much longer sentence.

5 From “Regan Seeks Dismissal of Dreier Suit Over Disclosure (Update1)” by Patricia Hurtado:

Judith Regan, who sued over her 2006 firing from News Corp.’s HarperCollins unit, is seeking the dismissal of a legal fee lawsuit by her former attorneys, arguing their alleged disclosure of her $10.75 million settlement with the publishing house violated a nondisclosure agreement.

The confidential amount was included in a letter that was left in the case file. In it, lawyers from Dreier LLP, a New York firm, complained they were being given insufficient data about the accord to pursue their lawsuit. Marc Dreier, the firm’s namesake, was charged yesterday by federal prosecutors with directing an unrelated $100 million fraud.

Dreier’s firm sued Regan in March, accusing her of firing them to avoid paying fees from the January settlement with the publisher. Regan’s lawyers, who declined to confirm or deny the settlement amount, filed court papers today seeking the suit’s dismissal, claiming Dreier used Bloomberg.com, the Web site of Bloomberg News, to disclose the amount of the News Corp. accord.

In her motion today, Regan said she fired Dreier LLP for cause in December 2007 after Dreier and his firm allegedly “engaged in conduct that caused her seriously to question their competence and whether they were complying with the fiduciary duties they owed her as a client.”

6 From “The Office of Judith Regan on Legal Fees Lawsuit: ‘Marc Dreier Will Lose’ Just Like News Corp” by Leon Neyfakh:

According to an e-mail we received this morning from Ms. Regan’s assistant, a number of things require clarification. “The Dreier lawsuit has no merit,” the e-mail read. “Marc Dreier claimed Regan cheated him. It was Dreier who was attempting to cheat Regan and apparently, many others.”

Also: “News Corp once made false claims about Regan. They lost. Marc Dreier will lose too.”

7 From “Judith Regan Settles Lawsuit That Threatened to Implicate Ailes” by Gabriel Sherman:

Now, after more than two years of negotiations, Regan has reached a settlement with lawyers for the Dreier bankruptcy. “We settled before the Roger Ailes article,” Regan told me. “Everyone has reached a settlement agreement in the fall. The papers were not completely signed, they had been drafted.”

8 From “The Office of Judith Regan on Legal Fees Lawsuit: ‘Marc Dreier Will Lose’ Just Like News Corp” by Leon Neyfakh:

Figuring out exactly who those new lawyers were—her relatively longtime associate Bert Fields or Bay Area lawyer Joe Cotchett, whom she hired after firing Dreier—is a bit tricky. According to the Bloomberg report, it was Mr. Fields, not Mr. Cotchett, who represented Ms. Regan in the settlement with News Corp., but it’s unclear whether that’s based on anything other than the fact that Dreier, in their suit against Ms. Regan, listed Mr. Fields—and not Mr. Cotchett—as the co-defendent.

According to the e-mail from Ms. Regan’s office, the case against Mr. Fields “was dismissed” because Dreier’s “facts were wrong,” which may suggest that Dreier just fingered the wrong man when they filed their suit, having assumed, perhaps, based on Mr. Fields’ association with Ms. Regan, that he was the one to go after. Exactly what Mr. Fields’ working relationship is with Ms. Regan is hard to pin down, though: Back in November 2007, right after she first went after News Corp., the Los Angeles-based entertainment lawyer told The Observer that he was staying on as her legal counsel even though Dreier had prepared the suit and was representing Ms. Regan in court.

From “Spurned Lawyers Sue Judith Regan For Stiffing Them on Legal Fees” by Leon Neyfakh:

When asked in late January why Ms. Regan had dismissed Dreier, Mr. Fields did not give any details, saying only that the advantage Ms. Regan thought they would give her by being based in Manhattan rather than California had not panned out.

Also: maybe this is picking at details, but it should be said that Mr. Fields–who is listed as a defendant in Dreier’s suit–has maintained since last fall that he was in Ms. Regan’s employ. When I called him back in November to ask about the lawsuit, he insisted that even though Dreier was going to represent her in court, he was still her legal counsel. Then, when the suit was settled–for a rumored $10 million dollars–Mr. Fields said that Ms. Regan had switched Dreier out of the mix for Bay Area lawyer Joe Cotchett of the firm Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy. The implication being that Mr. Cotchett, not Mr. Fields, was replacing Dreier at Ms. Regan’s side.

9 From “Fox News Chief, Roger Ailes, Urged Employee to Lie, Records Show” by Russ Buettner:

The court records examined by The New York Times this week, which have subsequently been taken out of the public case file, also reveal another interesting footnote. After Ms. Regan fired her lawyers, a seemingly unlikely figure came forward to help settle the case: Susan Estrich, a law professor and a regular Fox commentator whose book Ms. Regan had published, according to Ms. Regan’s affidavit.

From “Hollywood Ending” by Ken Auletta. Note the guests at the party in the second excerpt.

An attorney who has been both an ally and an opponent of Fields in court thinks that Fields’s aggressiveness “so pumps him up that sometimes he takes noisy public positions that make it hard for him to easily extricate himself without losing face.” In Hollywood, where entertainment lawyers often have clients on both sides of the table, a lawyer typically seeks what is referred to as “a win-win situation.” Susan Estrich, who teaches law at the University of Southern California and is a family friend, says, “His attitude is you protect your client. Bert doesn’t play social games. He’s not out schmoozing. There’s no legal, legitimate, ethical tactic he won’t use to protect you.” Some people, including Fields’s friends, believe that this sort of determination is what propelled him to hire Pellicano.

In May, at a club in midtown Manhattan, Bert Fields hosted a book party for Kathy Freston, whose husband, Tom, is the C.E.O. of Viacom. At the party—Barbara Guggenheim and Rupert and Wendi Murdoch were among the co-hosts—one guest murmured about Fields, “I’m amazed he came.” But if Fields is suffering from having been a subject of federal interest since 2003, he’s not letting on—at least, not publicly. Gustavo Cisneros, a friend of Fields who is the chairman of a privately owned media conglomerate, recalls phoning him this spring to inquire how he was. “Gustavo, don’t be concerned,” Fields responded. It was the last they spoke of the case. Susan Estrich (Guggenheim and Fields are the guardians for her two children) says it’s “a disgrace the way his name has been dragged through the mud.” Estrich, a Democratic activist and occasional television pundit, has gone so far as to wonder whether pressure from conservative Republicans is animating the drive to get Fields and also Hollywood.

Kathy Freston is good friends with Wendi Deng, Murdoch’s wife at the time – a cited example of their friendship might be found in “Declaration of Independence” by Amy Chozick:

She used to wash her clothes and face with the same soap, said a 2008 Vogue article, and seldom wore makeup, much less luxuriated in the perks of privilege — like the private yoga classes with her friends Kathy Freston and Arianna Huffington — she indulges in today. At Yale, she would stake out Filene’s Basement to procure designer gowns on the cheap. Today, she is regularly photographed wearing Rodarte and Prada.

I take the time to point out these connections to make clear that Murdoch and Fields knew each other socially – Fields hosted a party for Kathy Freston, who is good friends with Wendi Deng. The purpose of that is to give basis for the possibility that when Pellicano says he met with Murdoch about Regan he perhaps conveyed some information, the credibility of the tape or the tape itself, through an intermediary, Fields, who was the one who actually, physically met with Murdoch.

10 From “Hollywood Hacker Breaks His Silence” by Christine Pelisek:

Pellicano claims never to have lent his services to any of Murdoch’s newspapers, and says he met the mogul only once, “but it had to do with Judith Regan,” his former longtime friend, who was fired from News Corp.’s HarperCollins in 2006. (Regan says she never introduced the two men.) “If News of the World called,” he says hypothetically, “I would ask the editor, ‘Why would you want me to do that? Are you stupid?!’ The guy at News of the World was just getting leads for stories.” Pellicano boasts that “I was the top of the ladder. Just to talk to me it cost $25,000. These guys were stringers who worked with reporters to try to get information on a celebrity!”

11 From “Judith Regan on Millionaire Matchmaker, NewsCorp. and Her Love Life” by Lloyd Grove:

Any mention of Murdoch is apt to provoke Regan into a lengthy and detailed indictment of the media mogul’s alleged treachery against her after she made so much money for him. I manage, with some effort, to discourage this. Still, her bloody combat with her former employer was the epic battle of a lifetime. She takes perverse pride in having enemies—the right enemies—and won’t be silenced.

“Most people roll over,” she explains. “Most people don’t have the fight in them, don’t have the courage and the conviction. They just don’t. And I really don’t have the disposition to tolerate what I feel is an injustice. Because, strangely, I’m not really materialistic—so I’ll fight to the death.”

Warming to her subject, Regan goes on, “I’ve had to fight for everything. Nobody gave me anything. I strongly believe that I’m right. And if you strongly believe you’re right and you’ve been wronged, then what’s your choice? I was very wronged by News Corp., and they had to retract all the bullshit they said and they had to eat it, and they had to pay me. You have to give me credit: I did win in the end.”

And Regan is withering about Glenn Beck, whom she accuses of “repulsive anti-Semitism,” a problem she says Beck shares with Fox News in general.

“They specialize in it—look what they’ve done to George Soros. It’s unbelievable,” says Regan, who at one point in her battle with Murdoch was accused by News Corp. lawyers of making anti-Semitic remarks—a claim they later retracted. “If you study the Fox News method of operation, there’s all kinds of historic anti-Semitic views and the stuff with Glenn Beck is textbook.” A Fox News spokesman also refused to join the battle.

12 From “Judith Regan Settles Lawsuit That Threatened to Implicate Ailes” by Gabriel Sherman:

Regan’s lawyer Robert Brown told me that Regan had pushed for the settlement.

“After she finished her NBC pilot, she told me she had a hot new boyfriend and didn’t want to waste any more time with the cockroaches in court and [wanted to] settle it and get it over with,” Brown said. “So I did.”

The Dreier lawyers were seeking millions, but Regan says she settled for only a fraction of that amount. Regan told me she was happy with the outcome, and this being Judith Regan, she had a few choice words for Dreier. “Marc is a world-class criminal. I accused him of forgery before he was arrested. Do you think I paid them millions of dollars? Not a chance,” she told me. “I’m very happy with the settlement.”

13 From “Judith Regan Wants to Publish a Book of Charlie Sheen’s Poetry”:

Downstairs at Bar Boulud last night, at a private party for the new WNET interview series “The Artist Toolbox,” comedian Frankie Hudak wrapped New York publishing legend Judith Regan in a bro hug and demanded to know where she’s been hiding. “Just fucking around, traveling the world, having sex,” she informed him, prompting us to immediately ask her for an interview. “Not if it’s about Roger Ailes,” she told us, referring to the Fox News exec who, she claims in a lawsuit, urged her to lie to federal investigators about her affair with Bernard Kerik. But ignoring that scandal was actually fine with us, as we wanted to know why Regan had appeared on the Bravo series Millionaire Matchmaker in December.

One other detail of this story deserves mentioning, if only in a footnote. This story received several comments, the most enthusiastic of which were three by a “JONATHANJACKSON”, who was aggressively and unapologetically supportive of the publisher:

I love Judith Regan. She fears no one, speaks the truth, has genuine courage to take on Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes who done her wrong and, lest we forget, SHE BEAT THEM. If you looked at the list of books she published she opened the door to everyone from Wally Lamb to Sean Hannity, Michael Moore to Doug Coupland. Poets, designers, novelists, physicists, biographers, historians, comedians, doctors, actors, musicians. She invited everyone to the table. And the vastly ignorant who know nothing of her work judge her. SHE IS HYSTERICALLY FUNNY AND HONEST AND YOU APPARENTLY CAN’T TAKE THE TRUTH. GROW UP. JUDITH REGAN IS MY HERO!

Does anyone have a sense of humor anymore? Obviously Regan was doing a PARODY of Sheen and if you listen to her Sirius/XM Radio Show you would know she is an irreverent, wise-cracking, hysterically funny host who mocks everything and everyone including herself. LIGHTEN UP YOU TROLLS!! Judith Regan is mocking the absurdity of the whole Charlie Sheen episode and the inanity of the media.

xoxo

Another story dealing with Regan in New York magazine, “Judith Regan Settles Lawsuit That Threatened to Implicate Ailes” by Gabriel Sherman, featured a remark left a “MARK_JACKSON”, a joke perhaps, since the name of the Fox Corp. lawyer who she had allegedly said was part of a jewish cabal was named Mark Jackson as well. “MARK_JACKSON” is responsible for only this single comment at New York magazine, just as the output of “JONATHANJACKSON” is limited to the three comments at “Judith Regan Wants to Publish a Book of Charlie Sheen’s Poetry” (the comment profiles at New York magazine of “MARK_JACKSON” and “JONATHANJACKSON”). It bears, I think, a strong similarity in tone and texture to the remarks of “JONATHANJACKSON”:

Judith has been screwed royally by most of her lawyers. Marc Dreier fabricated this lawsuit against her and he got his comeuppance. Come to think of it her accountant Ken Starr went to prison, her gyno went to prison and a few of her idiot boyfriends went too. She’s very funny on her SiriusXM Radio Show but she has terrible taste in men and lawyers. I am not the same pig lawyer Mark Jackson at Harper Collins who screwed her and fabricated stories about her for their defamation campaign led by Roger Ailes. Oh that Mark was rewarded for his smear campaign with the job of running Dow Jones legal department. HUSH HUSH!! Do not try to destroy Judith Regan she will eat you for dinner and then you will go to prison. You go girl!

Perhaps it’s my paranoia about sock puppets, but you can’t help wonder if the angry, unrelenting voice of “JONATHANJACKSON” and the angry, unrelenting voice of “MARK_JACKSON” are the same person, and you can’t help but wonder if you’re reading the voice of a certain angry, unrelenting publisher in exile.

14 From “The Judith Regan Story” by Vanessa Grigoriadis:

If the O.J. book and TV special had worked out, she might have been heralded as a multiplatform genius; she would’ve been positioned perfectly to become a kind of Martha Stewart, the face of her own publishing empire. With Martha, there was a veneer of the traditional feminine homemaker over the steely ambition, but with Judith, everything was on show, and what a show it was. Regan had been known to scream, “I have the biggest cock in the building” from behind her desk. O.J. was meant to be her coming-out in Los Angeles, her clarion call to the entertainment industry. “Before the book was even announced, back when it was a secret, Judith was telling people it was the book of her career,” says a friend.

15 From “The Judith Regan Story” by Vanessa Grigoriadis:

Judith Regan may be a loose cannon, but this was far from the case with the O.J. book. Rupert Murdoch himself signed off on it. Regan received a call from Simpson’s manager in February 2006, asking if she would be interested in O.J.’s story. Coincidentally, she was going to see Murdoch at a book party that evening. They had a cursory conversation, and she explained that Simpson’s share of the proceeds would be going not to O.J. but to his kids. Murdoch thought it sounded like a viable project and congratulated her on it.

Friedman saw the project as a gigantic mound of cash piled on her bottom line. “There were two secret books at HarperCollins in 2006, and we asked, ‘Are they worth it?’” says a HarperCollins editor. “Jane said that one of them was not that big a deal, but the book with Judith was going to be huge.” Mark Jackson, Murdoch’s in-house counsel, made the deal for about $880,000, put into a third-party trust for Simpson’s children.

From “The Judith Regan Story” by Vanessa Grigoriadis, on Friedman’s friendship with Crichton:

Unlike Regan, whose publishing model is based on a strong leader and few minions, Friedman is a believer in the team concept. She rose from a Random House Dictaphone typist in 1968 to become a publicist. Friedman has long been in the habit of making bold claims about having reinvented the publishing business. She likes to say that she conceived the “author tour and audio books,” which may be overstepping (Mark Twain, after all, traveled across America), but her success with modern tours, beginning with Julia Child’s cooking extravaganzas, and her achievements as the founder of Random House Audio Publishing, are notable. At Random House, she served as an indispensable No. 2 to both Sonny Mehta and Bob Gottlieb and executed successful campaigns for Michael Crichton, a close friend, and fluke best sellers like In the Kitchen With Rosie and I Was Amelia Earhart.

16 From “Judith Regan on Millionaire Matchmaker, NewsCorp. and Her Love Life” by Lloyd Grove:

“Why not? I just thought it could be a hoot,” says the Sirius XM radio host, and once and possibly future publishing powerhouse, “I did it because it’s so ridiculous and so outrageous—but all of life is that way now. That’s the way the culture is. That’s the way everything is.”

From “Pop Vulture”, specific page “Pop Vulture (page 65)”:

“I had a natural desire to ask people about their lives in dramatic ways,” she says. “I was interested in the human aspects of people’s lives, which is more tabloid, I suppose. I used to say to people, ‘Everything is going to become the National Enquirer,’ and it did. Everything became the National Enquirer, including what I do now. What I do now is a version of the National Enquirer.”

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Rising Sun: The Image of the Desired Japanese Part Three

(This post is a continuation of “Rising Sun: The Image of the Desired Japanese Part Two”, originally intended to be part of that post, but as with all things I write, grew into something so large that it required its own separate space. As such, footnotes are numbered as succeeding those of “Part Two”; this is also because that part refers to some Pellicano transcripts which are in the footnotes here.

Corrections for grammar, coherence and aesthetics were made on October 24th.)

RISING SUN:

THE IMAGE OF THE DESIRED JAPANESE

PART ONE PART TWO PART THREE PART FOUR

THE PELICAN PART TWO

The trial of Anthony Pellicano was like a Hollywood movie, a production that had a huge build-up to something inconsequential and soon forgotten. “No scandal in Hollywood history can compare to the Anthony Pellicano wiretapping scandal,” was one sentence in one of the best pieces on Pellicano, published two years before the trial, “Talk of the Town” by Bryan Burrough and John Connolly. “People out here, they’re talking about this endlessly,” is a quote from Barry Diller, again from the same piece. “If you’re talking to people in L.A. right now, it’s the only topic.”209

Two reasons might be identified for the anti-climax. The first is that Hollywood is a place focused on youth and the immediate, and the trial was dealing with events that were already seven years old or older. The main players were middle aged or older, people of distinction and talent, but whose prominence was ten or fifteen years ago. The only celebrities at the trial, Garry Shandling and Chris Rock, were men of brilliance, but Shandling’s audience, though discerning and distinguished, was always small, and Rock’s celebrity peak was from the late nineties, another comedian who never found movies which equalled his talents. One major figure who gave testimony, Michael Ovitz, was a Hollywood exile, a man whose power was now entirely in the past tense. “God calling,” says Rupert Murdoch in a profile from the early nineties. But, like Elton John sang, God was dead210.

There was that, and there was also that the stain was contained quickly. “There will always be people who’ll do the bidding of powerful and wealthy people,” said Gavin DeBecker (again from “Talk of the Town”), the detective who was the better looking, more privileged, more graceful, smarter detective that Pellicano always aspired to be. “I’m more curious about the people who do the hiring than about the guns for hire. The book wasn’t called The Luca Brazzi Story [sic: it's Brasi], you know. It was called The Godfather.”211 The trial, however, remained The Anthony Pellicano Story. In a time when so many lieutenants and top dogs in the mob turned against their own, it was a man of illusion and exaggeration, a man who may have greatly embellished his own connections to the gangster empire that kept omerta better than all of them. The serpentine crack did not crack far. “You don’t rat, you just don’t,” was his belief, according to his fourth and sixth wife, Kat Pellicano. “Whether that’s a character flaw or not, I don’t know.” It was a code that was not without cost, something that Kat Pellicano could one day attest to: “I’m sure a lot of people do admire that, personally I would have preferred that the kids were able to have money for college and food.”212

Only some of the massive trove of audio tapes of Pellicano ended up being decrypted, and of those played at the trial, you could maybe figure out why bigger prizes were never nabbed. For a supposedly connected guy, Pellicano had a strange trait: he freely referred to illegal activity on the phone in a way a connected man never would, fearful of the very real possibility that the police might have a warrant on the phone due to some on-going investigation. You could contrast Pellicano’s foolishly open demeanor with the profane warning given by Anthony Ciccone to Primo Cassarinio during a phone call which, of course, was tapped: “Primo, I might as well have this conversation in front of the fuckin’ courthouse….What the fuck is wrong with yous guys? I don’t understand yous… It’s a phone. I mean what the fuck? I mean, we’re on phones.”213 On the audio played at the trial, of Pellicano on the phone with the director John McTiernan214, the fallen god Michael Ovitz215, Chris Rock216, hedge fund manager Adam Sender217, legal powerhouse Marty Singer218, investment advisor Ken Starr219, we hear Pellicano more than willing to be flagrantly open on the phone with these people (transcripts for these calls are at the respective footnotes for the names). We get a good sense of Pellicano’s indiscretion in the phone call with McTiernan:

MCTIERNAN
Basically I sorta would like to know what he’s saying to the studio and if there’s any place where he’s clearly saying one thing to the studio and saying another-

PELLICANO
Hope there’s nobody listening to this conversation, I hope?

MCTIERNAN
Hmmmm?

PELLICANO
There’s nobody in the room with you, are there?

MCTIERNAN
Oh no.

PELLICANO
Okay god. Phew. Cuz there’s only two people in the world that know about this, and that’s you and I.

MCTIERNAN
Ummmmm…

However, we might immediately pick up a distinction: the phone calls with Ovitz, an executive, and Singer, a powerful Hollywood lawyer who has already gotten quadruple mention in this on-going post (due to having among his clients Brendan Fraser, Eddie Murphy, Steven Seagal, and Arnold Schwarzenegger), are far more discreet than the others, as if these men are well aware of the care which must be taken in discussing these things. Ovitz, in fact, cuts his call short so that they might discuss the matter entirely off the phone, in a live meeting, away from either office. This despite the urgency of what Ovitz needs Pellicano to deal with, something which Ovitz describes as “the single most complex situation imaginable”220.

Though authorities originally cited Steven Seagal as the one behind the harassment of Anita Busch, and the basis for starting their investigation, the focus for the possible culprit behind that act soon shifted to Ovitz221. He would testify in his trial appearance that he’d come up with a list of people, including Busch and another writer, Bernard Weinraub, who he felt were causing him problems at a critical time for his new production company. Both Weinraub and Busch had written of this company’s financial problems, a failed attempt by Ovitz to resurrect his career after a period of extraordinary success as the head of CAA followed by a miserable one heading Disney. Ovitz and Pellicano would go over this list, but what Pellicano was instructed to do to these people was a subject of disagreement222. Ovitz was one missing prize, Bert Fields was another.

Fields was, arguably, the most powerful lawyer in Hollywood. His clients include Tom Cruise, Madonna, and Warren Beatty – those are a few names from a very long list. Studio chiefs came and went, actresses burnt out as quickly as votary candles, yet Bert Fields remained in business, a man born in the twenties, who’d been a lawyer for the JAG during the Korean war, acted in an episode of “Dragnet” and was still a force in this town223. He was a far more important part of the industry than a lot of more visible people, yet he remained in the shadows. There was only one major recent profile, “Hollywood Ending” by Ken Auletta, along with one notable short one (“Telling Hollywood It’s Out of Order” by Allison Hope Weiner; both were a result of expectations over the Pellicano trial – other short profiles include “Cristal and fajitas — so sue him” by Corie Brown, one that is a part of a series on Hollywood lawyers, “The ‘Energizer Bunny’ of Hollywood lawyers” by Ann O’Neill, and one promoting Players, a book Fields wrote disputing the authorship of Shakespeare, “Just the facts” by Betty Goodwin (one other two decade old piece on Fields and his Barbara Guggenheim is in the December 1993 Vanity Fair, “Love in L.A.’s fast lane” by Michael Schnayerson, currently behind a paywall).

This last excursion into Shakespeare scholarship is one of the more visible symptoms of Fields’ roving mind; another is the novel The Lawyer’s Tale by a “D. Kincaid”, a nom de guerre of Fields himself (though I assume this name is a play on words, anagram, combination or variation of these, I am unable to unpuzzle it). I am grateful to Ken Auletta for letting me know about it, through his “Hollywood Ending” profile224. What insight it bears on Fields depends on how closely the book’s characters of the protagonist lawyer, Harry Cain, and his helpful detective associate, Cipriano “Skip” Corrigan, relate to Fields and Pellicano. Cain is a successful Hollywood attorney who is friends with Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, fascinated by the idea of who wrote Shakespeare’s plays, believes the Shakespearean view of Richard III as a villain is wrong, and is paid a yearly one dollar retainer by Mike Ovitz so that he’ll never sue the superagent – all of which are details from Fields’ own life225. The case that may well have established Fields involved Elaine May getting final cut over her movie Mickey and Nicky, and in that incident, the negative went mysteriously missing until the studio finally surrendered. One of the main plots of The Lawyer’s Tale involves a fight over final cut of a movie called The Last Battle in which the film goes missing. Cain is sued for sexual harassment, by an assistant who accuses him of being forced to watch pornography, and this feels like it’s taken from the Monica Harmon lawsuit against Don Simpson, where Fields was Simpson’s lawyer. Cain, an excellent cook, makes chicken fajitas for his wife, and Fields cooks chicken fajitas for his guests226. Fields’ wife died of cancer, something that still affects him deeply, and Cain’s wife dies of this as well. On one of her last nights, hooked up to tubes, she breathes out a “gee whiz” several times, and this moment is so natural and vivid that it feels like it must be taken from life – it is a great moment, whatever its provenance227. I will, however, add a strong qualifier to this praise. Recently, either giving his own opinion or his opinion in the service of his most famous client, he described Lawrence Wright’s history of Scientology, Going Clear, as “boring”228. The gap between the writing talents of Fields and those of Wright is a vast and formidable distance.

The detective Cipriano Corrigan has a first name that obviously sounds an awful lot like Pellicano. He’s half-Irish, rather than Sicilian, and an ex-New York cop, but his speech and manner call to mind immediately Pellicano, or at least the image of Pellicano that he wanted to be. He is a man who can kill you with his bare hands, with just a shoelace. He knows how to put out your life by stabbing you in the heart with a pencil. This last detail is noteworthy because in a pre-scandal profile of Pellicano, Fields jokes that the detective has said he possessed this exact lethal gift. One point, however, is puzzling. When Auletta, in an interview with Fields, brings up mentions of Pellicano’s mob connections in past profiles, Fields says he hasn’t read them. Cipriano, on the other hand, very clearly has ties with the underworld: “Although he never mentioned his connections with the Mafia, they were close and reliable, as were his contacts with the FBI and with the police forces in most major cities.”229 Fields has also emphasized that he had no knowledge of Pellicano’s wiretapping methods. There are a number of reasons to question this, such as the fact that Greenberg Glusker, Fields’ own law firm, was responsible for copyrighting a technology called Telesleuth, developed by Pellicano and one of his employees, Ken Kechurian, for audio analysis of a phone call230. Another is a character detail of Corrigan: it’s strongly implied, without being said explicitly, that he uses wiretapping to obtain information. Here is a conversation between Cain and Corrigan on dealing with one of Cain’s enemies, Maurice King. I bold the most relevant part231:

When Harry returned to his office, Skip Corrigan was waiting for him with a report on Maurice King. Grinning, he told Harry that King was already getting calls from all over the world to the effect that someone was out there investigating him. From what Skip could observe, King seemed to be very nervous and upset about it. Like a man with plenty to hide. For half an hour Skip read Harry his detailed notes about every aspect of the wealthy builder’s life. When he finished, Harry leaned back in his chair and gazed up at the ceiling. After a moment, he looked back at the wiry detective.

“Good job, Skip. Two or three things we can really use. Tell me more about that girl, Maria whatsername.”

“Sure. Supposedly she’s a ‘writer’; but she’s really just a part-time hooker. Mostly B and D, I think. Got one of those black-leather bikini outfits with the chains, you know?, and a full-size inflatable rubber girl. Two or three guys a week come by and stay for an hour or so. I think they fuck the blow-up doll while she whips them. I can get all the specifics on that if you want, but here’s what’s interesting: Guess who pays the rent on the apartment?” Without waiting for an answer Skip nodded. “That’s right. Maurice King. He comes over twice a week. I guess for a ‘treatment.’ And he calls two or three times a day from his office phone in between sessions. Don’t ask me how I know. You don’t wanna know. Anyway, I think she’s talking dirty to him over the phone and he gets off on it. How do you want me to handle it?”

Harry didn’t want to threaten either the girl or King. He didn’t want to commit extortion if he could avoid it. But, he had to get a message to King that would change his mind about the Harvard program.

The last part hints at the overall tone of The Lawyer’s Tale; it might be one of the most casually cynical books I’ve ever read. The profession of law is winning the case, which must be won by whatever means, though this victory is for victory itself, and unconnected with any tangible benefit outside the legal victory. Cain steals the work print of The Last Battle, and a character accuses him of lying – no, Cain, corrects him, given the context, it wasn’t lying232. The director gets final cut, the movie is made, and in another book we’d have an aesthetic victory – thanks to Cain’s efforts, a great movie is made. In The Lawyer’s Tale, the only victory is a legal one: The Last Battle ends up a financial disaster and critically reviled film (though it feels based on the details of Mickey and Nicky, the fictional movie’s name and the name of its director, Joe Miletti, suggest to me Heaven’s Gate by Michael Cimino)233. In the other major case of the book, a japanese woman who’s abused by her husband kills him with poison. Cain wins the case by questioning the validity of the science that’s determined it’s poison, then destroys the evidence in court by drinking it, and further proving it’s not poison by staying alive. At a convenient moment, he then runs out of court and gets his stomach pumped, a service provided by the connections of Cipriano Corrigan234. The book ends with the revelation that in one of the major cases of the book, both parties were incredibly crooked, with the plaintiff settling after he’s able to discover, through subterfuge, that the judge will rule against him. The client who Cain defends is actually guilty. There is no reckoning for this, no penitence, because there is only the legal case, nothing outside of it, and the legal case has been won. The reveal of the underlying truth is given by Corrigan, who sees all, even throwing in some pictures of the defendant and a major witness having sex, while never revealing how he’s all knowing. 235.

Life, according to this book, is the law, looking out for yourself and family, and nothing else. Cain feels guilty about the medical care he is able to provide his wife while so many go without, and his daughter comforts him with an ice-cold thesis of justification: Harry Cain’s life has greater economic value than other people, and therefore Harry Cain deserves better medical care than the filthy swine poorer than he is236. After Cain’s wife dies, he and his daughter go on a walk where they bond by surveying the monuments of his life, where he used to live and where he went to school. They see some homeless people and Cain’s daughter now displays extraordinary sympathy for those in want. Cain lectures his daughter, making clear that those who sleep out in the streets are doing so out of choice, because they want to, and for no other reason. He gives this speech on how there have always been homeless people in this country, and they have always been homeless by choice, with a lack of irony that’s striking given that it’s preceded by them passing a statue of Douglas MacArthur – the general infamous for marching troops on a group of impoverished veterans protesting in D.C. between the two great wars. These veterans were too poor to rent or own their homes, the best of men thrown away like chaff, their encampment destroyed and these men then run down like animals by tanks and soldiers of their own army237. No reason is given for the sudden shift in the perspectives of father and daughter, with the first scene having Cain’s daughter taking the hard-line of capitalism as brute force selection and Cain offering soft dissent, then the roles being entirely switched, which suggests either a put-on or a slightly lazy writer arbitrarily using his characters to express his own thoughts.

You do have to be careful that there are differences between the book and real life. Cain has a daughter, Fields has a son. Cain gets involved in the high profile criminal case where he has to defend an abused wife, Fumiko Masami, from a murder charge, and Fields has never done the equivalent. After Cain wins the case by destroying evidence, he is about to sleep with Masami when he discovers the woman is actually a man in disguise – again, the kind of tabloid revelation that exists in pulp books but unlikely in real life238. I am, however, employing a technique that is used by Cain himself in the book; he destroys a witness by discovering that the very things she alleges were said by one man turn out to also be dialogue she’s written in an unmade script239. My pointing out the strangeness of Corrigan, who seems strikingly based on Pellicano, having mafia connections and employing wiretapping methods while his creator is ignorant of these very qualities in the man he’s based on, this is the very thing that Harry Cain demands and expects of the world. He destroys the evidence that incriminates his client, and he’s astonished that his associates don’t notice all the inconsistencies, errors, and lies in the story he gives them240. These remain, however, only possibilities. I do not make these connections solely in Fields’ case – it’s my habit to do so. I might mention here, for instance, that Mario Puzo, who was a long time friend of Fields (his books are there in Fields’ bookcase in the profile “Telling Hollywood It’s Out of Order” while The Family by Puzo and Carol Gino gives a dedication to Fields), had in his 1970s novel Fools Die something seemingly unnoticed: two characters that I took to be corrosive portraits of two figures of that time, mogul Lew Wasserman and his assistant, Jennings Lang; I allows that it may have gone entirely unnoticed might be because it is entirely a wrong assumption on my part241.

When the possibility of Fields, along with his constellation of celebrity clients, getting entrapped by the Pellicano trial ended, the actual event lost most of its klieg lighting. The biggest name among Fields’ clients, Tom Cruise, would not testify there but after the criminal trial, in a civil suit by Michael Davis Sapir, an editor of Bold magazine. Sapir would allege that Pellicano, after being hired by Fields, had wiretapped his phone. The wiretapping, allegedly, was done with the co-operation of law enforcement and telephone company officials. Cruise would give videotaped testimony under tightly controlled conditions, with no copies of the original tape to be made and the tape itself returned to counsel immediately at the end of the trial. Sapir would lose his civil suit242.

There was no seaminess exposed by the trial, no nude pics, no sexual fetishes unveiled, and little suspense that Pellicano would be convicted after he took the foolhardy step of acting as his own lawyer. So, there was not much print given over to what was exposed in the trial when the veil fell: the casual, brutal way power is used by the very wealthy, to intimidate and cajole in order to have their way. There was Adam Sender, the hedge fund manager, who was upset when he gave a million dollars to Aaron Russo for a production company, after which Russo allegedly just walked away with the money. Russo was one more of an endless series of interesting characters in the Pellicano story. He had been Bette Midler’s manager, then moved on to produce the Midler vehicle The Rose and Trading Places, before his Hollywood career ended, allegedly because two films promised to HBO weren’t completed in time. This resulted in HBO suing Film Finances, the company providing bond completion insurance for the two movies. He was burdened with several multi-million dollar tax liens, and made a documentary on his own America: Freedom to Fascism, which was about the 16th Amendment never having been ratified, and the illegality of federal taxes. The New York Times would say that all the documentary’s assertions collapse under the weight of actual facts and that its central argument on the illegality of federal income taxes was entirely baseless. Russo would deny that his owing millions in federal taxes had anything to do with his interest in the issue243. Russo would also allege that in a private meeting with David Rockefeller, the noted heir would give him secret knowledge of an event that would take place on September 11th, 2001, providing a justification for a war in Afghanistan and Iraq, thus allowing for American oil production in those places. Russo would run for the 2004 Libertarian Party presidential ticket, winning the first two rounds, but losing the third. Brian Doherty, a writer for the libertarian Reason magazine, who covered the convention, is full of praise for the candidate and refreshingly honest about why he lost, saying that Russo was too “brash New York ethnic” for the delegates in the south and midwest. He was a man of the people who was served his affidavit by two of Pellicano’s assistants after getting a haircut in Beverly Hills244.

Russo was a paranoid who was paranoid about all the wrong things. His phone calls were being listened to, not by the government, but an enterprising private citizen. That Russo is away on a trip is a cause of complaint during the phone call between Sender and Pellicano. “The problem is that Russo is in Nevada. So I won’t have any idea what the fuck they said to each other,” Pellicano complains about a conversation they want to hear. Sender would testify that Pellicano offered an extra service for dealing with Russo as well: “I could basically authorize him to have him murdered on his way back from Las Vegas…have somebody follow him back, drive him off the road and bury his body in the desert.” Sender was asked: was Pellicano joking? Absolutely not. Pellicano suggested otherwise in his cross-examination: “Didn’t Mr. Pellicano say to you, ‘If you’re spending all this money on Mr. Russo why don’t you just have him killed?’” Sender replied, “He might have phrased it that way.” It was a question of nuance, maybe. “I just hope you nail his fucking ass to the wall,” says Sender to Pellicano, in their phone call. “Well, along that line, it may happen, ya know, just coincidentally,” replies Pellicano. “Ya understand what I’m saying?”245.

Pellicano listened in on Russo’s phone calls and he would look up the addresses of Russo’s sons, Sam and Max. Pellicano was able to listen in on phone calls in this case and others through an insider at the phone company, Ray Porter, who was able to access the curbside phone box and place the taps there. To get things like phone numbers, addresses, and personal data, he relied on an LAPD Sergeant, Mark Arneson, to access the police database. Pellicano only tapped landlines, and this restriction did not much impair his work, which gives you an idea of how long ago the events for which he was convicted took place246. You might try to find some justification for Pellicano turning the unpaid debt into an extra-legal vendetta if Russo had simply taken the money rather than investing it, but whether a client was right or wrong was irrelevant. If you were a client of Pellicano’s, he would use brute force measures to bring about what you wanted.

When Sylvester Stallone wanted to pull his money from investment guru Ken Starr’s fund, Bert Fields took up Starr’s side in the civil suit, and brought Pellicano in to help. It seemed like Fields was a constant Stallone adversary. When Stallone bought art in the eighties, his adviser was Barbara Guggenheim, the pair showing up briefly in an entry of The Andy Warhol Diaries 247. Stallone would eventually sue Guggenheim after she helped him buy a painting that ended up damaged. Fields represented Guggenheim, and they ended up married. “She didn’t pay a dime!” proclaimed Fields248. Well true, but: she ended up exchanging the damaged canvas for another painting which Stallone sold later for a profit of millions249. Fields would later represent Peter Morton, owner of the Hard Rock Café, when he sued the stakeholders of Planet Hollywood, for stealing his idea, and he’d represent Stallone’s stepfather when he sued Stallone for defamation, after the actor ended his involvement in his financial dealings250. Stallone felt that Starr had not sold his plummeting Planet Hollywood stock because he was looking out for the interests of a friend and major Planet Hollywood stakeholder, Keith Barish, more than his own251. In the audio of the phone call with Starr played at the trial, it’s obvious that Pellicano somehow knows of all the people Stallone’s legal team are trying to contact. After this comes a striking moment, given that Fields knew nothing about Pellicano’s wiretapping. What follows is a fragment of Pellicano asking about the people Stallone’s legal team is trying to reach, and then the notable terminal fragment. The Todd Morgan mentioned in the first fragment is an investment advisor252:

PELLICANO
Okay. Now. Todd Morgan told Stallone that you just lost a six million dollar client. A blue blood. Is that true?

STARR
No. Who?

PELLICANO
I don’t know.

STARR
No.

PELLICANO
Okay. You didn’t just lose a client?

STARR
(pause) A blue blood?

PELLICANO
Well, I’m saying blue blood. You know, a client. That’s worth that kind of money. That-

STARR
Six million?

PELLICANO
Six hundred million.

STARR
Oh, no.

PELLICANO
Well, the guy-

STARR
Oh, I know who they’re talking about. It was Mort Zuckerman, about a year ago.

PELLICANO
Okay. Now, is he a friend of yours, or an enemy of yours?

STARR
He’s a friend of mine. He didn’t leave here for any other reason other than the fact-

PELLICANO
Gimme his name-

STARR
Nono, you don’t wanna call Mort.

PELLICANO
I’m not gonna call him. I need to know what his name is.

STARR
Mortimer Zuckerman.

PELLICANO
Mort-i-mer Zuckerman.

STARR
He owns the Daily News. Bert knows him. Bert’s a personal friend of his.

PELLICANO
He owns the Daily News? [STARR: Mmmmm-hmmmm.] Okay, listen to me closely about this. Is it possible that this guy went to Todd?

STARR
No.

PELLICANO
Okay. And you say he’s a friend of yours?

STARR
Yeah.

PELLICANO
Okay. So he’s not going to talk against you?

STARR
No. All he would say is, first of all, we would make suggestions, same way we did with everybody, as to what he should invest in, he would make the decision if he wanted in or out, and if he wanted out, he pulled out.

PELLICANO
Okay. So you’re just telling me he pulled out?

STARR
Sure. Course we were through the worst market in history, but-

PELLICANO
Nonono, I don’t- [STARR: Out of his total-] You and I know-

STARR
Out of the total money that he invested, there were like two of ours that he came out of…all the others he stayed in. But he was making a decision to get out of the market in general.

PELLICANO
Okay. But why would he tell anybody about that? Why would he say left you?

STARR
He wouldn’t, and he’s not worth six hundred million, he’s worth a lot more, so it may not be him.

PELLICANO
Okay, well. They’re trying to find this person.

STARR
Well, let me tell you something, he’s worth far far more than-

PELLICANO
Okay, but that’s-

STARR
We were doing all-

PELLICANO
Kennykennykenny, calm down. The thing is, they have somebody, and I need to know who the fuck that somebody is.

STARR
I have no idea. I don’t think it’s him.

PELLICANO
Now. Next subject. Who is Mary Anne Magdalena?

STARR
Oh, god. Mary Anne Magdalena is somebody who was client here, she was a producer, and that’s who she is.

PELLICANO
Okay, there’s bad blood between you?

STARR
No, not really. What happened was, Mary Anne contended that she had not wanted to make an investment that she made…

PELLICANO
And you gave her her money back?

STARR
And we gave her her money back.

PELLICANO
Okay. They’re after her like crazy.

The terminal fragment, I bold the part that especially stuck out for me:

PELLICANO
Okay. Now, listen. You know that you have to keep these conversations between you and I.

STARR
I know that, but this is-

PELLICANO
Just listen to me, Kenny. [STARR: Sure.] Now, this is real important. You cannot say a word to anybody in the world about what I just told you.

STARR
I wouldn’t.

PELLICANO
Okay. I know you wouldn’t, but I’m just telling you not to. Now, you are not going to tell Bert this, I am; so there’s not going to be any communication between you and Bert, and you and I never had this conversation.

STARR
Okay.

PELLICANO
Alright?

STARR
Absolutely.

PELLICANO
I just need to know this…and then I need to call Bert, to tell him that I investigated this, and there’s nothing to it.

There is another notable part of the conversation which follows. Fields stresses that he is very hands off about Pellicano’s billing, and what it was for, yet right after this there is a brief discussion between Pellicano and Starr over whether Pellicano’s bills will be sent directly to Pellicano or to the office of Fields, right after this point in the conversation where Pellicano says that this information gleaned from phone tapping cannot be spoken about with anyone else – the client cannot speak to Fields about this, Pellicano will speak to Fields about this253.

There is one thing that Pellicano can’t quite figure out: why won’t Starr let anyone audit his fund? Starr explains that this is because a past audit was a pain in the ass disruption. The real answer was far simpler: Starr was running a ponzi scheme. He was in charge of a prestige fund, chock full of celebrity clients such as Al Pacino, Warren Beatty, Mike Nichols, and others, which relied on money from new investors to give out occasional returns; he would eventually go into the personal accounts of his own clients as things started to collapse, even taking control of a dying woman’s estate to find the money to keep the scheme running. A lot of the money from the fund ended up in failed investments run by Keith Barish, including a chain of nightclubs started by Chris Barish, Keith’s son. The nightclubs closed254. At the very same time that there was this constant need for cash to keep the ponzi scheme running, Starr descended into out of control avarice with a new wife. “When your business manager marries a stripper, that’s a tell,” said one rueful on-looker. The 2008 crash was a low tide that exposed the rot underneath. People were out millions. There were warning signs early on, among them Stallone’s lawsuit. Shortly after that lawsuit, one prominent figure who had money with Starr would lose six figures due to the man’s financial mismanagement. That investor: Bert Fields255. Stallone got off lucky because he got out early. Starr is currently serving a decade long sentence in jail. “Beat the shit out of him, Anthony,” says Starr in the audio of the phone call to Pellicano, referring to Stallone’s lawyer. “I’m going to,” replies Pellicano, “I’m gonna take a lot of pleasure in this.”256.

A similar ruthlessness was shown when Garry Shandling broke with his manager, Brad Grey, and sued him for taking more than his share in fees and royalties. Fields and Pellicano were fighting for Grey. Shandling was friends with Gavin DeBecker, and he helped scour the house for bugs, and they found nothing – but Pellicano never bugged the phones from inside the house, but always from the phone boxes outside. Shandling’s ex-girlfriend, Linda Doucett, would get strange phone calls and hang-ups in the middle of the night. Doucett would complain to Shandling, “I’m getting weird calls from Brad Grey late at night.”257 At the trial, Shandling would be shown a list of information requests made from the LAPD database around the time of his suit against Brad Grey. There were requests for DeBecker, Doucett, Warren Grant (Shandling’s accountant), Mariana Grant (Shandling’s assistant), the comedian Kevin Nealon (a close friend), and Linda Nealon (Kevin Nealon’s wife at the time). Looking at the requests while on the witness stand at the Pellicano trial, Shandling said “This bothers me as much as the first time I was shown this.”258 These requests took place during the discovery period of Shandling’s trial; just as the actual trial was to begin, there would be a settlement in Shandling’s favor, valued by his lawyer at ten million. Fields is known as the man who’s never lost a case, and I’m not sure why. Going to trial and settling for ten million kinda sounds like losing to me. Grey would become head of Paramount, a position which he holds to this day259.

Michael Ovitz would be called as a witness, but he gave up nothing. He would testify that there was a list of names, including the writers Anita Bush and Bernard Weinraub, he wanted investigated for information purposes, but not for the purposes of intimidating them. Stanley Ornellas, the FBI agent involved in the investigation into who was behind the intimidation of Anita Busch would bluntly contradict him: Michael Ovitz was the man responsible for the threat260. The fate of the trial was probably pre-ordained when Pellicano decided to act as his own lawyer. He always seemed to want to be seen as an intellectual, claiming that he was a member of Mensa, stressing that his profession was about intelligence, rather than violence: “A gun is a physical solution to a mental problem.” Maybe he thought he’d win, and according to Kat Pellicano, “he thought he was winning the whole time.” He would be convicted on 76 out of the 77 counts. He got fifteen years261.

Pellicano had already been in prison for five years when his trial began. During that time he divorced his fifth wife, Teresa Ann DeLucio, and re-married his fourth, Kat Pellicano. After his conviction, they would divorce again. There was the possibility that Pellicano made sure to be found guilty by acting as his own lawyer, all in order to take the fall for his clients in exchange for a big pay-off for his family; this was refuted by Kat Pellicano when she was a guest on John J. Nazarian’s podcast, “John Unleashed (09/23/2013)”.

This fragment is taken from the section 12:30 to 14:12 of the podcast:

NAZARIAN
What I really don’t understand, is by my research on him, and his like a daughter, like a son, like a family, family this, family that…and in the end, he pretty much left you high and dry. And that I really have a problem with.

KAT
So did I. Honestly, I was in denial for a long time. I kept thinking, he can’t really have left us with no money. And even people who are very close to me, people who’d known me for years, thought I was not telling the truth, that I really did have money, and I really didn’t. I was left probably with about almost two million dollars in debt. Had to file bankruptcy, because the house had to be paid off, because when he was arrested, there was just no more money. That was it. It was pretty much cut off. And…my lifestyle certainly changed. And no, he did not provide for us. And has not, and hasn’t sent any help for us. And whether there was any out there, I don’t know. Yeah…it was basically just starting over, and the scariest thing was, when the kids were younger and they were still in high school, they took a lot of teasing, a lot of ribbing, because they’d get it from the rich kids too. Dad’s on the front page of the newspaper every day. You know, people loved to…and I’m sure parents told the kids…so, the kids had a really rough time in high school, and they were…the two littlest ones were still in high school. I think my oldest had just graduated. And then, of course, being with an autistic son that…very severe, and had, you know, needs. He needs to be cared for, he can’t do anything on his own, so that was…it was tough. You know, and still is, actually, tough.

Pellicano comes across in the audio recordings of his phone calls as someone who is both enraptured by the wealthy and famous, but despises them as well, and despises himself for his adoration. “I was here working late last night for you,” is one thing he tells Starr. “I was gonna call you over the weekend,” Adam Sender says to Pellicano. “I wish you would’ve, because you would have saved me some money and time,” Pellicano replies262. After Chris Rock had sex with a woman and she tried to extort money from him, he calls Pellicano and the detective goes over the detail of Rock coming on the woman’s leg over and over, in a way that suggests a sadistic pornography263. It seems like he wants to ingratiate himself with Rock, but he does so clumsily. He calls him several times “brother” (the only contact to get this appellation, who usually just get called “honey” or “sweetie”), and digresses into giving Rock career advice: “Don’t get too fluffy.” Given that Rock was being accused of rape, and sounds devastated by what might happen next, it might be inferred that he has greater priorities on his mind264. Between marriages, Pellicano brought one date home and suggested they watch celebrity sex tapes, and this feels entirely consistent with this attitude, and the mixture of feelings involved in celebrity worship: I adore you, I hate myself and you for this adoration, I want you vulnerable so I can save you, I want to see you vulnerable because I hate you265.

The case of Rock makes you aware of why celebrities might rely on a man like Pellicano, because Rock comes across very much as the wronged man in this case, someone suddenly overwhelmed by something that could not only destroy his career, but destroy his life. A woman he had sex with is not only alleging that he’s the father of her child, she’s accusing him of rape. “The wonderful thing about this is the police department doesn’t believe her,” says Pellicano, and Rock might have thought: I’m a black man who’s relying on the LAPD believing my side of the story…how utterly fucked am I?266 You can understand the justification for using Pellicano in that context, or to deal with Michael Davis Sapir’s utterly repellent stunt. For me, these moments, and Dominick Dunne’s gratitude for the detective’s help in surveilling a man who’d killed his daughter, off-set some of the other things Pellicano did, but not by much. He was a man who knew enough martial arts that he’d probably end up in a hospital if he ever tried to use it in a fight. His whole mob connection act worked best with people who knew nothing about the mafia; that Bert Fields has Cipriano Corrigan as a guy with mob connections but whose Italian side hails from Tuscany, is probably the biggest laugh in his book267. When you read about Pellicano at his worst, it jaded your view, making you see him as a moronic bullshit artist hired by a man whose half-assed Shakespeare scholarship was a ridiculous affectation, barely covering up the cruelties and leg breaker tactics any more than plush drapes in a shithouse somehow cover up the reek268. “Watching Bert litigate is like listening to Pavarotti sing or Horowitz play. He brings true resonance to the word advocate,” was a quote from Warren Beatty, and your reaction was poisonous: you could see why Beatty had such a great reputation with women, because he sure knew how to please someone with his mouth269.

Pellicano was a tough guy who worked best at a distance, in the shadows, going after people he thought were vulnerable. Pellicano was brought in for the defense of John Gordon Jones, a man who would be accused of drugging and raping several women. Jones would win the criminal trial but lose a civil suit filed by one of the victims, Jane Doe No. 1. This same woman would tell police that someone had gotten into her house, and gone through her files. Pellicano would be found guilty of having an LAPD insider run background checks for him on two of the case’s victims. It appeared the defense had plans to get rid of a deputy district attorney involved in the case, Karla Kerlin, by hurting her with information from her past career as a dancer in Las Vegas. “Vulnerability of Karla Kerlin Because of Las Vegas Background,” said one defense memo. “Pellicano to ‘take out’ DDA Kerlin,” said another. It was a pointless endeavour: everyone in law enforcement knew about her past work, and she’d listed it on her job application. “What was the goal?” Kerlin asked, rhetorically. “Public humiliation.”270 It was a kind of extortion, and in The Lawyer’s Tale by Bert Fields, the lawyer is able to beat an old adversary through private sexual information gained by his detective friend, Cipriano Corrigan. They make sure, however, that it’s not extortion, because that would be illegal; but it sure looks like extortion in appearance, if not in name, to a bystander271.

Pellicano went after the people he thought vulnerable, he went after women, he went after women with children. When Linda Doucett contacted the FBI after Pellicano was arrested, she spoke to the agent heading up the investigation, Stanley Ornellas. Afterwards, she got a mysterious phone call. “Linda,” the caller said, “if you keep talking to your friend Stan, your child, [child's name redacted], won’t be going to [name of child's school redacted].” Doucett was terrified after the call. “I locked my doors, kept my son with me and called a friend,” she would testify during the Pellicano trial. Asked by Pellicano why she thought the call was from him, she answered, “You’re just the only bad guy I know.”272. Producer Bo Zenga would sue Brad Grey over a movie credit, and after that Zenga’s mother received a phone call. If Zenga didn’t drop the lawsuit, the caller threatened, then she, her daughter, and her grandson would lose their house. Her son would end up in prison, he threatened. Bo Zenga’s mother was elderly, in a wheelchair and suffered from diabetes. Calls like this kept coming until the day she died. “This guy is pure evil,” said Zenga273. The point made in The Lawyer’s Tale, that the economic value of people determined absolutely the amount of medical care owed to them, made sense and seemed utterly sincere in this context. The life of Brad Grey had more economic value than that of Linda Doucett and Bo Zenga’s mother, and therefore his life meant more than theirs. Ergo, they could be treated as if their lives were equal to rats or cockroaches. “Why did you investigate me?” Doucett asked Pellicano when she was on the stand. The detective never gave an answer274.

Pellicano left behind a trail of wreckage to gain some favor with the powerful, but in the end, it was an unrequited love. After he went to jail, Fields and the head of Universal Studios, Ron Meyer, went around to raise money for Pellicano’s kids. They only got a few bills from a movie producer. “If no one else is putting up the money,” said Pellicano, “then I don’t want it.” In the phone call with Ovitz, Pellicano exclaims, “Listen: my friend Bert Fields loves you, I love you.”275 Pellicano, Ovitz said in an interview after he was arrested, “didn’t produce anything for us to even ask about. The lawyers hired him. We got nothing, zippo.” Said his lawyer: “We asked for a refund.” Ovitz would describe Pellicano this way: “To me-this is going to sound really stupid-but the couple of times I met him he seemed really out of shape. He was just a regular-looking middle-aged man. He didn’t look like those imposing guys on ‘The Sopranos’ or in ‘The Godfather.’ “276 According to a Pellicano associate, the detective and Fields spoke every day, and if Pellicano was working a case for him, it was several times a day277. It remained, apparently, strictly business. When Pellicano had his fiftieth birthday party, Fields went out of loyalty. “He was a guy who was sort of appealing in the sense that he was struggling to make a living and was very good at his job,” said Fields in Auletta’s “Hollywood Ending”. Asked if she was close to Fields and his art scholar wife, Kat Pellicano would say she wasn’t close at all. “There were things I went to, events I went to with Anthony, where he was there, we didn’t have a social life at all together. His life, and my life, Barbara, Anthony, it was more of a business relationship. I believe I can say all of these people were friends also, but it was more of a business relationship. And we never had them to our home.”278

Pellicano would go to prison, forgotten and not entirely forgotten. “All the people he took a fall for, the heads of the studios, the lawyers, they’re all alive and well,” said fellow Los Angeles private investigator John J. Nazarian. “They all’ve got to be squirming a little bit, as to what it’s gonna be like when Mr. Pellicano has done his time…He shut his mouth, he didn’t say a word, but I don’t doubt for one minute Mr. Pellicano doesn’t have files and records someplace.” Pellicano might have a mountain of lawsuits and leans against him when he got out of jail, but there were ways around that. Nazarian offered a prediction: “When Anthony gets out of prison…he’s gonna live in a really nice home, he’s gonna have a nice car, he’s gonna have a nice watch, nice clothing, nice shoes…and he’s gonna own nothing.”279

After sentencing, there were two interesting footnotes. The first involved FBI agent Mark Rossini, who would plead guilty to illegally accessing his bureau’s database. The information accessed was passed on to a person “X”, and this person was identified by law enforcement as Linda Fiorentino, the actress who’d been Kiki Bridges in After Hours, and the femme fatale of The Last Seduction. Fiorentino’s motives, whether they had to do with a desire to make a movie in which she’d play the part of Kat Pellicano, or some other reason, is unknown. If the Pellicano case had lived up to its hype, this plot twist would have gotten extensive examination, but everyone had moved on280. The other detail came from the only interview Pellicano gave after sentencing, “Hollywood Hacker Breaks His Silence” by Christine Pelisek. The interview took place right after the Murdoch News Corp hacking scandal had broke, on which Pellicano was asked his opinion:

The way Pellicano sees it, the British phone-hacking scandal is kid stuff. “I was way ahead of my time,” he says. What’s the big deal about some tabloid hijacking Hugh Grant’s voicemails? “If Murdoch’s name wasn’t involved, would there be a story? If someone wiretapped Britney Spears, no one would care. The story is, did Murdoch know people were doing this? Did he condone it? I strongly believe he had no idea.”

Pellicano claims never to have lent his services to any of Murdoch’s newspapers, and says he met the mogul only once, “but it had to do with Judith Regan,” his former longtime friend, who was fired from News Corp.’s HarperCollins in 2006. (Regan says she never introduced the two men.)

The Atlantic Wire would summarize that part of the story in Ray Gustini’s “Anthony Pellicano Talks Murdoch, Michael Jackson, and Mafia” as follows:

Despite the vow of silence, he has a habit of letting details slip about how much bigger the scandal would have been if he wasn’t a man who kept secrets. Yes, he’s met Rupert Murdoch, and no, they did not discuss phone-hacking. “[B]ut it had to do with Judith Regan,” he adds, somewhat mysteriously, considering the sheer volume of flare-ups the former HarperCollins publisher had during her time at News Corp.

One can only guess at what this possible meeting was about, but there is at least a basis for a guess. That it had nothing to do with phone hacking is a conclusion made by The Atlantic piece – Pellicano only excludes the specific subject of the phone hacking that became known and caused such problems for the News Corp empire. If Pellicano is telling the truth here (an if that gets bigger the more you read up on Pellicano), there is a guess that could be made about what was talked about. It is a very obvious subject, not mysterious at all as The Atlantic suggests, the very first guess that came to my mind when thinking about what might connect Pellicano with this fascinating, strange, and repellent woman, Judith Regan.

THE PUBLISHER

The common strain that binds these stories is the tabloid. Pellicano worked both sides of the tabloid fence. He fought them off and he fought for them. He fed them information. Judith Regan was a Vassar grad, who was thinking about becoming a professional singer, but ended up working for the National Enquirer. She needed to interview Mia Farrow after her divorce from André Prévin, so she ordered a massive bouquet for the actress and followed the delivery van to where Farrow was hiding out. She disguised herself as a man. She impersonated a sixteen year old and went back to high school. She did a piece on Siamese twins. She did pieces for tabloid TV. A piece on husbands picking up male prostitutes. A piece on breast size. Another Siamese twin story281. She might have been in an easy reading easy watching industry, but there was nothing easy about her. She was tough, smart, hungry, and very beautiful – every profile would mention her looks. Was tough mentioned already? She could play the viola, but her guitar case held a machine gun. She made a wrong left turn in Utah and ended up arrested and strip searched. She fought the law and she won. She described her legal impact succinctly: “You no longer get finger-fucked for sliding through a stop sign in the state of Utah. Thank you, Judith Regan.” She would soon move up out of tabloids and into a more prestigious space, but the tabloids moved with her as well. “I used to say to people, ‘Everything is going to become the National Enquirer,’ and it did. Everything became the National Enquirer, including what I do now. What I do now is a version of the National Enquirer.”282

What she was doing then was be an editor at Simon & Schuster. She would publish Rush Limbaugh’s The Way Things Oughta Be, Limbaugh’s See, I Told You So, Howard Stern’s Private Parts, and Kathie Lee Gifford’s I Can’t Believe I Said That. Amidst this sea of quality, however, it was the often witty Beavis and Butthead who got stuck with the title This Book Sucks. “All I want to do is publish books that make money. That is all I want to do. I want to be a successful businesswoman.”283 In 1995, she was in New York magazine’s list of the hundred smartest New Yorkers, there beside Thomas Pynchon and Sonny Rollins – or rather, Pynchon and Rollins were beside her284. “I wouldn’t want to screw her and have her pissed off at me,” said one of her authors, Richard Marcinko, the former Navy SEAL man who wrote Rogue Warrior. “She’s got the mind of a Jew and the heart of a Sicilian, and she goes for the heart and balls in a hurry.”285 She moved from Simon & Schuster to HarperCollins, a division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, where she got her own imprint, ReganBooks. She would publish Robert Bork’s Slouching Towards Gomorrah, and a memoir of that period might have been called Success Through Slouching! She put out How to Make Love Like a Porn Star by porn star Jenna Jameson, The Accidental Life of the World’s First Supermodel by supermodel Janice Dickinson, Hating America by America lover John Gibson, and Stupid White Men by America hater Michael Moore. She became the most successful publisher in the country286.

There was universal consensus that she was beautiful, smart, tough, hungry. And utterly fucking insane. “I’m a sick woman to do what I do,” she’d say while at Simon & Schuster. “I wish I had another choice, because if I had another choice, I’d do something else. Because this is a horrible life. It really is a horrible life, and I hate most of it.” You have a horrible life?, a wisenheimer might have asked. Try working for you. In her office, she thought, “90 percent of the people hate my guts.”287 The figure might have been off by about ten percent. One ex-friend gave a psychological assessment: she was “the highest-functioning deranged person I’ve ever known.” Fox News president Roger Ailes would go on a date with her and call it “the scariest three hours of my life.”288 Her imprint had six or seven employees, and over two years, twelve people left it. “She is,” said a former employee who’d had no difficulty with tough bosses before, “a destroyer of souls.” Employees fell apart because of stress. They had nervous breakdowns. They got out of New York City. They got out of New York State. “You have no idea how crazy she is. None,” said a veteran still haunted by the experience. “Many of us who worked there still get together years later. We became very close, because you had to stick together to survive it.” Another employee had a welcome bluntness you associated with the books of the Regan imprint: “She’s fucking crazy! She’s a crazy bitch!”289

The tabloid sensibility is about moving papers, not about prestige, or distinction, or advertising, and as a subsidiary of News Corporation, Regan was blazingly successful with the tabloid approach while working for a tabloid master, Rupert Murdoch. Tabloidism embraces sudden melodramatic shifts in tone, and there was a tabloid twist here as well: things were going great until suddenly, everything went wrong. Success permits you eclecticism, but even Regan’s overwhelming success didn’t entirely permit hers. She and Janet Friedman, the head of HarpersCollins, hated each other. Various attempts were made to get Regan to deal with people in a way more proximate to normal human interaction, but nothing worked. Regan was exiled to Los Angeles. Then, ReganBooks was going to put out If I Did It by O.J. Simpson, in which he would confess to how he’d killed his wife and Ron Goldman, not an actual confessional, only a thought experiment if he did it. This was a project that had been signed off on by Friedman, by Murdoch, and by Regan – everyone in the company wanted it, and everyone expected it to be a huge money-maker. The reaction, however, was a revulsion that Regan hadn’t encountered before, not the friendly publicity flames of controversy, but a fire that would burn Regan down. It was, said thought leader / media watcher Howard Kurtz, the “most appalling, shameless, exploitative thing I have heard of in the history of television, maybe the history of recorded civilization.” Regan knew tabloids, so she should have known that tabloid stories always have a tabloid villain – and she’d be perfect for the role. Though everyone had signed off on the book, she’d be the foul creature who’d breached the News Corp. citadel with this disgraceful project. Rupert Murdoch was about to buy the Wall Street Journal, and the Journal couldn’t be bought unless this kind of sensation mongering was an aberration, the work of an intruder. Some anti-jewish remarks she made to a News Corp. executive, along with her overall toxic personality, were cited as cause, and she was thrown out the window290.

News Corp. would happily feast on their own. In her eventual lawsuit against the company, Regan would describe this as the “nuts and sluts” strategy, where the woman target is falsely described as crazy, “slutty”, hysterical. Bill O’Reilly attacked her. Greta Van Susteren attacked her. The New York Post would publish an interview with Regan’s ex-husband. For years, she had alleged that he’d beaten her. He was a former drug smuggler who’d served time in jail, and space was now given over to him to deny that he’d beaten her. He alleged that she’d profited from his dealing291. News Corp. didn’t stand a chance in this fight. Regan, to understate things, was not exactly a rag doll to be tossed away. “I wouldn’t want to screw her and have her pissed off at me,” said a former Navy fucking SEAL. “She goes for the heart and balls in a hurry.” Regan got out her knife real quick. This is where Pellicano’s story may or may not overlap with hers.

Regan would file a $100 million suit against News Corp for defamation and wrongful dismissal. Her lawyer in the suit was Bert Fields. Both Fields and Pellicano would be described as long time friends of Regan. Players, Fields’ book of Shakespeare scholarship, and a book by his wife, Barbara Guggenheim, on decorating with thing bought on eBay, had been published by ReganBooks292. A striking point in the lawsuit dealt with the fact that a top executive at News Corp. had instructed her in 2004 to lie to federal investigators and hide documents from them. These deceptions involved Bernie Kerik, the police commissioner who was a close associate of Rudy Giuliani, and who had just been nominated for the head of Homeland Security. Kerik was a married man with two mistresses, and one of them was Regan. Kerik’s life would soon unravel, despite Regan’s silence, entering an unimaginable descent as he ended up convicted of fraud and conspiracy. Though News Corp. had a seemingly strong case against Regan, they would suddenly settle very quickly for ten million dollars293.

Years after the settlement, in 2011, a reporter would stumble on documents related to the case were never sealed, and they were accidentally placed in the public case file. The article written as a result of these documents was “Fox News Chief, Roger Ailes, Urged Employee to Lie, Records Show” by Russ Buettner. I give the most crucial section of the text:

It was an incendiary allegation – and a mystery of great intrigue in the media world: After the publishing powerhouse Judith Regan was fired by HarperCollins in 2006, she claimed that a senior executive at its parent company, News Corporation, had encouraged her to lie two years earlier to federal investigators who were vetting Bernard B. Kerik for the job of homeland security secretary.

Ms. Regan had once been involved in an affair with Mr. Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner whose mentor and supporter, former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, was in the nascent stages of a presidential campaign. The News Corporation executive, whom she did not name, wanted to protect Mr. Giuliani and conceal the affair, she said.

Now, court documents filed in a lawsuit make clear whom Ms. Regan was accusing of urging her to lie: Roger E. Ailes, the powerful chairman of Fox News and a longtime friend of Mr. Giuliani. What is more, the documents say that Ms. Regan taped the telephone call from Mr. Ailes in which Mr. Ailes discussed her relationship with Mr. Kerik.

It is unclear whether the existence of the tape played a role in News Corporation’s decision to move quickly to settle a wrongful termination suit filed by Ms. Regan, paying her $10.75 million in a confidential settlement reached two months after she filed it in 2007.

I now excerpt the section of this article which may involve the overlap of Anthony Pellicano with this case. I bold the part that is especially relevant:

Discussion of the recorded conversation with Mr. Ailes emerges in affidavits from Ms. Regan’s former lawyers who are seeking to document the work they did on her case and for which they argue they deserve the contingency fee. They describe consulting with a forensic audio expert about the tape.

I now turn to an article written after Pellicano was first imprisoned on the possession of explosives charges, “Credibility of Hollywood private eye shattered” by Scott Glover and Matt Lait. It deals with the messy aftermath following his conviction. I excerpt the text, and bold the most relevant sentence. It may explain why Pellicano said he met with Rupert Murdoch on something to do with Judith Regan. The bolded label was often used to describe Pellicano

LOS ANGELES – Anthony Pellicano, the famed Hollywood private eye, was fond of saying he would go to great lengths to solve his celebrity clients’ problems, even if it meant whacking somebody with a baseball bat or resorting to blackmail. He cultivated an aura of danger, boasting that he knew how to shred someone’s face with a knife.

Yet for three decades, prosecutors across the country had no hesitation about using him as an expert witness in dozens of cases. Despite his unsavory image and win-at-all-costs reputation, Pellicano built a lucrative career as an “audio forensics” expert, analyzing and enhancing tape recordings.

Interviews and court documents show that prosecutors often turned to Pellicano to examine disputed evidence in troubled cases. In some instances, he vouched for the authenticity of tape recordings that defendants said had been altered. In others, he enhanced garbled or faint recordings after other experts, including those at the FBI, couldn’t.

I add one last note on this point, from the novel Because She Can, a book by Bridie Clark, a former ReganBooks employee which is believed to be a disguised portrait of life at the firm and of Judith Regan, here given the name of Vivian Grant. That the book was a veiled look at Regan and ReganBooks was a widely circulated belief. I give as an example the post though which I heard of this book, Gawker‘s “‘Because She Can’ Book Club: Rudith Jegan Is One Brazy Critch!” by Emily Gould. There is also the promotional excerpt in Vanity Fair, “Because She Can (excerpt)”, whose introduction takes the space to note that Clark was a former editor at ReganBooks. Grant, like Regan, is a beautiful lunatic with a striking resemblance to Isabella Rosellini. She refers to her ex-husbands as the inseminators; Regan on men: “The only thing they’re good for is semen.
They’re inseminators! That’s all they are!” She publishes books by authors that bear a striking resemblance to Sean Hannity and Janice Dickinson, ReganBooks alumni. She is angry, crazy, and given over to indiscrete dirtiness. “I am so horny,” says Vivian. “I just humped the arm of my chair. My son walked in while I was going at it and screamed, ‘Mo-om!’ That pretty much took all the romance out of it.” She has an affair with a big scary married associate of a tough on crime mayor. When they break up, she destroys the deputy mayor by sending out a photo of him in a dress294. “Ridiculous, and, by the way, a terrible novel,” said Regan of the book295.

Because She Can was published in 2007, a year before the Pellicano trial. In The Lawyer’s Tale, Bert Fields writes of a Hollywood where there is an expectation that movie studios are bugged. It is an observation confirmed in the Fields profile “Hollywood Ending” by former Variety editor and Paramount executive Peter Bart296. This culture of surveillance is there as well in the publishing firm of Because She Can that may or may not be ReganBooks. Whether there was any wiretapping of the actual ReganBooks, and whether Pellicano was involved in that is an open question for me. I give two points in Because where this surveillance is brought up.

Somehow, the Judith Regan figure (Vivian Grant) is able to figure out the phone number for the heroine, Claire Truman. The bolds are mine.

“Hello?” I panted.

“Claire. Vivian. What have you put together for the Sweet D-licious book?”

Vivian. My heart rate didn’t slow down. How the hell did she get my home phone number? It was unlisted, and I’d lied to her assistant and said I used only my cell phone. I’d even asked Randall to keep it confidential. How had she found it? And why was she calling me at 2:00 in the morning?

“Claire? You there? Where are we with Sweet D? I don’t have all night!”

The other, much shorter point, comes when a long-time employee is instructing the heroine, Claire Truman, in best practices while she’s working there. I bold the most important part:

“Yeah, I know you don’t now,” Phil interrupted, “but just wait. Rule four: Okay, I’m not saying our phones are tapped. I’m just saying that it’s not a bad precaution to leave the building when making a private call.”

Judith Regan’s lawsuit contains a section called “Prayer for Relief”, which is very much a legal term, but given the driven passion of this woman, I misread at first as “Pray for Death”. You realize, while reading about Judith Regan, that you find it far easier to believe her being able to kill someone with a shoelace than Anthony Pellicano. Those who see a mixture of sympathy and loathing for her in this post are seeing keenly. There is always some confusion in profiles of Regan about how a woman who treats some people so well, can be such a compassionate and understanding person to some, can act so despicably to others. The division, however, is fairly clear in all these pieces: she treats friends, family, and luminaries, such as writers Wally Lamb and Douglas Coupland, with grace, warmth, and a strong hand, while she deals with the expendable as expendable297. The cruel irony is that she would discover, as we have seen, that she could be as expendable to others as others were expendable to her. Her lawsuit took issue with the sluts and nuts attack by News Corp., and assailed the sexist ethos of the company, but she explicitly had no such issue with it before: “[Roger Ailes is] a man of a certain time and tradition,” Regan would say in “Mad as Hell” by David Brock, a profile of the Fox News sachem. “He’s a sexist, but I’m in favor of sexism.”298. The suit condemned a damning profile in Vanity Fair, “The Trouble With Judith” by a former close friend, Michael Wolff, as part of a co-ordinated attack on her by Fox – she alleges that Wolff got interview access to Murdoch for his book The Man Who Owns The News in exchange for the takedown299. Yet it omitted an even more damning profile which had appeared before the O.J. Simpson debacle, “The Devil and Miss Regan” by Judith Newman. The following excerpt from “Devil” conveys how cruel she could be, a cruelty that’s only funny on the outside, a cruelty a worker had to abide, because she was the boss, and you were expendable:

And politically correct she is not. Many staffers—and other colleagues—had epithets according to their sexual orientation or ethnicity: “I was the lesbian cunt,” says one former competitor. “Then there was the black cunt.” When she got mad, people were called “fucking retards” and “fucking idiots”; if she got really mad, she’d accuse people of being either “fags” or “on drugs” or, preferably, both. “Judith was always insisting to me I was gay—and if some issue came up that involved women, I knew nothing, because—she’d shout at me—’You’ve never slept with a woman!’ And I was like, O.K., whatever!” says Dana Isaacson, now an editor at Random House.

As said, Regan includes and leaves out what is to her convenience in her lawsuit. She includes the quotes from the Vanessa Grigoriadis profile, “The Judith Regan Story”, which condemn Rupert Murdoch and HaperCollins head Janet Friedman as being very much involved in the development of the O.J. Simpson book, while she omits the following passages from the Grigoriadis profile, all the more damning given that the basis for her dismissal was uttering anti-jewish slurs. Note that Grigoriadis writes as someone who admires this woman, who does not dislike her on impulse, who wants to work for her, but does not, because of the counsel of those who have already:

A few years ago, after I wrote a story for this magazine on the then-burgeoning Internet-dating scene, timid young editors from ReganBooks began to call to ask if I wanted to write books on various topics, such as the man with the biggest penis in the world. Um, no. Regan asked me to lunch, and we instantly bonded. To a woman, there’s something enticing about Regan’s anti–plastic surgery, pro-sex feminist stance, mixed with a She-Devil-ish anger at the power men have in the world (even though she sometimes expresses it by saying that she’s going to eat their testicles). She told me that I reminded her of herself when she was younger and that she could give me a great job, show me the ropes, take me on a tour—perhaps one day I would even become as powerful as her. “I used to be a writer, too, but I wanted to do more in the world—don’t you?” she asked. Yes! I told her I was worried about managing a career and a family, and it seemed like I could have only one or the other. You can do it all, she said—don’t let anyone trick you into thinking it’s a choice. Wow. Aren’t you sick of playing by men’s rules, having male editors, writing about what men want you to write about? she asked. She was building her own gang, her own posse, to take on the publishing industry, and I was going to be her capo. We had to make our own group, she said, like the Jews.

Somehow, this didn’t make me run screaming from the restaurant (I am married to a Jew, for the record). I think I took it as a joke at the time, plus, as many of her supporters have pointed out in the wake of the scandal, she says so many crazy things in conversation that such statements don’t sound like ugly hatemongering coming out of her mouth. Anyway, I didn’t go work for her, although we delved into it further, and though she has always been kind and delightful when I’ve seen her, when I hear what employees have to say about her—usually assistants—I’m pretty glad I didn’t. Usually, they start the conversation by screaming, “She’s fucking crazy! She’s a crazy bitch!” And “It’s really sad. If she had the trust gene instead of the paranoid gene, she could be the Oprah of publishing.” And “There were a bunch of assistants sitting in one small area, and Judith would call them cunts who only had a job because of her hard work.” And, perhaps most viciously, “She’s just afraid she’ll end up back in Long Island someday.”

Regan also leaves out the full title of the Grigoriadis piece, a very funny one and very much a nod to the ReganBooks sensibility, but which Regan and I’m sorry to say, New York magazine in its web tag, cut down to its post-colonial part: “Even Bitches Have Feelings: The Judith Regan Story”. Though a tabloid title, it is one that combines sympathy and antipathy for its subject, just as the profile itself contains a complexity that the tabloid sensibility does not allow, where you were either villain or victim. News Corp. made her into a Bitch Queen; a post-defenestration essay by Regan in Harper’s Bazaar, “I Took the Blows and Did It My Way”, was accompanied by a photo of her gorgeous, pierced by arrows. Your wiseacre self thinks: given all this jewish cabal stuff, wouldn’t a crown of thorns be more appropriate?

If you were you to ask me what it is I respect in her, it is the most obvious, most primal aspect: I know she can more than hold her own in a street fight. To which someone might say: in the world we live in now, that’s the only thing that counts, isn’t it? To which I would reply: I hope like fuck it’s not.

(On October 23rd, 2013, some explanatory notes were added for the Pellicano phone transcripts in footnotes 214 through 219. On that same day, text on surveillance in Hollywood and the accompanying footnote 295 was added. On October 24th, some additional text on Regan and the accompanying footnotes 297 to 299 were added. On October 25th, some text was added on the similarities between Judith Regan and Vivian Grant, with accompanying footnotes 294 and 296. On October 25th, some new explanatory text was added to footnote 218. On October 27th, footnote 268 was added. On October 30th, the material on the Michael Hastings article “The Tragic Imprisonment of a Hollywood Icon” and details from the case of John McTiernan were added to footnote 214. On November 11th, 2013, the link to the piece by Jill Pellettieri on Fields’ novels was added to footnote 224.)

RISING SUN:

THE IMAGE OF THE DESIRED JAPANESE

PART ONE PART TWO PART THREE PART FOUR

FOOTNOTES

209 From “Talk of the Town” by Bryan Burrough and John Connolly:

No scandal in Hollywood history can compare to the Anthony Pellicano wiretapping scandal. Not the Fatty Arbuckle murder trials, of the 1920s, not the killing of Lana Turner’s lover Johnny Stompanato, in 1958, not director Roman Polanski’s statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl, in 1977, not even the late-1970s Indecent Exposure embezzlement scandal involving producer David Begelman. “People out here, they’re talking about this endlessly,” says media magnate Barry Diller. “If you’re talking to people in L.A. right now, it’s the only topic.”

210 The quote by Murdoch about Ovitz is from “Rupert in Wonderland” by Michael Gross, specific page “Rupert in Wonderland (page 36)”:

It’s around 7 P.M., and our talk is ending when one of Murdoch’s secretaries slips into his office, holding a piece of paper for him so that I can’t see it. “Is he on the phone now?” Murdoch asks her. She nods. “I’ll call him back in two minutes,” he says, then looks away, briefly distracted.

Murdoch may be a king, but in today’s Hollywood, there is still a higher authority.

“God calling,” Murdoch murmurs, almost to himself. “Hmmmm. Mike Ovitz.”

The line about Elton John is, of course, a reference to “Levon”.

211 From “Talk of the Town” by Bryan Burrough and John Connolly:

“There will always be people who’ll do the bidding of powerful and wealthy people,” observes Gavin DeBecker, the noted security consultant. “I’m more curious about the people who do the hiring than about the guns for hire. The book wasn’t called The Luca Brazzi Story, you know. It was called The Godfather.”

212 From John J. Nazarian’s podcast with guest Kat Pellicano, “John Unleashed (09/23/2013)”. Times in parentheses indicate where in the podcast audio the excerpts approximately take place.

(35:10-36:00)

ROSE
We have a question for either one of y’all. Why do you think Anthony did not roll over on a couple of people for this? Was it just that type of loyalty, or did he figure he saved it for a rainy day? Either one of you.

KAT
Well, I’ll let John speak to, but honestly, Anthony had…you don’t rat, you just don’t. He used to tell the girls, don’t rat, you don’t rat on each other, it’s just part of his character. It’s just loyalty, and you just don’t rat on people. And that was what he truly, firmly believed. He just wouldn’t do that. Just not in his make-up. You know, whether that’s a character flaw or not, I don’t know. [starts laughing]

(36:18-37:07)

NAZARIAN
I agree, he had this Sicilian thing about omerta, and this and that…the problem is that doesn’t cut both ways. He had this sense of loyalty to- (inaudible) to not snitch on- but he left his family high and dry.

KAT
Well, that’s what I said to somebody. Somebody said to me at one point, they were really admiring that he didn’t rat on anybody, and I said yeah, he didn’t rat on anybody, but what happened to us because of that is our family suffered, you know, irreperrably, literally. You know, whether it’s to be admired or not, I’m sure a lot of people do admire that, personally I would have preferred that the kids were able to have money for college and food, you know, but…(inaudible), so what are you gonna do?

213 From “Seagal under Siege” by Ned Zeman and John Connolly:

Later, Ciccone, Cassarinio, the Nasso brothers, and another Gambino associate, Richard Bondi, paid Seagal a visit in California. They’d heard that Seagal had been complaining about their alleged threat. (What they hadn’t heard was that they were under surveillance.) On June 5, Cassarinio tells Ciccone, “Your name was mentioned in a bad way [by] somebody over in California….He’s running scared shit.”

In a later phone call that day, Cassarinio says that Seagal believes “if he doesn’t come up with that thing…” Then Ciccone finishes the sentence: “…that they were gonna hurt him.”

(Note, if you will, the artfully cryptic speech, devoid of names and specifics, honed and perfected during years of eavesdropping by the Feds. At one point, enraged that his minion was getting a bit too expansive, Ciccone rails at Cassarinio, “Primo, I might as well have this conversation in front of the fuckin’ courthouse….What the fuck is wrong with yous guys? I don’t understand yous… It’s a phone. I mean what the fuck? I mean, we’re on phones.”)

214 Perhaps the greatest recent focus given to the McTiernan case was “The Tragic Imprisonment Of John McTiernan, Hollywood Icon” by the late Michael Hastings, and I’m sorry to say, I think it’s beneath the standards of Hastings, well known for his excellent skeptical work, and beneath the standards of most reporters. A majority of the piece is given over to the fact that prosecutor Daniel Saunders was once an aspiring actor, that he may have tried out for a part in The Hunt for Red October, and that this may have motivated the prosecution of McTiernan. Hastings gives us no conclusive proof of any of these assertions. What McTiernan did is, I think, at every possible moment understated and diminished. He hired Anthony Pellicano to record hours and hours of phone calls – “there’s tons of stuff” says Pellicano to McTiernan in the audio of the phone call of a producer, Charles Roven. During this phone call, Pellicano makes clear the illegality of what they’re doing – “Hope there’s nobody listening to this conversation, I hope?” is one key moment.

Hastings describes McTiernan lying to the FBI as follows:

On the evening of Feb. 13, 2006, while McTiernan was eating dinner, a man identifying himself as an FBI agent called the director’s home in Dayton, Wyoming. McTiernan attempted to cooperate, answering a question about divorce lawyer attorney Dennis Wasser, who’d regularly retained Pellicano’s services. The voice on the phone then asked if he’d hired Pellicano while remaking Rollerball. As his former attorney, Olivier Diaz, described the call: “‘So, Mr. McTiernan, you deny hiring Pellicano for Charles Roven.’ John said yep, hung up the phone, and forgot about the call. Two weeks later he was arrested for lying to an FBI agent. The government later asserted that Mr. McTiernan was not completely truthful in this telephone conversation and charged him with a federal felony.” McTiernan had also recently returned from Thailand and was jet-lagged and taking medication.

(UPDATE: McTiernan’s current legal counsel, Henry E. Hockeimer, Jr, disputes the former attorney Diaz’s account, citing the FBI’s 302, a summary of the bureau’s phone call with McTiernan: “During the call on February 13, 2006, McTiernan was asked if that was the only time he hired Pellicano, and McTiernan said it was and ended the call. In fact, Roven’s name never even came up during the phone call with the FBI.”)

This description implies a single question that McTiernan, jet lagged and tired answered incorrectly. A section from “United States Of America v. John McTiernan No. 10-50500 D.C. No. 2:06-cr-00259-DSF” affirming his conviction, describes a lengthier series of questions and answers, not a single yes/no response, but an extensive series of denials.

From “United States Of America v. John McTiernan No. 10-50500 D.C. No. 2:06-cr-00259-DSF”, specific page “United States Of America v. John McTiernan No. 10-50500 D.C. No. 2:06-cr-00259-DSF (page 3)”:

On February 13, 2006, McTiernan was interviewed by telephone by Special Agent Stanley Ornellas of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) in connection with an investigation into former private investigator Anthony Pellicano’s use of illegal wiretapping. Ornellas asked whether McTiernan had knowledge of Pellicano’s wiretapping activities and [whether he] had previously discussed wiretapping with Pellicano. In response, McTiernan stated that he had never discussed wiretapping with Pellicano, that Pellicano had never mentioned his ability to wiretap telephone calls, and that he had used Pellicano’s services only once, in connection with his divorce.

The responses made to Special Agent Ornellas’ inquiries were false. McTiernan later admitted that he had hired Pellicano in or around August 2000 and paid him at least $50,000 to conduct an illegal wiretap of two individuals, one of whom was Charles Roven, the producer of a movie that McTiernan was then directing. Pellicano installed the wiretaps, listened to the subjects’ business and personal telephone calls, and reported their contents to McTiernan.

The more egregious absence of Hastings’ story deals with Suzonne Stirling. Stirling was a witness to a shooting by McTiernan’s son, Ethan Dubrow. In 1993, Dubrow was showing a gun to several dinner guests when it went off, killing one of them, Adam Scott. Ethan Dubrow plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter. When McTiernan divorced his wife in 1997, it was a nasty separation, and McTiernan hired Pellicano to gather information on his now ex-wife. The ex-wife, Donna Dubrow, would sue her ex-husband after the indictment of Pellicano, alleging that the detective had wiretapped her (briefly reported in “Ex-Wife Sues Director in Latest Pellicano Twist”). During the contentious divorce, Stirling alleged that Pellicano gathered information on her and harrassed her. She made these statements in a sworn declartion. This information comes via “Links Between Pellicano, Director Come Into Focus” by Claudia Eller, Greg Krikorian And Kim Christensen, as does the following excerpt which describes Pellicano’s harrassment of Stirling:

Ethan Dubrow was 26 in 1993 when a shotgun he was showing to friends at his Los Angeles home discharged, fatally wounding one of his dinner guests, Adam Scott.

After initially telling police that he thought the gun was not loaded, Dubrow later pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Scott, 27, the son of Jack Scott, then president of Pasadena City College and now a Democratic state senator from Altadena.

In May 1998, several years after Dubrow’s guilty plea, one of the witnesses in the shooting said Pellicano called her and implied that she had been involved in obstructing justice in the case. He accused Ethan Dubrow and his attorney of hustling her out of the country before she could testify.

The witness, Suzonne Stirling, said in a sworn declaration that she at first put Pellicano off, but called him back a few hours later to deny Pellicano’s allegation that she might have obstructed justice and to ask why he was raising questions about Scott’s death.

Stirling said Pellicano initially refused to identify his client but relented, saying “he had been hired by John McTiernan, who was getting a divorce from Ethan’s mother.”

When she asked him what that had to do with Adam Scott’s death, Stirling said, Pellicano told her the case had not been thoroughly investigated and it was unheard of that Ethan Dubrow had served no time in jail after his conviction.

“Mr. Pellicano told me that Ethan was not working, that Ethan’s mother was supporting him, that the money for Ethan’s support was coming out of John’s pocket, and that John wanted to know the truth,” Stirling said in her declaration.

Stirling also said that Pellicano apparently had investigated her as well.

“Mr. Pellicano made several comments to me which made it clear to me that he knew several personal facts about me, including where my grandmother lived,” Stirling said.

That Hastings gives exclusively McTiernan’s perspective, that he entirely understates what McTiernan undertook in terms of eavesdropping, that he completely omits the harrassment of witnesses by this same detective, and that he gives over half of his piece to an ad hominem attack on the prosecutor add up to something that I find to be ultimately disgustingly dishonest. McTiernan, it seems, is entirely in the right because his supporters include Samuel Jackson and Alec Baldwin. People like Suzonne Stirling don’t even need to be written about, because they’re not famous, and therefore they don’t exist. Make no mistake, my ire does not flow from any predisposition against McTiernan, Baldwin, Jackson, or Hastings. I’m a fan of the work of all of these men. I find the excitement people on the right have felt over the indictment of McTiernan and others, because they’re part of the supposed “Hollywood left” to be utterly disgusting. My animus flows out of what appears to be very favored treatment for a celebrity because they’re a celebrity. Hastings’ piece on McTiernan must be a thorough investigation, because it’s by Michael Hastings, when it’s actually a fucking disgrace. The last piece Hastings would publish was “Why Democrats Love To Spy On Americans”. The title is one more sorry example of clickbait; the body of the piece does give the answer, it does not even raise the question. All it does is excoriate democrats for abiding NSA surveillance. Given that Hastings spent one article entirely excusing the hiring of a detective to engage in a massive wiretapping operation and harrassment, the question might in turn be asked of Hastings: what’s your excuse? However much anger might be there in my question, I wish he were still alive that he be able to give angry refutation of all points I’ve raised, and I wish he were still alive both as a selfish reader and as one of many who believed that his work was of critical importance. The skepticism I exercise here is that which I believe he asked of himself and of others.

McTiernan would plead guilty, then withdraw the plea, be charged again, then plead guilty again. Others who contracted for Pellicano’s services plead guilty as well – only McTiernan withdrew his plea. “If prosecutors can do this to John McTiernan,” says Alec Baldwin in “Tragic Imprisonment”, “they can do this to anyone.” This statement suggests a certain lack of worldliness on the part of Baldwin. When you withdraw a plea, you’re charged with the crimes you were originally indicted on. McTiernan was also charged with lying to a judge after pleading guilty about his dealings with his lawyers. He had agreed with the judge’s assertion that counsel had explained the nature of the plea agreement. When withdrawing his plea, he alleged that he’d had inadequate counsel. From “United States Of America v. John McTiernan No. 10-50500 D.C. No. 2:06-cr-00259-DSF”, specific page “United States Of America v. John McTiernan No. 10-50500 D.C. No. 2:06-cr-00259-DSF (page 5)”:

The court [ ] questioned McTiernan about his attorney’s representation and read aloud the stipulated factual basis from McTiernan’s plea agreement. McTiernan confirmed that he and his attorney had discussed his case candidly and that his attorney had considered and advised McTiernan as to the existence of any possible defenses. McTiernan also confirmed that he understood the consequences of his plea and that he was competent to make the plea. He then allocated [sic] to the facts, admitting that he knowingly made false statements to the FBI agent.

The district court also asked McTiernan whether Carlton, his attorney, had advised him on how he should answer any of the court’s questions during the plea hearing. McTiernan told the court: “No, he did not, ma’am.” Satisfied with McTiernan’s answers during the plea hearing, the court accepted his guilty plea.

Two months later, and “eleven days before McTiernan was scheduled to be sentenced, S. Todd Neal, Esq. [ ], advised the government that he would be substituted for Carlton as McTiernan’s new counsel.” Id. at 1164. McTiernan’s sentencing was continued so that Neal could properly prepare for the hearing. Two months later, McTiernan filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea, indicating that he would seek to suppress the Recording if given the opportunity. As detailed by this court’s decision on his previous appeal,

McTiernan claimed that he was entitled to withdraw his plea because his former counsel had provided ineffective assistance. Specifically, McTiernan claimed that his former counsel (1) failed to obtain any discovery materials from the government prior to the time McTiernan entered his pre-indictment plea; and (2) failed to advise him that he could have sought to suppress the Recording on the ground that the Recording was made by Pellicano without McTiernan’s knowledge and consent and for an allegedly “criminal or tortious purpose,” in violation of Title III and 18 U.S.C. § 2515….

From “United States Of America v. John McTiernan No. 10-50500 D.C. No. 2:06-cr-00259-DSF”, specific page “United States Of America v. John McTiernan No. 10-50500 D.C. No. 2:06-cr-00259-DSF (page 7)”:

No longer bound by a plea agreement, the government reindicted McTiernan on two counts of making a false statement to the FBI (one count for claiming that he had hired Pellicano only in connection with his divorce proceedings and the other for denying that he had ever discussed wiretapping with Pellicano), both in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2), and on one count of making a false statement to the district court during his guilty-plea hearing, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1623(a) and (c). The latter charge was based on the fact that, during McTiernan’s guilty-plea hearing, he told the district court that his attorney had not advised him what to say at the hearing, but he later signed a declaration in connection with his plea withdrawal stating that his attorney had coached him and gave him specific wording to use to avoid admitting certain facts.

What had happened to McTiernan was not exceptional, it was not Kafkaesque. It happens every day. McTiernan attempted to withdraw his guilty plea only when sentencing took place. A district court judge refused to allow him to rescind the plea, before it was finally allowed. McTiernan was indicted again. He tried to have the recording where he spoke of wiretapping Roven removed from evidence, and he failed. He attempted to have the judge in his case removed, and he failed in that as well. He then plead guilty. He got more chances to plead to a shorter sentence than many people would. Most people, however, might be unable to imagine themselves in McTiernan’s position because they don’t have, and cannot imagine, spending tens of thousands to spend on the surveillance of their enemies.

The understating of what McTiernan did is not specific to “Tragic Imprisonment”, but is there in again in a Huffington Post interview with McTiernan’s wife, Gail Sistrunk McTiernan on HuffPost Live, “Free Speech Zone with Alyona Mink”.

Transcript is from the tape, between 9:05 and 10:08:

MINK
For those that aren’t entirely aware why John [McTiernan] is in prison right now, if you could just give us a really brief summary as to what it is that landed him in jail.

SISTRUNK
What landed him in jail was his refusal to go along with the prosecution and testify against someone else. The case started with a simple phone call to the home in the evening, one evening at dinner time, from a stranger, he had no idea with whom he was speaking, and that call, the government used to threaten him with false statement charges and, like I said, he refused to testify against someone, and they used the powers of the government…the unlimited resources, our tax dollars, to prosecute him and…after seven years, he finally had to self-surrender. So, we’re very fortunate that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is an ethical group, an ethical panel and have agreed to issue his certificate of appealability. So we can proceed, and that will occur on the first or second week of January.

Transcript is from the tape, between 10:58 and 12:00:

MINK
And how is your husband doing while he’s in prison right now?

SISTRUNK
Initially, it was very difficult, I mean, if you can imagine being persecuted for something that isn’t a crime, and being imprisoned for something that isn’t a crime, because the charges are literally constitutionally flawed, it wasn’t a very good time, initially, in the beginning. And like every life change in life, where you anger, denial, a gradual acceptance…whatever, that’s what has occurred…he has lost forty pounds, and I admit, he could have stood to lose a few, but forty from malnutrition or not eating, wasn’t the way I would have chosen it. He’s actually much better now, he’s writing, he’s observing, and watching and listening, and finding out that the prison is full of cases of prosecutorial abuse and overreach, and there are many people, not all of them of course, but there are many people that don’t even belong there.

I’m sorry to say that Mink does not give any more proper scrutiny to Sistrunk’s claims here than Hastings did. The question I wish to have asked here, without obnoxiousness or vitriol, is what exactly this something is that isn’t a crime. Is paying a private detective to record hours of phone conversations of another citizen illegal or isn’t it?

The following transcript is taken from the audio at “Pellicano Trial: Hear Hollywood Director Dish Film Gossip, Prostitutes, Cocaine and Phone Taps” by Allison Hope Weiner.

The movie that John McTiernan was making at the time was Rollerball. The surveillance Pellicano conducted was of Charles Roven and his wife. Roven was the producer of that film, as well as 12 Monkeys, Batman Begins, and the upcoming American Hustle. Alex Gardner has also worked as a producer alongside Roven, including on the upcoming American Hustle. A brief piece of reporting of the set fire when it happened can be found at “Bad Movie News: Rollerball”. McTiernan complains about the corruption of where they were shooting; they were shooting this movie in Québec, Canada, where there is an ongoing inquiry into links between the mob and the local government, which has led to the arrest of the mayor and deputy mayor of the largest city there, as well as the arrest of many other top political figures. “Jonathan” might be John Pogue, a writer on the Rollerball remake.

PELLICANO
Hello?

MCTIERNAN
How are you?

PELLICANO
I’m beat. Do you realize how much fucking work you gave me?

MCTIERNAN
Well…I think in the process, you’ll get a hell of an education in the film industry.

PELLICANO
Oh, you have no fucking idea…and everything else. Every aspect of everything, if you understand what I mean. Jesus christ. [MCTIERNAN: Huh.] I mean, scheming, wriggling, hypocrisy. I mean, my god. Oh my god.

MCTIERNAN
Not a nice fellow, huh?

PELLICANO
Well…no. I don’t like the way they talk about you, either. I mean, some of it is condescending, and some of it is not, but…anyway, there’s tons of stuff. Do you want me to continue this stuff? It’s getting extremely expensive.

MCTIERNAN
Well, why don’t we stop now…how much more do I owe you now?

PELLICANO
Uh…let’s make it an even twenty five.

MCTIERNAN
Okay. Uh…

PELLICANO
Just send me a cheque, just send me a cheque, just send me a cheque, don’t use-

MCTIERNAN
Uh…how about we spend Saturday, uh, and you take me through it?

PELLICANO
There’s too much.

MCTIERNAN
Take me through the things that seem significant.

PELLICANO
First of all, I can’t do it Saturday, anyhow, cuz of my kids. But the fact is there is so much. I mean, you cannot believe how much there is. It’s tons of stuff. So…I don’t even know where to begin. Let me say this to you: there’s nothing to concern yourself with.

MCTIERNAN
What’d you mean?

PELLICANO
There’s nothing for you personally to concern yourself with. There’s just tons of data. I mean, it’s overwhelming. You know, I did both of them- it’s not only him, it’s her. Now, her, you probably don’t give a shit about. But him, you know, there’s…

MCTIERNAN
Basically I sorta would like to know what he’s saying to the studio and if there’s any place where he’s clearly saying one thing to the studio and saying another-

PELLICANO
Hope there’s nobody listening to this conversation, I hope?

MCTIERNAN
Hmmmm?

PELLICANO
There’s nobody in the room with you, are there?

MCTIERNAN
Oh no.

PELLICANO
Okay god. Phew. Cuz there’s only two people in the world that know about this, and that’s you and I.

MCTIERNAN
Ummmmm…

PELLICANO
So you want me to stop, as of when?

MCTIERNAN
As of tomorrow.

PELLICANO
Okay then, I gotta get…go do some errands this morning. About two o’clock in the morning.

MCTIERNAN
Okay.

PELLICANO
Alright. You sure now?

MCTIERNAN
Well, unless you-

PELLICANO
See, you didn’t give me any direction, honey. You just let me fly. So, that’s all I’ve been doing. but I mean there’s literally hours of…I can’t even listen…[MCTIERNAN: No, I'm sure there's hours and hours.]…there’s too much.

MCTIERNAN
And the problem is…

PELLICANO
The way I’ve got my computer program set up, this is one of a kind, there’s nothing like this in the world. I can separate, but…let me give you an example: he’ll call his secretary, and she places calls for him. She may make fifteen fucking calls. I gotta listen to every one of those, to determine who is calling for what. I mean, he’s involved in so many deals, so many wheels in things…and, you know, I don’t know even where to begin to tell you. And all the names of all the people, and all the phone numbers…and I think at what point in time you’re gonna have to do is to go through all of this data that I’ll give you and say who’s important and who’s not.

(long pause)

PELLICANO CONT’D
It’s just too much.

MCTIERNAN
Okay. What can you-

PELLICANO
It’s overwhelming.

MCTIERNAN
So, what…what can you give me? I understand all of this is sensitive…uh…and this is why you can’t have anybody listen to it or anything…[PELLICANO: Nonono.]….uh….

(long pause)

PELLICANO
If you can give me a list of names of who to pay attention to, I can do that. I mean, I haven’t read any mail that would make me jump up and make me want to call you right away. The only thing is I just didn’t want to spend a fortune of your money…[MCTIERNAN: Nah, that's not a problem.]….I mean, to be honest with you, I’m giving you a big break. This would cost you much much more than that, for just one fucking time alone.

MCTIERNAN
Well, let’s stop now. Uh…

PELLICANO
(sighs) Alright.

MCTIERNAN
And I will…get a cheque to you, but now…how do I…start to read the mail?

PELLICANO
Well, you can’t do it from there, that’s for sure. The only thing I could do is like what I did with you before, if something is interesting.

MCTIERNAN
Okay, let me shift you the names, or specific people he’s either talking to or about…

PELLICANO
Right.

MCTIERNAN
And can they…can your computer go through and find anything?

PELLICANO
Phone numbers, yes. If they specifically dial a phone number, yes. But when they’re incoming calls, you can’t. I have to listen to each one of those.

MCTIERNAN
I gotchyou.

(long pause)

MCTIERNAN CONT’D
I…okay, and part of the program is that you can’t have a thing on there listening for particular words and…

PELLICANO
Nah, nah, that’s in the movies.

MCTIERNAN
Or NSA or somebody.

PELLICANO
Even NSA what they have, is they have an algorithm set up…where they monitor a person for a long period of time, then take out key words, and they program…what it actually is doing is a correlation co-efficient for that particular word.

MCTIERNAN
Uh huh.

PELLICANO
But they…when you hear the shit that they listen for…keywords…it’s…they’re listening…they’re trying to correlate a particular word, yeah. Bombs, and stuff like that. And even bombs is not any good. Bombs will give you all kinds of mis-hits. They have more mis-hits than they have hits.

MCTIERNAN
Oh, I am sure. Nah, but what I mean-

PELLICANO
This just has to be a lot of work, now if you want me to stop, and just go through each and every one, that’s fine, but that’s going to cost you a lot more money. I mean, I had no idea this would be overwhelming. And thank god…and I told you, we’re missing three quarters of it. Cuz three quarters of the stuff, he just dials from his house himself. I mean, this guy is like never there, but he calls in, says “what’s going on?” and then Mia, or Myra, or whatever her name is, and that other kid that works for him make all his calls for him. [MCTIERNAN: Mmmm-hmm.] And then they dial extensions, and the extensions’ secretaries make calls for them from there. So you might have three or four people in the office on the phone and they make another call.

MCTIERNAN
Right.

PELLICANO
I mean, this yaknow, is a thriving business.

(long pause)

MCTIERNAN
Well, why don’t we just start with the…MGM numbers.

PELLICANO
K. [MCTIERNAN: Uh....] I got all that.

MCTIERNAN
Why don’t we just start with that. And, uh, can we talk on Sunday?

PELLICANO
I’m not gonna be here. I’m gonna be with my kids this weekend. The soonest I can talk with you will be next week. Now, had I known this, I wouldn’t have made these arrangements. I would have cancelled it. [MCTIERNAN: Nah, let's talk then.] Had I known this, I wouldn’t have made these arrangements, I would have cancelled it.

MCTIERNAN
Nah, let’s talk then.

PELLICANO
You know I’ve called you like, forty times? [cracks up] At least.

MCTIERNAN
I know, I know.

PELLICANO
That’s okay. I just-

MCTIERNAN
I just can’t delegate this, or have you talk with Katy.

PELLICANO
Listen, I’m not complaining to you. I just wanted to let you know that things were moving, and for you not to worry. But tonight, I just said I just feel…would feel guilty about continuing to spend your money.

MCTIERNAN
No, I understand. Uh…

PELLICANO
I know what you gave me authorization for…but, it doesn’t seem like it’s reasonable.

MCTIERNAN
Well, let’s stop here.

PELLICANO
Well, I’m gonna do that tonight. You know that, I take this down, it’s down. If I put it all back up again, it’s gonna be more expensive.

MCTIERNAN
I understand.

PELLICANO
Now, I wanna tell you something. If it were me, and this is what I told you before…I would rather do his house.

(long pause)

PELLICANO CONT’D
Cuz he’s there…this guy likes to sit at the house and make all his calls. [MCTIERNAN: I got it, but...] And not only that, but when he calls Japan and stuff like that, it’s early in the morning or late at night.

(long pause)

PELLICANO CONT’D
Do those guys matter to you? Hiro and all those guys? And the people over in England? I mean, [inaudible], he raindances with all those people, jesus fucking christ.

MCTIERNAN
Yes, they matter to me.

PELLICANO
Alright, well, ya got everybody. You know, and by the way, when the time comes and you wanna use this stuff, there may be some gold in here for you. I have no fucking way of knowing that.

MCTIERNAN
So what I’ll have to do is come over to your offices and read it.

PELLICANO
Yeah, some point in time, yes. What I’m gonna do, is put it in a safety deposit box. I’m gonna do what you asked me to do, first. [MCTIERNAN: Mmmm-hmmm.] And I’m gonna put it in a safety deposit box until you’re ready. [MCTIERNAN: Okay.] I can always do it, I made a backup also.

MCTIERNAN
What I may do is have Katy come to Los Angeles to read something like that.

PELLICANO
Who’s that?

MCTIERNAN
Katy. [PELLICANO: Ah. Okay.] Kate. [PELLICANO: Yeah.]

PELLICANO
Would she know what to look for?

MCTIERNAN
Well…there’s nobody else I can delegate that to.

PELLICANO
That you can trust. Are you married?

MCTIERNAN
No.

PELLICANO
Ah, then don’t do it. [MCTIERNAN: Kay.] You never know.

MCTIERNAN
Then probably the only one I can trust is the management dropping by with packages for you.

PELLICANO
Nono. [inaudible] Let me tell you something, you’re better off paying me to do this, and just having me go through and start separating and segregating, et cetera. Because I’ve been doing as much as…the most I can give you is three or four hours a day. Then I’m ready to talk to myself.

MCTIERNAN
It’s an enormous amount of time already there.

PELLICANO
Well, I’m telling you, if I want to charge you, you’d owe me double what I’m asking you for. I just feel bad about it.

MCTIERNAN
Well, let’s stop there, and we’ll make arrangements to do some reading.

PELLICANO
Yeah. And I can say if you want me to, continue to pay me to do that, I’ll continue doing that. I’ll just go through what I already have. I mean, when are you gonna wrap? In about six weeks, right?

MCTIERNAN
Oh no. (sighs) Two weeks in, three weeks in. I got twelve weeks to go.

PELLICANO
Okay, I must have misunderstood. I thought you were gonna wrap in six weeks, maybe you were gonna wrap one scenario in six weeks.

MCTIERNAN
I wrap the fifteenth of November.

PELLICANO
Yeah, well.

MCTIERNAN
Well, let’s talk on Monday, how’s that? [PELLICANO: Alright.] I’m starting to catch up. We had a fire here…

PELLICANO
Oh my god. In your house?

MCTIERNAN
Nooooo, nooooo. (the noooo, said in an irritated manner) It burnt part of the set. It burnt a whole big-

PELLICANO
Oh, so that was what that was about? [MCTIERNAN: They burnt part of the set.] Oh, okay. Yeah, yeah.

MCTIERNAN
Labor fighting here. [PELLICANO: Yeah, yeah.] Some of the art department…[PELLICANO: That was what that was about.]…we fired, uh, and we figured they came back and paid us a visit.

PELLICANO
Jesus christ.

MCTIERNAN
God, this city is corrupt. It’s amazing.

PELLICANO
Oh, it’s very corrupt up there.

MCTIERNAN
Everybody’s got their hand out. We have so many kickback things going on.

PELLICANO
Yeah, but that’s the point. The point is, that’s buried in the budget somewhere. But you need to do that when you work up there. You know, they’re looking to save money, but at the end of the day, it costs pretty much the same.

MCTIERNAN
It does. Completely.

PELLICANO
You know. So that’s why I still don’t understand it. I’ve talked to a lot of people about that. You should see, you know The King and I? You should see what they did to Fox in Malaysia. Oh my god, it was just awful. To the tune of million dollars.

MCTIERNAN
They did what for two million? What?

PELLICANO
They spent another two million dollars just on bribes, and guys holding them up, and everything else. Yaknow, The King and I? They lost their ass out there. This is not for public knowledge, but yes.

MCTIERNAN
Uh…Pluto Nash, which is here. Is wrapping this week. Twenty three million dollars overbudget. And only two days late. Which, in effect, translates just to graft.

PELLICANO
Without any question.

MCTIERNAN
Cuz nobody budgets wrong that much. And the movie isn’t overschedule, it’s just people…we have found so many shakedowns going on. So, now we’re paying off the local fire department instead.

PELLICANO
Yes. Makes sense. Yeah, just get some guys out there from the fire department.

MCTIERNAN
It’s cheaper.

PELLICANO
Yeah, get firemen. Sure. Make sense, doesn’t it?

MCTIERNAN
It’s just amazing, the corruption.

PELLICANO
Well, how are you? How’s your health? Okay?

MCTIERNAN
I’m fine, I’m getting through it. In fact, we’re coming out of the woods, now. We had the fire on…last Thursday night. [PELLICANO: So, that's what that was about.] We were shut down for about three days.

PELLICANO
How come you didn’t call me? [MCTIERNAN: Oh, cuz [inaudible]] Wrapped up with something. How’s your cast doing?

MCTIERNAN
Oh, that’s all doing fine. That’s all coming fine.

PELLICANO
You don’t have any problems there?

MCTIERNAN
No, I don’t think so. Do they say we do?

PELLICANO
Well, I heard some little comments. See, what I gotta do, you gotta tell me specific things to listen for, otherwise I think it’s just bullshit. See, this guy fucking takes, see this guy takes sometimes up to ten minutes talking about he’s miffed. And he doesn’t know if he’s really miffed or not, yaknow. Not really unhappy, but he could be uncomfortable…I mean, I wanna fucking scream when I hear this dialogue. I wanna fucking pull my hair out. Because I keep saying GET TO THE FUCKING POINT! Ya understand what I mean? Get to the fucking point. And then sometimes they don’t even do that. And then there’s always a fucking narrative before they even talk about what they’re even calling about.

MCTIERNAN
He’s uh…he comes from a real rich family.

PELLICANO
Oh, is that right?

MCTIERNAN
He’s a real rich ne’er do well. He’s a rich fuck-up, is what he is.

PELLICANO
He have that much money?

MCTIERNAN
Uh, I think his family had a lot of money from real estate in the Valley. You’d be able to find out.

PELLICANO
I could, if that’s what you wanted.

MCTIERNAN
Nono, I mean just for yourself. You’ll be able to look up the name Roven.

PELLICANO
Oh, I don’t give a shit.

MCTIERNAN
His father is a builder up there.

PELLICANO
He’s building some stuff, he’s having trouble with the builders…there’s all kinds of personal shit here. It’s loaded with personal shit. Just loaded. And his lawyer, Jake Bloom, is a very close friend of mine. So, I mean, if this guy decided to do something with you, it would take one phone call to Jake, and that would be the end of that. I can guarantee you that. Just one phone call from me.

MCTIERNAN
Actually, Jake used to be my lawyer for quite a while.

PELLICANO
I didn’t know that. And-

MCTIERNAN
I was with Alan Hergott, his younger-

PELLICANO
Oh yeah, right right. One phone call from me, and he would straighten him out instantly. Cuz Jake uses me for all that stuff. believe me when I tell you that they’re gonna go with me then with anybody else.

MCTIERNAN
Yeah. Jake’s an okay guy.

PELLICANO
He is, if you can control him.

MCTIERNAN
We call him Pancho.

PELLICANO
He looks like, uh, Jerry Garcia.

MCTIERNAN
Yeah, he does. Or Pancho Villa. A jewish Pancho Villa.

PELLICANO
His kid is directing now, you know.

MCTIERNAN
HE IS? [PELLICANO: Yeah, yeah.] I didn’t know that.

PELLICANO
Yeah, a kid directing. So, how do you like the movie so far?

MCTIERNAN
It’s coming alright. Every-

PELLICANO
By the way, there’s a lot of talk by the writers about this, and scene changes and all kinds of shit, and you know all about that stuff, I guess on a daily basis, you know all about that.

(long pause)

PELLICANO CONT’D
Hours about how Jonathan should do this, and how would Jonathan think, and god is it-

MCTIERNAN
Oh they talk, they waste so much time-

PELLICANO
Oh, it bores me to tears.

MCTIERNAN
Don’t worry about that. Don’t get into that. Don’t bother.

PELLICANO
I know, I know. I have to listen through it, to determine if they make a comment about you. See, I’ve been concentrating- If he’s talking to Alex Gardner-

PELLICANO
YES! Yes, exactly.

MCTIERNAN
Don’t bother, don’t bother.

PELLICANO
Don’t bother with Alex Gardner. [next sentence said while straining to find a pen or pencil.] Let me write that down. That’s all boring shit? (pause) Hello?

MCTIERNAN
Yeah, yeah. He’s soaping down the kid in order to get control…to have somebody who sings his praises in the studio. So, he’s trying to promise the kid-

PELLICANO
Are you sending dailies down here, is that what they go watch all the time? [MCTIERNAN: Yeah.] Okay.

MCTIERNAN
They get dailies.

PELLICANO
What have they been saying to you directly? There’s a couple of conversations with you on here too. What is the, what are they saying to you?

MCTIERNAN
They seem to be very happy. They say they’re very happy. The studio says they’re happy.

PELLICANO
Who do you give a fuck about him for if the studio is happy? You know they wanna buy the name United Artists, you know they’re working on that?

(pause)

MCTIERNAN
Yeah, but I got a feeling that’s another…I don’t know. You’ve heard it, do you think it’s real? [PELLICANO: Yeah.] One of his techniques, he makes a promise of a future deal. [PELLICANO: Yeah.] To get more out of the current deal. [PELLICANO: I see.]

PELLICANO
Oh yeah, he fucking wheels and deals. [MCTIERNAN: That's what he's doing-] He sucks this guy Hiro’s dick. And some guy named Stuart in England. [MCTIERNAN: Uh huh.] He sucks their dick big time.

MCTIERNAN
Yeah I know, uh…(long pause) It’s just a question of the specific badmouthing and stuff that he’s doing. Uh…and if he’s…what would really be useful is if he says something bad about studio guys to the guy-

PELLICANO
You know the story about me and Michael Hirschmann, right?

(long pause)

MCTIERNAN
No.

PELLICANO
I saved Michael Hirschmann’s life. I saved his career. [MCTIERNAN: Nathanson. Michael Nathanson.] Yeah, Michael Nathanson. I saved his fucking career. He had a whole lot of shit- There was a whole lot of shit with him and prostitutes, and I saved, and cocaine, and I saved him. This fucking guy loves me. Now, if I ever called him up and said to him “McT is my guy, leave him the fuck alone”, that’d be the end of that too.

MCTIERNAN
I hope it won’t come to that. Michael and I have known each other for a long time.

PELLICANO
Let me tell you, Michael fucking owes me, and if I called him up, and I go on my rampage with him, he’s scared to death of me as it is. So that’s all it’ll take.

MCTIERNAN
I don’t think we’ll have to do that.

PELLICANO
Look, you’re my friend, and I’m here for you.

MCTIERNAN
If he’s saying one thing to the studio, and saying something else to Hiro or to the german guys, uh…

PELLICANO
Or the guys in England. Who are the guys in England? Who’s Stuart? Well, actually they are the german guys. That’s right.

MCTIERNAN
I’ll find out who Stuart is. I’ll get names to you tomorrow.

PELLICANO
Whenever you’re ready, I’ll take care of it for you. But I know who everybody is. That’s the other thing. I’ve got streams of fucking phone numbers, streams of them. Do you want me to find out who they all belong to? Or do you give a shit?

MCTIERNAN
I don’t think it matters. Unless I knew more about his business. But I don’t think it matters. I assume he’s talking-

PELLICANO
Well, let me tell you something. You know an awful lot about this business [cracks up while saying the last sentence] Boy, could we cause some chaos. [still cracking up] Do you realize that? I think…we could cause chaos like you have no idea.

MCTIERNAN
Probably. Probably.

PELLICANO
What about her? We talked about him, but what about her?

MCTIERNAN
Don’t worry, don’t spend time on her.

PELLICANO
So should I delete all those files, or keep them?

MCTIERNAN
You can…keep it as an archive for a little while.

PELLICANO
Alright.

MCTIERNAN
We’ll destroy it later on.

PELLICANO
Alright.

MCTIERNAN
Uh…you know, if we find some particular thing, we’ll go looking for what she’s up to, but…

PELLICANO
On a particular date and time.

MCTIERNAN
Uh…but the specific things that would be useful is what he’s saying to the guys in Europe, the guys in Japan.

PELLICANO
Sure.

MCTIERNAN
About the people in the studio. [PELLICANO: Okay.] That would help. [PELLICANO: Okay.] Talk to you later.

PELLICANO
Okay.

MCTIERNAN
Talk to you on Monday.

PELLICANO
You’re gonna have somebody send me a cheque, I hope.

MCTIERNAN
Yup.

PELLICANO
Thank you, I appreciate it, because I’ve been spending my own money on this.

MCTIERNAN
See you later.

PELLICANO
Okay bye.

215 The following transcript is taken from the audio at “Pellicano Trial: Hear Exclusive Audio Of Michael Ovitz Phone The P.I.” by Allison Hope Weiner.

At the time of this call, Michael Ovitz was dealing with major problems having to do with his production company. A good piece on Ovitz’s attempt to re-launch himself is “Hollywood’s Next Sequel: The Return Of Ovitz” by Bernard Weinraub, who was among the targets given to Pellicano by Ovitz. The essential piece on Ovitz after the fall is “Ovitz Agonistes” by Bryan Burrough.

PELLICANO
Hello?

OVITZ
Anthony?

PELLICANO
Yes.

OVITZ
Michael Ovitz.

PELLICANO
Michael Ovitz?

OVITZ
Hmm.

PELLICANO
Hey! How are you?

OVITZ
I’m well. How are you? Sorry to use the-

PELLICANO
She said she said that, alright-

OVITZ
I said it was Michael, she thought it was Anthony’s children, I knew you’d get on the phone. Am I right or am I wrong?

PELLICANO
She would have just said it was Michael Ovitz and I would have got on the phone.

OVITZ
I didn’t want to do that, because I didn’t want her to know I was calling you.

PELLICANO
Let me tell ya…awright, let me tell you why you scared me, because one of my kids was just in a…had a problem. It made my heart beat- oh my god.

OVITZ
Sorry about that. [PELLICANO: It's okay.] I’m in the door. You can always call me if you need medical help. [PELLICANO: I know that.] You need any help at UCLA?

PELLICANO
Not anymore. But I did. [PELLICANO says the following to someone in his office] Can you ask him if I can call him back? Tell him I’ll call him back. [back to the phone call] How can I help you, Michael?

OVITZ
I need this to you.

PELLICANO
When do you want to do that?

OVITZ
When you have time…I have a situation I need advice on, I think it would be- [PELLICANO: Just tell me when.] I think it would be beneficial to you…I think it would be beneficial to you and…probably beneficial to me.

PELLICANO
Listen: my friend Bert Fields loves you, I love you. [OVITZ: Well.] Ya understand what I’m saying?

OVITZ
I appreciate that, but this is incredibly…this is the single most complex situation imaginable, and-

PELLICANO
Well when do you wanna see me? Give me a time.

OVITZ
When I can see you…privately.

PELLICANO
When? Do you wanna do it tonight?

OVITZ
Um…it’s up to you.

PELLICANO
Well, give me a time.

OVITZ
I can do it tonight, I can do it tomorrow, I can do it over the weekend, I just called, I don’t want to make you change your life around-

PELLICANO
Nahnah- tonight I have nothing on my calendar, for tonight, so if you want to do it tonight we can do it tonight.

OVITZ
I only need about thirty minutes. [PELLICANO: Alright.] I’ve got a- I’m going into a-

PELLICANO
You obviously want me to come to you?

OVITZ
No, I’ll come to you, but I’m not coming to your office, I’ll meet you-

PELLICANO
Then tell me where you wanna meet-

OVITZ
K, what I’d like to do, is I’ve got a meeting at five that’s gonna run probably to about seven…[PELLICANO: K.]…and what I’d like is if I could just call you as I’m leaving…

PELLICANO
Let me give you some numbers.

OVITZ
Cell phone number?

PELLICANO
I’m gonna give you my home number and my cell number. [OVITZ: Cell number is 612-5585?] Right. And home number…you ready? [OVITZ: Mmmmhmmm.] 310-888-8708.

OVITZ
I’ll call you as soon as-

PELLICANO
I’ll either be on my cell or I’ll be at home.

OVITZ
I’ll call you one way or the other at 6:30.

PELLICANO
Okay.

OVITZ
Thank you.

PELLICANO
Bye bye.

216 The following transcript is taken from the audio of the file on youtube, “Secret Phone Call Between Chris Rock and Anthony Pellicano”. Of all these transcripts, this is the only one I hesitated in posting, and did so mainly because I think it exculpates Rock entirely, in a way that was not made clear in trial coverage:

PELLICANO
Hey buddy. How you doing?

ROCK
Aaaaaah, I’m alright.

PELLICANO
Alright? What’s the matter?

ROCK
What was it? Steven called me this morning?

PELLICANO
Yeah?

ROCK
Something- The files?

PELLICANO
I don’t want to embarrass you. So I told Steven to have you call me.

ROCK
Alright.

PELLICANO
So I could talk to you about this police report before I give it over to lawyers.

ROCK
K.

PELLICANO
Ya understand what I’m saying?

ROCK
Right.

PELLICANO
Alright. I’m gonna read this to you, I’m not supposed to have this thing. Ya understand that?

ROCK
Right.

PELLICANO
Brother, do you understand what I’m saying to you?

ROCK
I understand-

PELLICANO
I’m not supposed to have this thing.

ROCK
Nobody knows.

PELLICANO
Okay, I’m gonna read it to you. “July 2000, I was contacted by Suzy Karen via telephone about a sexual assault that occurred in Beverly Hills over one year ago. The victim had not reported the assault as of yet, due to her embarrassment.”

ROCK
Suzy Karen-

PELLICANO
Yeah. “Suzy Karen is a crisis intervention counselor for the Los Angeles Commission on the Assaults Against Women, and met the victim, Monika Zsibrita, when she sought counseling at the LACAW for the assault. This is-”

ROCK
And when did she call this?

PELLICANO
I’m reading it to you here, honey. July 2000.

ROCK
Okay, sorry.

PELLICANO
“Ms. Karen indicated that Ms. Zsibrita might report the incident, and I arranged to have the victim call me, in the event that she wished to report it, particularly since she wished to speak to a female officer.” Okay. “Interview: Zsibrita called me and we met on 9/27/2000 at approximately 1400 hours. I interviewed her in a traffic division conference room. Ms. Zsibrita’s mood and demeanour were subdued. She told me that she was still embarrassed over the assault, but felt it was the right thing to do, even though a considerable delay had transpired since the incident. Another reason for the delay is the fact that the suspect is a well-known celebrity who had contacts she believes attempted to intimidate her since the incident. Ms. Zsibrita stated that sometime in the late November or early December, 1998, she went to a Sunday brunch at the Four Seasons hotel, at Doheny and Burton Way. She was there with a girlfriend by the name of Vanessa Norris. At some point, she and her friend Vanessa were standing inside the lobby area of the hotel. That is when she first noticed the suspect, Chris Rock, comedian/entertainer.

He was also in the lobby with some friends. He looked as though he was getting ready to leave. He started staring at her. Vanessa and Monica approached him and said hello. He told her he and his friends were going shopping, and they left. Monica and Vanessa went back inside the restaurant and sat down. Approximately thirty minutes later, Chris Rock returned and sat down at their table, directly across from Ms. Zsibrita. They talked for approximately fifteen minutes, and then he asked her to dinner. She agreed to go out with him, after he left, her friend Vanessa told her, that if she, Zsibrita, went out with him, she should accompany her. Zsibrita dismissed Vanessa’s offer, telling her that she could take care of herself.”

PELLICANO CONT’D
Now, you heard what I just said…now, did anybody, and I mean anybody, try to intimidate this girl?

Nobody, and I mean nobody.

PELLICANO
I got it. Now- By the way, when I’m asking you I’m only asking you because this has got to be turned over to lawyers-

ROCK
I mean- nobody. You’re the toughest person I’ve called for this. I don’t roll…like that.

PELLICANO
Okay babe. That’s okay. Now. What about her comments about what happened that day?

ROCK
As far as what?

PELLICANO
She said that, at some point, she and her friend Vanessa were standing inside of the lobby of the hotel-

ROCK
They came after me.

PELLICANO
Okay. That’s what you told me. I just want to make sure that’s still cool.

ROCK
Yeah.

PELLICANO
Aright. And- Did you come back into the restaurant thirty minutes later?

ROCK
Ummmm…I’m not ssssssssssssssssssss- Noooo.

PELLICANO
Everything happened out there and- Here’s what you told me: you traded phone numbers out there.

ROCK
Yeah.

PELLICANO
And then you left. And then she called you.

ROCK
Maybe I walked back in for like a minute, just waiting, you know, in the wait for the car? It was not like-

PELLICANO
Okay. Here we go. Later that same day, Rock called Zsibrita and left a message to meet the Beverly Hills Hotel at 8pm. Zsibrita drove to the Beverly Hills Hotel since- when she arrived she called his room and he met her in the lobby. He told her to ask for “Clubber Lang” the alias that he was using. He then took her to the Ivy restaurant on Robertson Boulevard in a silver Porsche. That’s that same day now, she’s saying.

ROCK
Okay. I’m- I don’t think it was the same day.

PELLICANO
You tell- Well, you got the receipts that show it was later- like four weeks later, three weeks later.

ROCK
Oh, you got the receipts already?

PELLICANO
No…didn’t Barnes talk to you? Didn’t your accountant find some shit or receive some?

ROCK
Oh, okay. I was in Australia.

PELLICANO
Okay, I’m gonna get Barnes on the phone when we get done. Okay, she recalled a Porsche bearing New York plates. Did you take her in a car with New York plates on it?

ROCK
Yeah.

PELLICANO
Okay. (reading from report) “She said she did not drink, and she did not remember you drinking.”

ROCK
True.

PELLICANO
(reading from report) “Zsibrita recalled Rock asking if she had mentioned to her friend that she’d gone out. She told him that she keeps things private. Although she did believe that she told Vanessa that she was going to dinner with him. While at the Ivy, a female black actress from the Ally McBeal stopped by [ROCK starts cracking up] and said something to Rock”

ROCK
Okay.

PELLICANO
Is that true?

ROCK
That’s true.

PELLICANO
Okay, but it’s not that day. It’s three weeks later.

ROCK
Yeah. Two-three.

PELLICANO
Okay, “After leaving the restaurant, Rock asked her to come back to his room and hang out and watch TV.” Who’s the actress from “Ally McBeal”?

ROCK
Lisa Nichole Carson.

PELLICANO
Who?

ROCK
Lisa Nichole Carson.

PELLICANO
Okay.

ROCK
She’s schizophrenic. She’s got a- Been in the tabloids a couple of times for losing her mind.

PELLICANO
Alright baby. “While in his room, he was reviewed”…Okay, wait a minute…”After leaving the restaurant, Rock asked her to come back to his room and watch TV.” This is all on the same day, now? Ya understand? She’s saying this all happened in one day. “While in his room, he was reviewing a script for the following day. After approximately fifteen to twenty minutes, he tried to kiss her. She pulled away. He then attempted to lift up her skirt. She got up off the couch in the living room and walked away. He followed her and approached her and again tried to lift up her skirt. She resisted and pulled it down towards her. She resisted and he continued to pull her towards him. He took his penis out of his pants and tried to push her head towards his penis.”

ROCK
Didn’t have a skirt on.

PELLICANO
Okay. “She continued to resist. She told him she was not that kind of girl, she was shocked that he would try this with her, she told him that she wouldn’t go out on a date and just sleep with him. She told him that she was leaving and he walked out of the front desk of the hotel with her, valet retrieved her car, Rock paid the valet, and then left.”

ROCK
No. First of all…boy, she must go to the hotel a lot. (inaudible) I stay in a bungalow. Soooo…that’s first of all. With- I’m pretty sure she parked on the side of the street. There’s no valet-

PELLICANO
Yeah, no with a bungalow you just out on the side of the street.

ROCK
Right. Uuuuuuuuh, second of all…I can’t remember what she had on the first time she came over, I don’ think it was a dress, but I know the night we went to the Ivy, she had on white pants. (pause) And I only noticed cuz, you know, my wife’s, real, like, classy, and subdued. And I’m out with a girl with big tits and white pants.

PELLICANO
I got it.

ROCK
I know people are like- ehhhhhhh. [starts cracking up]

PELLICANO
Gonna get it on.

ROCK
Yeah, he, like, “what’s he doing with her?”

PELLICANO
I’m gonna read the rest for you. “Later in the week, he asked her how she was and whether she wanted to hang out, and she agreed. Approximately a week after their first date, Zsibrita met Rock at the Beverly Hills Hotel. He drove her to a dinner party somewhere in the Hollywood hills. The dinner was at the home of Madonna’s singer/actress/business partner of Maverick Records, a man by the name of Oseary. Spelling unknown. There was several other persons present, including Madonna and Elisabeth Shue and her baby…uh, a male subject by the name of Mario and two females.” Who’s Mario?

ROCK
Uuuuuh…friend of mine.

PELLICANO
Mario what?

ROCK
Joyner.

PELLICANO
Okay, what’s he do?

ROCK
He’s a comedian.

PELLICANO
“And two other females. They watched tapes of an interview with Mariah Carey”?

ROCK
Don’t remember. I remember a Sly Stone interview. That’s all I remember. Old Sly Stone, Muhammad Ali, Merv Griffin show. [I think it might have been actually an episode of "The Mike Douglas Show"; the opening is on youtube: "Mike Douglas Show w/Sly Stone & Muhammad Ali 1974 (Part 1 of 4)"]

PELLICANO
Okay…why?

ROCK
Hmmmm?

PELLICANO
Why?

ROCK
Uuuuuh…cause…

PELLICANO
Threw me off for a minute.

ROCK
Because for whatever reason, Sly Stone was hosting the Merv Griffin show, and he was really high.

PELLICANO
She said that Rock was very nice and attentive while they were there, some time between twenty two and twenty three hundred hours. Hold on a sec (off phone, to someone who has just entered the office.) Then why are you in here? What? (back on phone) Chris, can you hang on a second?

ROCK
Sure.

PELLICANO
(off phone, we hear the following at a very low volume though what is said must be yelled at a high volume that we’re hearing it at all) I’m on the telephone. What are you doing in here, and what is it you want? YES! (inaudible) IS A FUCKING DICK! YES! Put it down there, and get the fuck outta here. (back on phone) I’m sorry. Got a thing with my secretary and didn’t want you to hear it. Are you there?

ROCK
Right here.

PELLICANO
“They left the location sometime between twenty two and twenty three hundred hours. Rock drove her directly back to the Beverly Hills Hotel and valeted his car. She told him-” Again, they allay it because you’re parked on the side of the street. [ROCK, at the same time: Side of the street]

ROCK
Stayed at a bungalow.

PELLICANO
And why would she- Why would you go in her car to the dinner party? Did you do that?

ROCK
Why did I- Drive in who’s car, now?

PELLICANO
She said you drove to the dinner party in her car.

ROCK
I doubt it.

PELLICANO
Well, why would you if you’ve got a little shitbox car?

(straining with effort, as if he’s trying to remember) I doubt it. I think my car. I don’t think so. Especially to my friend’s house.

PELLICANO
Yeah. Doesn’t make sense. You can’t remember for sure, though?

ROCK
Ummmmmm, nah I’m pretty sure I had my car. I don’t know why she-

PELLICANO
Alright, “Rock drove her directly back to the Beverly Hills Hotel and valeted his car.” Why would you valet your car, if you took her car?

ROCK
Exactly. But- I’m pretty sure I did not valet.

PELLICANO
But- Now listen to me. She said-

ROCK
We left in her car-

PELLICANO
And you came back, you know, drove directly back, in his car.

ROCK
(inaudible)

PELLICANO
Okay. “She told him it was getting late and said goodbye. Invited to the room to watch TV, and she agreed. During this time, he began talking about himself. [ROCK cracks up.] He told her he was getting a divorce when he went back to New York, where he lives. Told Zsibrita that it would be nice to stay with her instead at the hotel. [ROCK really laughs hard here.]

ROCK
Great.

PELLICANO
“She said that he talked for quite a while and asked her if she wanted to see a video of his show. And then went to the bedroom where he had the video set up. He laid on the bed while she sat on the end of the bed and watched the video. At one point he approached her and pulled her towards him and began to kiss her. He began to pull on her clothing, she recalls she was dressed conservatively, wearing a long black long sleeved shirt and black corduroy pants. She told him-”

ROCK
Jeans and a shirt that said “Sly Girl” on it.

PELLICANO
K. Now, we’re gonna go over this again, because I wanna make sure this is all consistent. Uhhhh…she stood off the bed, she told him she can’t do this, and tried to adjust her clothing. She stood up off the bed. He continued to pull on her. He was very aggressive. He took off his pants. He pulled her head towards his penis to the point where her mouth touched his penis. She kept pulling away, and he was saying “Oh, come on.” With his threats, he pulled her back on to the bed and got on top of her. The next thing she knew, his penis was inside her. She couldn’t remember how he pulled down her pants.” By the way, she got tight corduroy pants on, but you managed to do all that in one thrust, right? “He tried to pull out, and ejaculated on her thigh. She immediately got up and went to the bathroom, where she cleaned herself up with a kleenex. She put the kleenex in her pocket. She fixed her clothes and walked out. He was trying to be nice and walked with her. He was telling her that he wanted to spend more time with her, she was in shock. Her car was parked on a side street, next to the hotel, and she walked to her car. He did not accompany her all the way to the car. She said that she drove herself home and arrived approximately midnight. She felt really embarrassed and did not want anyone to know what happened.” Now we know what the kleenex is all about, don’t we?

ROCK
Well, right.

PELLICANO
Now we know what the kleenex is about. And why they want that DNA test on the kleenex. Now, the lawyers don’t know this, I’m the only one that knows this.

ROCK
Oh boy, I’ve been so set up. God.

PELLICANO
Well. What I need to know from you honey is-

ROCK
[angry] Well, what do you need to know!

PELLICANO
Did- Didja cum on her thighs?

ROCK
Uuuuuuuuh-

PELLICANO
You said you had a rubber on, brother.

ROCK
I had a rubber on probably I took off when I was getting ready to cum. Probably came on her ass. Cuz, you know-

PELLICANO
Okay. So you didn’t cum in the rubber is what you’re saying?

ROCK
No.

PELLICANO
So then it could be your DNA?

ROCK
It could be…

PELLICANO
Let me go on, cuz you’re gonna hear the rest of this shit. “She asked herself what she was supposed to do. She was confused and could not decide if she should clean up. To keep the kleenex safe, she eventually put it in the freezer. When asked what made her think to do this, she recalled Monica Lewinsky did something like that with her dress.”

ROCK
She put it in the freezer, yet she didn’t report it for a year.

PELLICANO
Wait, let me go on. “She also thought she should call the police, but she was too embarrassed. When asked if she told anybody what happened, she said that she did tell an ex-boyfriend who she was still friends.” And this is that Ethiopian guy. “His name is Etienne Ketcha. And she gave a phone number. She said that she did not tell Vanessa till January of 1999, when she knew that she was pregnant.” January 99 when she knew she was pregnant. Are you listening to me?

ROCK
That would mean…

PELLICANO
That means, well: if she knew in January 99 she was pregnant? (pause) If you fucked her in December, how’d she know in January that she was pregnant? What’s she looking for? Anyway.

ROCK
Boy…

PELLICANO
“She did not immediately tell Vanessa that she got pregnant, believing that it would be…she advised that she discovered her pregnancy after missing her period. She later saw a doctor who confirmed this. She said she was absolutely sure she is pregnant as a result of the assault by Chris Rock. Sometime in January 19th, 1999, she saw Guy Oseary at the Four Seasons Hotel. She asked him to please call her, and she gave him her phone number. She told Oseary that she was pregnant, and wanted to talk to Rock. After that, Rock called her. After she broke the news of her pregnancy, and that he was the father, Rock asked why she did not call him sooner. He also asked her if she knew he was married. He then told her he would have someone call her.”

ROCK
That’s- “knew he was married”- which contradicts-

PELLICANO
“She then received a call from an entertainment lawyer by the name of Steven Bartz. She met with him in his office on Chalais Hill in Beverly Hills sometime in April or May of 1999. She met with him alone and said that he was very nice to her. He asked if she would go to their doctor, and she told him no. He also suggested that she go to a DNA facility in Long Beach for a paternity case. Test. She refused to go to this facility. Although another lawyer for Rock, a man by the name of Robert Clayton, she began to receive cheques to assist with her doctor, hospital, and baby costs. She was asked to promise to keep this confidential. She received her last cheque in July of 2000, after Rock told her that the claim of the blood test proved that he was not the father. She was represented by her own attorneys during this time. I asked if she received any calls from Rock during this time. She said that he would call once in a while. These calls were not tape recorded. She recalls Rock saying, during one of her phone conversations, it’s not like anything illegal happened, it’s not like I’m a deadbeat dad. Her baby Salil was born in August of 1999, and in April 2000 she and her daughter did submit to a blood test at Long Beach Genetics. She was told that Rock previously provided blood samples to this facility in 1997. She received the findings from the lab later which indicated that Chris Rock was not the father.

She was incredulous. Her attorneys have filed a motion to have Rock submit to further paternity testing and child support. Ms. Zsibrita provided me with copies of the letters corresponding to Rock’s lawyers as well as the Long Beach Genetics, alleged findings and her lawyers’ motions. All of these provided are attached to this report. Ms. Zsibrita stated that while she was pregnant, since her baby was born, she’d been followed by private investigators that she believed were paid to follow her by Rock’s lawyers. She believes that they have gone into her apartment and gone and removed pictures from her baby within. Ms. Zsibrita did not call the police reporting this. She also received phone calls. She believes that she has the name of the person that is calling her. She also indicated that her photo was taken, and published in the Globe, alleging that the father of the unborn child. The August 17th 1999 issue of the Globe showed the picture. Ms. Zsibrita indicated that she was unaware that her picture had been taken. Ms. Zsibrita indicated that she would co-operate fully with any criminal investigation involving the assault. She said that she is storing the kleenex that she used to clean herself after the assault by Rock in 1998, and the interview was concluded.”

So. Now we know why she kept the kleenex. (long pause) Hold on a second. Now we know why she kept the kleenex. You didn’t tell me that she- And that’s why I didn’t want to chat on the phone with lawyers, brother. [ROCK: K.] Because I don’t want to embarrass you. And I work for you. Understand what I’m saying? So. Ya gotta change your story now. That you came on her leg. And that that kleenex could contain your seed. The thing is, I really believe they’re trying to set you up now. Because: she had to have told her lawyer about this. And they had to have had a copy of this fucking police report. Ya see what I’m saying?

ROCK
Ah! (an exhalation of exasperation and frustration)

PELLICANO
So, talk to me. If this refreshes your memory a little better, tell me what actually happened.

ROCK
What part?

PELLICANO
The part about cummin, man. You said you told me you had a rubber on.

ROCK
I had a rubber, I took it off-

PELLICANO
You didn’t tell me that when we were in the office, honey.

ROCK
Okay, I’m sorry. Okay, I-

PELLICANO
I would have asked you that, because then it would have made sense to me why she had the fucking kleenex.

ROCK
Rubber. Off.

PELLICANO
You came on her leg when you were about to pull out.

ROCK
Yeah.

PELLICANO
Didja stick it in her?

ROCK
Uh..when?

PELLICANO
Without the rubber?

ROCK
No. So as far as you know, you just came on her leg and she…you went and took the kleenex, and she kept the fucking kleenex.

PELLICANO
Now, this was turned into the DA’s office, and the DA rejected the case.

ROCK
Okay. Well, the one thing that’s missing is the second blood test-

PELLICANO
Yeah, but the police don’t know about that, they only report what they know.

ROCK
Right.

PELLICANO
The blood test is not the important thing. If- And I want to tell you something- I’m gonna talk to you straight. If the judge knows about this, then he’s going to want to hear what the test results from that kleenex are.

ROCK
So, I have to know to protect you.

PELLICANO
There’s a chance that the blood test is going to come back, that the DNA test is going to come back a positive match for you on the kleenex.

ROCK
Are you- But I’m not-

PELLICANO
Wait a second.

ROCK
Okay.

PELLICANO
If it comes back a positive match on the kleenex, then he may ask for another DNA test.

ROCK
I’ll take another DNA test. I’m…two for two.

PELLICANO
Yeah, I’m telling you, I don’t believe it’s your kid, either. But I’m just telling you what’s gonna happen here. Okay?

ROCK
Okay.

PELLICANO
Right, I don’t want you to be concerned about this. I just want you to be aware of it. And I don’t want to give it to the lawyers without checking with you first. Ya understand?

ROCK
Yeah.

PELLICANO
You know why?

ROCK
Uh, well, I don’t want to get cross examined out there…oh god…I’m admitting to having consensual sex with this girl.

PELLICANO
Yeah.

ROCK
And I’ve submitted to two DNA tests, one in front of her lawyer.

PELLICANO
Yeah, I’m not worried about this shit. I’m just glad it’s not your kid. I’m happy about that. I’ve gotta resolve somehow this other DNA test.

ROCK
Yeah, her african boyfriend and a baby with an african name.

PELLICANO
I know. I don’t have a doubt in my mind it’s Etienne’s kid. I showed you- You didn’t see the DVD, didja?

ROCK
Uhhh…

PELLICANO
I put his head right next to her. And they look a lot alike.

ROCK
Ummm…

PELLICANO
I don’t want you to get bummed out by this, I just want you to know about this because, ya know, this is gonna come up. Now, we gotta get this thing legally, meaning we’ve gotta subpoena it. See, any rape victim is confidential, you can’t get at it, there’s no record of it. Understand? And I didn’t know she did this in Beverly Hills, I checked all over the place. Except for Beverly Hills. (loud click sound) Are you there?

ROCK
Yeah.

PELLICANO
What was that noise?

ROCK
I’m in a hotel.

PELLICANO
Probably got a call coming in. Alright, so. I’m gonna…later in the day, I’m gonna call Chris, and I’m gonna call Bob. I’ll call Steven, I’ll call Bob Nashin. And tell him about this. And say that you and I talked, and that you kinda remember that you took the rubber off and you rubbed your dick against her leg or something like that. Ya understand what I’m saying?

ROCK
Right.

PELLICANO
Ya understand what I’m saying?

ROCK
Yeah.

PELLICANO
That might have happened. And she could have taken a kleenex and cleaned herself with that.

ROCK
Ah, g- (mournful sound)

PELLICANO
It’s gonna stop. I’m gonna make it stop. I just need to get all the facts together.

ROCK
I think we got it all now.

PELLICANO
I got it all now. Now I’m not concerned. See, I- That kleenex was really bothering me, man. Because it didn’t make any sense. Because I asked you did you get up, did you clean yourself, did she clean you. You said you cleaned yourself. Know what I mean? That’s why I was a little concerned. I thought, maybe she grabbed the rubber and squeezed it out, and put it in the kleenex. See what I’m saying?

ROCK
Yeah.

PELLICANO
So, we’ll work through this. But don’t worry about it. (pause) What the fuck are you doing down in Australia?

ROCK
Uuuhhh…I had to promote my last movie.

PELLICANO
How’s it doing?

ROCK
Uh, good. Fine.

PELLICANO
Good. Is it out?

ROCK
Uuuhhh…down here, it’s on video now.

PELLICANO
What movie’s that?

ROCK
It’s called Down to Earth.

PELLICANO
Oh, I didn’t see that one.

ROCK
Romantic comedy. [PELLICANO: I'll pick it up.] Fluff.

(pause)

PELLICANO
Don’t get too fluffy, man.

ROCK
Hmmmm.

PELLICANO
Look what happened to Richard Pryor.

ROCK
Yeahhh..

PELLICANO
Understand? They wanted to make him fucking sensitive, and he lost it.

ROCK
Uuuuuuuh…oy.

PELLICANO
Understand what I mean?

ROCK
I know what you mean.

PELLICANO
And that man is a fucking genius.

ROCK
The only-

PELLICANO
A fucking genius, man. And they took him and made him sensitive. I remember talking to him about that shit, long time ago. Now you can’t talk to him about anything.

ROCK
I know.

PELLICANO
Real sad.

ROCK
It’s real sad.

PELLICANO
I know of him trying to kill himself at least five times. You know, makes you think-

ROCK
Alright, so we gonna have a trial?

PELLICANO
Well, as far as I’m concerned, this ain’t gonna go nowhere. I need to find out the name of that lab, and I need to get some information out of that lab. The only thing that makes me feel real good about this…is if she took…let’s think about this for a second. She got this on her leg, ya understand? And then she takes a kleenex and wipes it? If she takes the kleenex and wipes it, she’s contaminating that with both the kleenex, with her leg, with whatever is on her leg, we don’t know if she was with another man that night. Or that they- We don’t know what was on her leg. We don’t know if there was any lotion, we don’t know any of the contaminating things. So it may be that even if she’s got this, they may not be able to get the DNA, anyhow. AND: she puts the fucking kleenex in the freezer? For how long? We don’t know that. See what I’m saying?

ROCK
Yeah.

PELLICANO
So, she wanted me to help her get a house, and she biked off to whatever, saying…no matter what. Yeah, no matter what. She was gonna get some money from you. And I wish the fuck you would have listened to me when I told you not to give her any money in the first place.

ROCK
Uuuuuuh- Hey. (pause) I, uh, god-

PELLICANO
(inaudible) Well, we’re gonna take care of her, one way or the other. Down the pike. The world turns, if ya understand what I mean. Alright. Anything else that I need to know?

ROCK
Uh- I think that’s- You know, that’s about- I don’t think-

PELLICANO
Does your old lady know what’s going on?

ROCK
No.

PELLICANO
Okay.

ROCK
She doesn’t- She thinks it’s over. Put it that way. She knows of it.

PELLICANO
She knows you took the two tests?

ROCK
She knows I too the two tests, and she thinks-

PELLICANO
Now, she’s cool.

ROCK
…she thinks it’s over.

PELLICANO
Well, it ain’t over, and eventually she’s gonna know it’s not over. What you should say is it’s over as far as you’re concerned, that’s all. Just let the lawyers and people do their shit. She needs to talk to me, man, you let me know, and I’ll just blacken this girl up left and right.

ROCK
Aw, god. Is there any way to fucking stop this shit. Fuck.

PELLICANO
It’s gonna get done. I’m gonna take care of it. Ya know I got command here, ya know that.

ROCK
I know. I’m just trying- I just- RAPE. It’s just a fucking buzz. I could get busted-

PELLICANO
The wonderful thing about this is the police department doesn’t believe her. [ROCK: That's-] Remember when I told you there might be an incident report?

ROCK
Right. Once you’re accused of rape, it’s just- Fuuuck. You’re just fucked.

PELLICANO
That’s why I want to blacken this girl up. Totally.

ROCK
You are just…fucked.

PELLICANO
Yeah, totally. But I want to make her out to be a lying scumbag, manipulating cocksucker. That’s what I want. So that all that can come back to her is that. Stupid bitch.

ROCK
I’m fucked. I’m better off getting caught with fucking needles in my arm. [PELLICANO laughs.] I really am.

PELLICANO
I don’t want you to do that either. [PELLICANO laughs.]

ROCK
Waaaaaay better. Needles, the pictures, Chris Rock shooting heroin.

PELLICANO
Don’t worry about it, baby, we’re gonna-

ROCK
Much better blow to the career.

PELLICANO
You’re not gonna get no blow to the career, man. I’m not gonna let it happen. Just stick with me, baby, I’ll take care of you.

ROCK
Alright.

PELLICANO
Alright? You got all my numbers. You got my home number, and all that shit?

ROCK
Yeah.

PELLICANO
You need me, give me a call.

ROCK
K.

PELLICANO
Soooo…I’ll call Steven in about an hour.

ROCK
K.

PELLICANO
Alright, babe.

ROCK
Alright.

PELLICANO
You take care, now.

ROCK
Yeah. Okay.

PELLICANO
Alright bye.

217 The following transcript is taken from the audio at “Pellicano Trial Exclusive: Hear The Recordings Of Adam Sender” by Allison Hope Weiner.

PELLICANO
Hello?

SENDER
Yeah.

PELLICANO
What’s the matter?

SENDER
What’s up…so I walk into the office this morning, and of course my partner says to me, “I spoke to Russo last night.” He’s like, you’re gonna be embarrassed. I’m like, I’m gonna be embarrassed? I’m like, how the fuck am I gonna be embarrassed? (imitates partner) “You’re gonna be embarrassed, you’ll see.” And, uh, then I went into a whole tirade about how could you be friends with someone who ripped your partner off, and if the roles were reversed, I would never be like that, and then he kept on saying “oh, well, I don’t call him, he calls me”

PELLICANO
That’s bullshit.

SENDER
I know. And then he just basically said that Russo told him, that he has a big movie deal coming out, and he’s gonna pay me back five times over, some shit like that.

PELLICANO
Mmmmhmm. Yeah. It’s all bullshit.

SENDER
That’s what- He spoke to him last night.

PELLICANO
The problem is that Russo is in Nevada. So I won’t have any idea what the fuck they said to each other. He’s in the Venetian hotel. Yeah, that sucks. You’re gonna be embarrassed by the fact that he’s got a big movie deal?

SENDER
I’m gonna be embarrassed. I’m gonna be embarrassed that I’m making such a big deal about this, and basically, when he pays me back I’m gonna look stupid, or some shit like that.

PELLICANO
Well, if he’s gonna pay us back, give us the money.

SENDER
And I was just like, I said to my partner, I’m like-

PELLICANO
He’s a piece of- Your partner is a piece of shit. I told you that before. Ya understand? And I don’t wanna harangue you about it, but he is.

SENDER
I know.

PELLICANO
And he hasn’t got any big fucking movie deal. What he does is, he talks to Alan Ladd, you know, junior, and he’s got this screenplay that’s he been playing around with, these kids, understand? He hasn’t got anything. A couple people say “oh yeah, it’s good”, they all give him the same old bullshit.

SENDER
Right.

PELLICANO
From there, to being made into a movie, is a major fucking step.

SENDER
I just thought that, I just thought that, maybe…I didn’t know he was in wherever. I thought that maybe-

PELLICANO
Oh, I would have loved too. But he’s been there. And he hasn’t left. He’s still there, right now. I’ve got my eyes all over him.

SENDER
Fucking asshole.

PELLICANO
Listen, all this stuff fuels us further, pal.

SENDER
Just wanted to- And I said to him, Mike, listen, I don’t get it. Why…if the shoe- If the roles were reversed, I said, this guy’s a fucking criminal. He’s a scumbag, and he’s a fucking con artist. Why are you friends with him? And he said, (imitates partner) “I’m not friends with him, I don’t call him, he calls me.”

PELLICANO
He’s a liar. An absolute liar.

SENDER
He’s obviously not gonna tell me that he calls the guy. Yaknow?

PELLICANO
Of course he’s not. But he’s a fucking, lying cocksucker, is what he is.

SENDER
Yep. Well, you know, I just keep…you know, I have eyes in the back of my head with him. Well, let’s just put it that way.

PELLICANO
Well, I’m sorry to have to tell you these things, but I want you to know what the fucking truth is. I don’t want [SENDER: Well, obviously.] there to be some misconception.

SENDER
No, that’s why I’m glad that I have you. So that’s the bullshit that he’s telling my partner now.

PELLICANO
Listen to me: one thing you never have to worry about, I am one thousand percent loyal to you. Understand? One thousand. It isn’t the money, it’s just the way I am.

SENDER
Good.

PELLICANO
Ya understand? I’ve always been like that. That’s why Bert uses me on every case.

SENDER
Good.

PELLICANO
Alright. I came…I’m chopping at the bit now. What this is, is he knows he’s making some moves, he’s making commercials on cable…

SENDER
Right.

PELLICANO
He’s got all kinds of shit going, and I’m just…it’s like waiting till he gets closer to the cliff…he’s inching towards the cliff…ya understand? Now, imagine that analogy in your mind: he’s about a foot away, a little closer, a little closer, and then all of a sudden: push.

SENDER
Good.
?
PELLICANO
Ya know what I mean?

SENDER
And he has no idea it’s coming?

PELLICANO
HE HAS NO FUCKING IDEA IT’S COMING.

SENDER
Good.

PELLICANO
That’s the nice part about this.

SENDER
Alright, I’ll see you on Friday.

PELLICANO
Okay my friend, you take care of yourself.

SENDER
Bye.

Second conversation with Sender:

SENDER
Hello?

PELLICANO
Hi.

SENDER
Yeah. Hi. Sorry.

PELLICANO
Okay. Let me start- Were you able to get in touch with Bert?

SENDER
With who?

PELLICANO
Bert Fields.

SENDER
No. Not yet.

PELLICANO
Okay. I’ll make a couple more calls for you. I did a lot of thinking over the weekend. Actually-

SENDER
So did I.

PELLICANO
Okay. Actually, I worked for you over the weekend.

SENDER
Okay.

PELLICANO
So…well, maybe you should tell me something.

SENDER
Uuuuuuuhhhh…well, do you wanna talk about this over the phone, or do you wanna…is it okay to talk about it over the phone?

PELLICANO
Well, if you are going to talk about any of the things we talked about out in the garden, no.

SENDER
Okay, well, this is very mild. What I decided that I would like to do…I think it’s smart to set a budget, that’s what I would like to do. I think the number…can I give a number?

PELLICANO
Sure.

SENDER
I think two hundred thousand makes sense. So I’d basically like to set that budget, and then I’d just like to make this guy’s life as miserable as possible for that amount of money, and then we can see what happens from there. So, that was really number four.

PELLICANO
Yeah. That’s what I thought. So you wanna skip one, two, and three?

SENDER
Yes.

PELLICANO
Sure.

SENDER
I don’t want to, but…at this stage in my life and the way things are going and knock on wood, everything’s going okay, I just think it would be the smartest move for me.

PELLICANO
(sighs) Alrighty. Kay. That means I gotta shift gears one hundred and twenty degrees. Now, this is plus the other thing you’ve obligated yourself for.

SENDER
Yeah, of course.

PELLICANO
Alright. Do you have access to a computer right now?

SENDER
Nnnnnnnnnnnnot really.

PELLICANO
Alright.

SENDER
My tech guy just left. And I know absolutely nothing about computers.

PELLICANO
You don’t know how to get on the web?

SENDER
No. I don’t ever go. I don’t even have email.

PELLICANO
Wow.

SENDER
I mean, I’m in front of them all day long, so I kinda run away from them when the market closes.

PELLICANO
Once you see the new website he put up over the weekend…anyway. You’ll call me some time and I’ll tell you how to do it. It’ll be easy. [SENDER: Sure.] Don’t you have a- [SENDER: I'll do it tomorrow during the day.] Don’t you have a T1 on your house?

SENDER
Sure.

PELLICANO
Well, I can show you how you can do it in two seconds if you want to. But that’s not necessary. It’s just gonna make you wanna vomit.

SENDER
Oh, I bet.

PELLICANO
Okay. Well. Huh.

SENDER
Are you cool with that?

PELLICANO
Sure. I’m cool with anything you want to do, including zero.

SENDER
I understand.

PELLICANO
I just…gotta shift my direction now.

SENDER
No, I understand. I was gonna call you over the weekend.

PELLICANO
I wish you would’ve, because you would have saved me some money and time.

SENDER
I’m sorry.

PELLICANO
FUCK. It’s not important, it’s just now I gotta go a hundred and eighty degrees in the opposite direction. Now, does that include this election stuff? Does that include my giving them a hard time with that?

SENDER
You have, as far as I’m concerned, I’m trusting you one hundred percent, you have free reign to do whatever you feel will make this cocksucker as unhappy as possible.

PELLICANO
And what about the lawsuit? Are you gonna continue with that, or drop it?

SENDER
Nah, I’m gonna continue that.

PELLICANO
Okay, I just wanna make sure.

SENDER
Yeah. Absolutely.

PELLICANO
In other words, we’re gonna do things on two fronts, or on one front. I just wanna know that.

SENDER
No, two fronts. I’m gonna continue the lawsuit, until doomsday-

PELLICANO
Yeah-

SENDER
And in the meantime I’d like to make the asshole as uncomfortable as possible.

PELLICANO
Well, I’m gonna do that. I already started that. I already started that, this cocksucker. I can’t even review documents without getting myself upset now. He’s just that bad.

SENDER
Yeah.

PELLICANO
He’s just that bad. It’s amazing. And he’s that way with everybody.

SENDER
Well, you know-

PELLICANO
He just lies and cheats, everybody.

SENDER
I’m you know, it’s unfortunate now, because I can barely speak to my partner now without being nauseous too.

PELLICANO
But you know what, you made the right decision. You’re gonna take advantage and make money while you can. As long as he doesn’t steal from you, you know what I mean?

SENDER
Nah, I-

PELLICANO
You’re keeping your eye on him, right?

SENDER
I made it so that it’s…[PELLICANO: Impossible.]…impossible for him to hurt me in that way.

PELLICANO
Good.

SENDER
I have accountants looking after accountants. Know what I mean?

PELLICANO
Sure.

SENDER
So, there’s no way- I’m just nauseous when I talk to him, I know he’s a fucking backstabbing asshole. But I’m…when the time is right, I’m gonna fix him yaknow?

PELLICANO
Alright, when you get a moment, wire transfer those funds and I’ll get on it.

SENDER
Well, let me, can we talk about that? Now, number one, I would like to do what we discussed in terms of putting, do some sort of retainer, you know what I mean?

PELLICANO
Oh, you want to do this through the company?

SENDER
Yeah. I would love to.

PELLICANO
Okay, but I…you need to retain me for that amount anyhow.

(pause)

SENDER
No, I understand, but what I’m saying, does it have to be in one chunk, can it be four payments, tell me.

PELLICANO
Well, it could be in two chunks, because I’m gonna put out a ton of money, quickly.

SENDER
K.

PELLICANO
So, it could be in two chunks, but not four.

SENDER
So, let me- Tomorrow’s the beginning of the month. [PELLICANO: Yes.] So, if I do half at the beginning of this month, and the other half at the beginning of the following month?

PELLICANO
That’s perfect.

SENDER
And now, I’m just gonna need-

PELLICANO
On the other stuff, just have Joanne do it in the same way.

SENDER
You got it. And now…yeah, well, right. But I’m almost done with…I only owe you a bit more then we continued the following month.

PELLICANO
Yeah.

SENDER
The thing I wanted to…so basically…we just entered into a consulting agreement, like you could work for any company that I have.

PELLICANO
That’s right. And what you’ll- you’ll just wire transfer the money from whatever the company is, and I’m gonna give you a statement that you put in your files.

SENDER
Ummmm…so I might have a guy named Simon call you who’s my CFO. And it’ll be just book-keeping, he’ll just ask general questions, I’m gonna tell him, or I’m gonna tell him-

PELLICANO
He’s not gonna learn anything from me, but he’ll think, as you think.

SENDER
Right.

PELLICANO
You understand what I’m saying?

SENDER
You’re a consultant. Period.

PELLICANO
Yes. And I report directly to you.

SENDER
Exactly.

PELLICANO
Just say I wanna keep this in a-

SENDER
I hear you.

PELLICANO
In a- Just tell him- Make him feel good. I wanna make sure the accounting aspect is fine.

SENDER
No, he’ll be involved in accounting aspect, but in terms of information, it just comes to me and that’s it. [PELLICANO: K.] I mean, you know, maybe one day you wanna have drinks or something and we could obviously talk about it a little bit more. But, for me, you know, I wish…I could do some other things but, this is what fits right now.

PELLICANO
Listen. I am a hundred percent with you, I don’t want you to do anything you’re not comfortable with…I just wish that you’d never met this motherfucker.

SENDER
I mean, I had dreams…I was dreaming about this fucking asshole all weekend long.

PELLICANO
ME TOO! I was there at two o’clock in the morning because I had a technical problem, so…

SENDER
I mean, after our meeting, it was all I basically thought about for forty eight hours straight. I mean, not even unconsciously consciously, it just wouldn’t stop. So…

PELLICANO
Are you comfortable now?

SENDER
Yeah. Absolutely. I just hope you nail his fucking ass to the wall.

PELLICANO
Well, along that line, it may happen, ya know, just coincidentally. [SENDER: Okay.] Ya understand what I’m saying?

SENDER
I hear ya.

PELLICANO
And if you really, really like what happens…then maybe some day in the future you might give me a bonus.

SENDER
Okay. Good.

PELLICANO
Ya understand what I’m saying?

SENDER
Absolutely.

PELLICANO
Okay, pal. Anything else going on?

SENDER
I’m just waiting for you to set me up with that twenty-five year old.

PELLICANO
Yeah, well, she just went to Hawaii. So…you gotta wait till she comes back.

SENDER
I’ll be back

PELLICANO
And she’s got bunches of girlfriends, oh my god, they’re all beautiful. I look at them, I go nuts.

SENDER
So maybe we could have a pool party.

PELLICANO
Absolutely.

SENDER
Okay. Bye.

PELLICANO
You take care of yourself.

SENDER
Alright.

PELLICANO
And keep in touch.

SENDER
I’ll call you in a couple of days.

PELLICANO
Please.

SENDER
Alright. Bye.

PELLICANO
Thanks.

218 The following transcript is taken from the audio at “Pellicano Trial Audio Exclusive: Marty Singer Calls About Sylvester Stallone” by Allison Hope Weiner.

The argument between Singer and Pellicano here deals with a movie production company that no longer exists. In the late nineties and early aughts, Franchise Pictures was responsible for a series of movies which involved big name stars making their dream projects in exchange for lower salaries. Franchise produced a few low key successes which I enjoyed a great deal (Brian De Palma’s Femme Fatale, David Mamet’s Heist and Sean Penn’s The Pledge), some so-so ones (The Art of War and The Whole Nine Yards) along with what might be called some of The Worst Movies Ever Made. These included feardotcom, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, Get Carter, driven, and the infamous Battlefield Earth. There were more than a few questions about how Franchise, which had a run of unprofitable movies, was making money. Eventually, Intertainment, a European distributor, would sue Franchise for overcharging them for pictures. The deal with Franchise involved Intertainment providing 47% of each movie’s funding; Intertainment believed that they were being misled on the budgets for these movies, with the company actually providing 100% of financing in some cases. Intertainment would be successful in their suit, with Franchise liable for $77 million, plus $29 million in punitive damages.

Franchise was headed up by Elie Samaha and Andrew Stevens, both of whom are mentioned several times in the following transcript. Samaha was a former Studio 54 bouncer and, if we may briefly return to the original material that was the genesis for this post, the ex-husband of Tia Carrere. Samaha would be personally liable for $4 million as a result of Intertainment’s successful suit. Ron Tutor, a construction magnate who would later buy Miramax Pictures and would invest money in Franchise before it finally went under, offered an interesting defense. “Elie did nothing wrong,” he said. “Let me put that in the context of Hollywood. Elie did nothing wrong in terms of Hollywood, where everything goes.”

Two pieces on the beginning of Franchise Pictures are “What Makes Elie Run?” by Patrick Goldstein, “The Samaha Formula for Hollywood Success” by Lynn Hirschberg, and “After Samaha’s Bravura Opening, a Shaky 2nd Act” by James Bates and Claudia Eller. Questions about Franchise’s business model are in “The Samaha Syndrome” by Jonathan Bing. The attempt by Tutor to rescue Franchise and his interesting quote is from “It’s a Rebuilding Year for Franchise” by Michael Cieply and Claudia Eller. The Intertainment lawsuit and its outcome is described in “Intertainment, Franchise Take Battles to Court” by James Bates, “FBI Probes Financing of Films Made by Samaha” by Corie Brown, “Making Sense of a Bad Hollywood Breakup” by Michael Hiltzik, and “Producer Must Pay Punitive Damages” by James Bates.

Kevin King is the head of Sylvester Stallone’s production company, Rogue Marble. The joke Pellicano makes about him using his “real name” is that his full name is Kevin King Templeton. The Filiti mentioned is Anthony Filiti, Stallone’s stepfather, who sued Stallone after he was removed from his business affairs. The suit is described in “Stallone Named in $50-Million Lawsuit” by Scott Collins. Bert Fields represented Filiti in that case; as mentioned in the transcript, he was representing Stevens here. Jake Bloom is a powerful entertainment lawyer. “Ronnie Meyer” is Ron Meyer, head of Universal Studios. The Starr mentioned is Ken Starr, the investment advisor later convicted of running a ponzi scheme. Robert Earl is a friend of Stallone’s and the founder of Planet Hollywood. An early profile of Robert Earl is “Mr. Universe” by Aimee Lee Ball.

The “Gold Circle case”, I assume has to do with the “David E. Kronemyer v. Gold Circle Films” lawsuit, a suit against a movie production company by a former employee. This employee, David Kronemeyer, would eventually lose a suit against IMDb for not crediting him as a producer on several films and a TV production; this case is detailed in “Suit Over Lack of Producer Credit for Films Held SLAPP” by Kenneth Ofgang.

A relatively recent profile of Singer is “Guard Dog to the Stars (Legally Speaking)” by Michael Cieply.

PELLICANO
Hello?

SINGER’S RECEPTIONIST
HI! How are you!

PELLICANO
I’m fine, honey, how are you?

SINGER’S RECEPTIONIST
I’m okay. You don’t sound fine.

PELLICANO
I’m not.

SINGER’S RECEPTIONIST
I’m sorry. Hang on for Marty.

(ambient music)

SINGER
Hello?

PELLICANO
Hi.

SINGER
Uhhhh…what’s the matter? You don’t sound good.

PELLICANO
What’s up Marty?

SINGER
You sound really bad. What’s happened?

PELLICANO
It has to do with you.

SINGER
ME?

PELLICANO
Hmmm.

SINGER
What’s going on with me?

PELLICANO
What did you call for?

SINGER
I called for two reasons. I called on the Gold Circle case. To find out what you’d done, because we’d settled the case.

PELLICANO
K.

SINGER
But if you wanted to, uuuuh, we have two other lawsuits, and if you haven’t started any work, I can tell them you started the work and then have you…

PELLICANO
No, it’s okay.

SINGER
Well what are you upset about?

PELLICANO
What’s the second reason for calling?

SINGER
Sly and Kevin King wanted to talk to you about what they’re telling me is going on in that case. And that, apparently, there’s third parties allegedly that you’re talking to…who are getting back to Sly, that you threatened him, or that you’re threatening Sly through them.

PELLICANO
That’s bullshit.

SINGER
Well, I’m just telling you. And they’re getting statements from those guys.

PELLICANO
I know. They can get statements from anybody they want to.

SINGER
Well, my concern is, that it’s gonna be bad for you, you just gotta be careful of who you’re talking to.

PELLICANO
Marty. I haven’t threatened Stallone to anybody. Not Jake Bloom, not anybody. Not one person. So, they can do whatever they wanna do, it doesn’t make any difference to me. They don’t scare, intimidate, frighten-

SINGER
No, they’re not- By the way, this is not a question of scaring-

PELLICANO
Listen: Kevin told people that you called me a sleazebag.

SINGER
Please.

PELLICANO
Listen to me. I’ll find out the truth.

SINGER
Yeah. Please. I called you a sleazebag.

PELLICANO
Yes.

SINGER
Then why would I give you work?

PELLICANO
Marty. And that he had a long conversation with you, and you and I discussed, that you were going to scare the shit out of me, and that you scared the shit out of me, and all kinds of nonsense.

SINGER
Well, I didn’t have that conversation with Kevin, so whoever this third party source is…either Kevin is lying, or this third party, I don’t know if the third party source is lying, but I’m telling you I never had that conversation with Kevin because it’s not true.

PELLICANO
Alright.

SINGER
Did I have that conversation with you?

PELLICANO
Of course not.

SINGER
Because the only conversation I want to have with you is to pledge you-

PELLICANO
Marty listen, I’ve been absolutely dead fucking loyal to you. I’ve been a good friend. And I’ve been loyal to you. Now, I don’t wanna believe this.

SINGER
Wait a minute. Let me ask you a question. First of all, why would I-

PELLICANO
And by the way, you obviously see that I haven’t called you. I haven’t said one word to you.

SINGER
No, well that’s- Well, you should have called me if you- I wanted to call you because I’m concerned that…you’re telling people that you may think…well, first let me back up. I presume you’re telling some people that you’re…what people are telling them, is that you’re saying “I’m…let Stallone know I’m gonna get him.”

PELLICANO
That’s not true, Marty.

SINGER
I’m just telling you-

PELLICANO
Listen to me. Marty, if I wanted to get Stallone, personally, I could’ve done that. You and I had a discussion about this, I told you I’m not gonna do anything to hurt his family, and I’m not. But I told Jake Bloom, that it’s in his client’s best interests and in Jake’s best interest, not to go forward with this lawsuit. That wasn’t a threat, that was a statement of fact. And I says, because I’m gonna have to do my job and I’m gonna have to go after him. Now, that’s a statement of fact, also. That is the absolute truth. That is exactly what I said. I haven’t made this statement to anyone else. I only talked to one other person that Stallone deals with…

SINGER
Elie Samaha?

PELLICANO
NO. I haven’t talked to Elie. I talked to his associate, who’s my client. Elie is my client.

SINGER
Yeah.

PELLICANO
Yeah.

SINGER
This is confidentially, you didn’t hear it from me, but I think that Elie may be…they’ve asked Elie to give a declaration.

PELLICANO
Well, Elie can’t give any declaration because I never talked to Elie. I swear that my song Luca dies the most horrible fucking death if I’m lying to you.

SINGER
I’m believing-

PELLICANO
Did you hear what I just said? I can’t make it any clearer than that. I did talk to Patrick.

SINGER
Who’s Patrick?

PELLICANO
His associate.

SINGER
I thought his associate was Stevens.

PELLICANO
Andrew Stevens I meant to say. Did I say Patrick [SINGER: Yes.] Andrew Stevens. I did talk to Andrew Stevens, no question about it.

(long pause)

PELLICANO CONT’D
Andrew Stevens is my client.

SINGER
Yeah, well, whatever you said-

PELLICANO
Well, listen to me, there’s no way in the world Elie signs a declaration like that against me, I’ll own everything he has.

SINGER
All I’m saying is the following: whatever it is you’re telling these people-

PELLICANO
I’m not telling anybody anything. The only thing they said to Stevens is “you guys still dealing with Stallone? Yeah. Well, I just want to tell you guys I’m on the other side of this Ken Starr lawsuit.” And he says “okay”, and that was the end of it.

SINGER
Well, whatever you’re saying to people-

PELLICANO
MARTY. I haven’t said anything. The only three people, four people, I’ve talked to that know Stallone are you; Jake Bloom; this guy Stevens…who’s the other one? Jake Bloom, you, Stevens. Three guys. (pause) That’s it. So they’re lying, they’re liars. And they’re cocksucking liars. And they can do any fucking thing they want. And the more they try to attempt to intimidate me, the more fire-

SINGER
How are they trying to intimidate you?

PELLICANO
Well, with these kinds of phone calls.

SINGER
What, you mean my call to you?

PELLICANO
Yes.

SINGER
This is an intimidating phone call?

PELLICANO
(loud) They’re attempting to do that to scare me. They’re not scaring me, they’re just inspiring me! LISTEN TO ME. You tell these guys THAT THEY’RE INSPIRING ME. NOT SCARING ME.

SINGER
Anthony. Let me ask you a question. How does my phone call scare you?

PELLICANO
They’re trying to get you to inform me…that people are going to sign declarations. I would pay two hundred and fifty thousand dollars for Elie to sign a declaration that that happened. I never talked to Elie. I haven’t talked to Elie…in maybe nine months. And that was in his office when I’m representing him and Andrew Stevens. Now that’s an interesting thing, because I’ve been helping him. And guess who the client that they’re against is represented by? Jake Bloom.

SINGER
Oh, the Intertainment case?

PELLICANO
Yes. I mean, if these guys want to play paddycake, I’ll play paddycake with them.

SINGER
What I don’t understand is, do you think this phone call is an intimidating phone call to you?

PELLICANO
No, I think they’re trying to intimidate me.

SINGER
No. My purpose is-

PELLICANO
Marty, listen to me. They asked you to call me.

SINGER
Yes they did.

PELLICANO
Then that’s their attempt at trying to intimidate me.

SINGER
No, they asked me to call-

PELLICANO
You tell them that their making you call me, understand, inspired me a hundred times more than I was before.

SINGER
No, I-

PELLICANO
(loud) No, listen to me! Now tell them that I’m going to contact even more people! I’m gonna contact everybody I know! Starting tomorrow.

SINGER
Well, that’s a bad idea.

PELLICANO
No it’s not.

SINGER
I tell you that’s a bad idea.

PELLICANO
It’s not a bad idea.

SINGER
(inaudible) I don’t know if it’s true, supposedly this lawyer claims that he had one of the ten highest jury awards last year.

PELLICANO
Who gives a fuck what he has. They have no case here. He can take that jury award and stick it up his ass.

SINGER
Anthony, they’re gonna make a claim- [PELLICANO: Then let them-] -that Starr’s trying to extort Stallone.

PELLICANO
Then let them do that. I would love for that to happen.

SINGER
It’s not gonna be good for you.

PELLICANO
I would love for that to happen. First of all because it’s not true. And secondarily, cuz I’ll sue them.

SINGER
How can you sue them if they make (inaudible)- Are you certain Jake hasn’t signed a declaration against you? You said you heard Jake had signed a declaration against you.

PELLICANO
You told me that he didn’t.

SINGER
I have no idea what he did or didn’t do. I presume-

PELLICANO
I don’t know why Jake would sign a declaration against me, and then ask me to lunch. I mean, if he signed a declaration against me, and asked me to lunch, he’s gotta be fucking crazy. [SINGER: The purpose-] That’ll be the most interesting lunch he’s ever been on.

SINGER
So you understand the purpose of this phone call from my perspective. The purpose of this phone call is for you to be careful about who you’re talking to, because some of these people-

PELLICANO
Marty, I’m gonna talk to- This just inspired me even more. You know the funny thing about it, is he was deposed today. You know what I mean? I haven’t even paid attention to these cases. Now, I’m gonna pay attention again. Now, I’m gonna make even more phone calls.

SINGER
Well, you can do whatever you do, just be careful about it, that’s what I’m saying.

PELLICANO
Okay.

SINGER
That’s all I’m saying. You should be careful-

PELLICANO
What am I careful, what? That the people- I think it’s a statement of fact that I’m going after him and that I’m on the other side.

SINGER
If you word it the way you say you word it-

PELLICANO
Marty, that’s exactly the way I worded it. Jake Bloom said anything different than that, he’s a lying motherfucker. Absolute lying motherfucker, if he said anything different than what I just said. And then him and I are gonna go to fucking war and he’s turned me from a good, loyal friend into a deadly fucking enemy. Just over night. Now, do you know for a fact that he signed a declaration?

SINGER
I don’t know what he signed or not. All I’m concerned with is this lawyer has been putting pressure on everyone to sign declarations, whoever you spoke to.

PELLICANO
Oh, please! So this is his claim to fame here? This is the way he’s gonna win this lawsuit by trying to intimidate me?

SINGER
No.

PELLICANO
Oh, please. I’m that last person in the world they want to fuck with, Marty. The last person. Not the first person. The last person.

(long pause)

SINGER
Well, this is not an attempt to intimidate you, and I can’t believe-

PELLICANO
Marty, I’m not accusing you of (sighs) anything. K? I know people all around Stallone. You know, Brad Grey is a close personal friend of mine. Ronnie Meyer is one of my best friends. I mean, I know everybody around him. If I wanted to do shit like that, I could have done it a thousand different ways, but it doesn’t make any difference- [SINGER: I know you could.] Okay, I’m not, I’m not-

SINGER
I know you could because you know a lot of shit.

PELLICANO
But Marty it has nothing to do with this lawsuit. You know? The guy is in my ill graces because of the statement he made that I should crawl under the rock that I came from. In print. It’s in black and white. For the world to see. Alright? And the world did see it at the time. And I was fucking loyal to that guy, and I was even loyal to him after, and I even helped you. After.

SINGER
Yes. And I agree with that.

PELLICANO
So, then the guy wants to fucking turn against me? FINE. Then Filiti? If Filiti wants to turn against me, fine. I got all the fucking records. If Filiti decides to do anything, I’ll cream him. Cuz I never trusted him from the beginning. I made real careful, I was very sure and careful I did on that matter. (long pause) So, they made a mistake by having you call me, big fucking mistake. And you tell them that.

SINGER
My purpose in the phone call is not to intimidate you. My purpose in the-

PELLICANO
Will you quit telling me you intimidate me? You don’t intimidate me, Marty. How the fuck can you intimidate me when I told you I love you and you’re my friend?

SINGER
Well, that’s what I’m saying. How would-

PELLICANO
I DIDN’T SAY THAT YOU’RE DOING IT. THEY’RE TRYING TO DO IT-

SINGER
No, no. They didn’t ask me to intimidate you. That’s-

PELLICANO
(loud) Well then, what’s the purpose in them asking you to call me? You give me a purpose. What’s the purpose? If they’re gonna do something to me, tell them to fucking do it. Don’t talk about it, do it.

SINGER
They told me to talk to you because they feel that you and I are close, which is the exact opposite of me calling you a sleazeball, so that’s what doesn’t make sense that someone claims- They said you and Anthony are-

PELLICANO
Well, I’m gonna find out what the truth is. I’ll find out.

SINGER
Well, that’s good, because the issue here is, they figured if I would talk to you on this issue- Now when they tell me that-

PELLICANO
Hold on one sec. (to someone off-phone) Would you tell him I would call him right back honey? (back to call) Sorry.

SINGER
So when they tell me that, what do I do, I call you.

PELLICANO
You told me that- you started the conversation by telling me that they wanted you to call me.

SINGER
No, what I told you is-

PELLICANO
No, you- Marty. You started the conversation by telling me they wanted you to call me.

SINGER
That’s correct.

PELLICANO
Then what the fuck’s the purpose.

SINGER
The purpose of my phone call is-

PELLICANO
NO, WHAT’S THEIR PURPOSE. Not YOUR PURPOSE. What’s their purpose?

SINGER
Their purpose was to get me to try and let you know that you could get into trouble-

PELLICANO
Oh tell them to go fuck themselves. They’re gonna get me in trouble, tell them to go to the district attorney, tell them to go to the police, tell them to go to whoever the fuck they want to. That’ll be a very interesting episode.

SINGER
You’re dealing with a lawyer, in my opinion, who wants to make a name for himself.

PELLICANO
Well, you know what? He’s gonna make a name for himself, because he’s gonna go down in fucking flames. And that’s how he’s gonna make a name for himself. That’s how he’s gonna make a name for himself. He’s gonna lose this, and he’s gonna go down in flames. And if he fucks with me, he’s gonna go down in even hotter flames. (long pause) That you can tell him.

SINGER
Well, I’ll tell you what I did tell him. I told him that he should focus on his fucking case and ignore you, that you’re gonna do what you’re gonna do, and just focus on the case. If he hires an investigator, do what you gotta do-

PELLICANO
Marty, Marty, have you seen me do anything to Stallone?

SINGER
Never.

PELLICANO
No. Now. Have you seen me do anything?

SINGER
I don’t know what you’re doing.

PELLICANO
Marty. Have you seen me do anything? Have I discussed this with the press (cut) -oskinov? No. (off phone) Tell him I’ll call him right back. Tell him ten minutes. (back to phone) Have you seen one piece of press, or one person come to him and said, “Hey, Anthony Pellicano is investigating you”?

SINGER
No.

PELLICANO
Guess why.

SINGER
Why?

PELLICANO
The only thing I’ve been concentrating on has been the merits of the case, that’s it. Because at the end of the day, that’s all the client wants. To win the lawsuit. This is never gonna settle, Marty. This is going to go to trial. And then we’ll see how good a trial lawyer Nagler is. (long pause) We’ll find out. [SINGER: By the way-] All of these depositions have to take place- [SINGER: Right.] They just had a little bit of his today, and they’ll do more of him, and then again and again and again. [SINGER: Well-] Actually, to be honest with you, this case is boring. It’s all paper.

SINGER
Yeah, but it’s the kind of case where you can get some good information on.

PELLICANO
Well, I got all kinds of good information, Marty, but you know…it isn’t the kind of information to attack the man personally. And hurt his family. Why would I do that?

SINGER
I’ve always felt-

PELLICANO
How do I gain, attacking Stallone and his family? How do I gain? How can I possibly gain from doing that? Cuz it isn’t relevant to the case and it isn’t going to get before a jury, anyhow.

SINGER
No. You have the ability to, that’s why you get hired by me and Bert Fields, and others, that even if you have a shitty case…knowing that you’re on our side, you’ll uncover a lot of dirt that can be used in the case against that party.

PELLICANO
Well, you know, the interesting thing is, the biggest amount of dirt in this case is what Stallone thinks. That’s the biggest amount of dirt. What somebody is telling him, I told you this before and I’ll go to my grave believing this: somebody talked this guy into this. Somebody talked him into it. And after today’s deposition, I don’t have any doubt in my mind. So, he’s gonna fall. He’s gonna lose. And it’s gonna go to trial. This is not going to get settled by any insurance company, it’s not gonna get settled by anybody. Understand? The only way this thing is gonna go away is if Stallone makes a public apology, ya understand? Then it’ll go away.

(long pause)

SINGER
Well…go ahead and find out whatever information you can find out about what you think I said. You know I would never betray you. I don’t even have a fucking relationship with Stallone for the most part, right now.

PELLICANO
Well, did you have a conversation with Kevin King?

SINGER
Yes, I told you I did.

PELLICANO
Well, then maybe Kevin King for his own purposes is saying these things. Maybe he wants to get back to me to ruin a relationship. Maybe-

SINGER
I haven’t- Kevin King specifically-

PELLICANO
Are you listening to me?

SINGER
Yes. Just so you know: Kevin King called me and said: “Are you close to Anthony Pellicano?”, I said: “Absolutely. I refer him business in the past, I just referred him business, he is the best at what he does.” That’s how I described you. He says, “Why does he hate Stallone?”, I said “The reason he hates Stallone is because Sly made this comment “Why doesn’t he crawl under this rock”, something along those words”

PELLICANO
After being loyal to the guy.

SINGER
After he had done very good things. And I said also, I know that, before and after this, he has told me stuff about Sly that has been kept out of the media. He has done it for me. So, I have a very good relationship-

PELLICANO
You wanna do something? (pause) You wanna do something?

SINGER
Go ahead.

PELLICANO
Tell Stallone, in a conference call with me, or in your office, sit in front of me, and let me look him in my eye, in his eyes, and he can look in my eyes. Understand? And we’ll see who’s telling the truth.

(long pause)

SINGER
Telling the truth about what.

PELLICANO
What are you talking about?

SINGER
Telling the truth about-

PELLICANO
In other words, I’m gonna say to him, I’m gonna look in the fucking eyes and say, I have no intentions of hurting you or your fucking family, motherfucker. I’ll stand inches from his fucking nose. Till he can look right in my eyes and see me saying those words. I don’t have any intentions of doing that shit.

SINGER
My main concern is-

PELLICANO
Though I gotta tell you, the more I’m having this conversation, the more I’m inclined to do it.

SINGER
I know, but what I want to tell you is this: you can answer this question. Whatever you told Stevens. [PELLICANO: Yes.] Was it intended to go back to Sly?

PELLICANO
No, I was talking to Stevens about his case, and I said “Are you guys, is Elie, still doing business with Stallone?” He says yeah, I said, well just tell Elie I’m on the other side of this case. That’s all.

SINGER
Just so you know…and I don’t want it to get back because then they’ll know everything I told you, I’m sure Elie will never sign anything because he’s a weasel type of guy.

PELLICANO
Listen to me: if Elie does it, I’ll own everything he has. [SINGER laughs] I’ll own it. You know…and not only that, ya understand?, they need me on this other case, so if I fucking turn on them…oooooh, FUCK!

SINGER
You see, this is an unbelievable situation that shows we’re different. Our firm was supposed to be involved in that Intertainment case against Elie Samaha.

PELLICANO
Yeah, and Elie hires Stein, and Stevens hires Bert Fields.

(pause)

SINGER
Oh, is Bert Fields representing Stevens?

PELLICANO
YES! Well, that’s how I got the case.

SINGER
I thought it was just Stein who was representing everyone in that case.

PELLICANO
No! Stein’s not representing everybody.

SINGER
Well, Stein’s been doing most of the work.

PELLICANO
Well, Stein’s doing the work because Elie- ya see, Elie- You know the structure of the whole case, right? Jake represents the fucking guy over in Germany.

SINGER
Well, Jake also has a great relationship with Elie.

PELLICANO
Uh…not really.

SINGER
Well he used to have a good relationship with Elie.

PELLICANO
Not really. Not based on Elie’s own lips.

SINGER
No, but he used to have a good relationship-

PELLICANO
But, wait a minute…I don’t care about any of that shit. I don’t give a fuck about any of those guys. Okay? Don’t care.

SINGER
Well, one thing I’ll swear on my kids’ life, and I love my kids, I would never call you a sleazebag or any derogatory word because I have the utmost respect for you. And, if anything, Kevin King only called me because, he called me for one purpose, and between you and me, he wanted me to let you know that these people will go against you.

PELLICANO
Tell him to take-

SINGER
Well just listen to me-

PELLICANO
Tell the little cocksucker-

SINGER
That’s not what the fuck I-

PELLICANO
And tell him to use his real fucking name. Ya understand? [SINGER cracks up] Tell him to use his real name.

SINGER
But listen…I’m only calling you because- Before you said anything about what these people said to you, you heard what I said to you. So I wasn’t trying to intimidate you or anything. I’m just trying to let you know-

PELLICANO
Marty, I didn’t say…Marty…Marty…(pause) First of all, if you tried something like that, you’d break my heart. That would be the first thing. And the second thing that would happen is you would lose a very good friend.

SINGER
My question is: did I?

PELLICANO
No.

SINGER
Did I? What was I telling you? You just gotta be careful of what you’re doing.

PELLICANO
I said, that these guys are trying to use you.

SINGER
You know what something? It’s not bad if they tell me things and I bring it back to you so you know what’s going on. [PELLICANO: Sure.] That’s between you and me.

PELLICANO
Listen to me, I didn’t have any doubt in my mind that Stevens was going to talk to Elie. Had no doubt about it. You know I said- And in the whole conversation it was an off-hand thing. “You guys still dealing with Stallone?” “Yeah. Sometimes.” “Well, just tell Elie I’m on the other side of this Ken Starr case.” “Oh, really?” “Yeah, yeah.” “Who you working for?” “Bert Fields.” “Oh really? Bert’s working on the case?” That’s the way the conversation went. You hear any intimidation in there at all?

(long pause)

SINGER
I think it’s intimidating by you just telling people that you’re working on the case. (said while cracking up) They know what you can accomplish.

PELLICANO
You tell them that the only thing phone call did is inspire me even more.

SINGER
Nooo. I’ll tell them anything you want.

PELLICANO
I want you to tell them that. I want you to go back and tell them, say, look what you did by asking me to make this phone call to my friend.

SINGER
(off phone) Tell them to call back. [PELLICANO: Huh?] One second.

PELLICANO
What you did, by making me make this phone call to my friend, is just inspire him even more.

SINGER
Alright. If you want me to tell them, I’ll them.

PELLICANO
Okay.

(long pause)

SINGER
I’ll them whatever you want me to tell them.

PELLICANO
Okay.

SINGER
You want me to tell you what I tell them?

PELLICANO
Of course!

SINGER
Alright.

PELLICANO
Do I sound worried about this at all?

SINGER
No.

PELLICANO
I’m not even angry.

SINGER
But what you need to be careful about is who the fuck you talk to. Just make sure you talk to somebody-

PELLICANO
Marty, I don’t- Marty, these people-

SINGER
Because Andrew Stevens-

PELLICANO
There’s no way-

SINGER
-and Samaha are slimy, I don’t want to say it, they’re slimy piece of shits-

PELLICANO
I know-

SINGER
-that’ll say anything they want to who can help them.

PELLICANO
Elie is not gonna sign a declaration that says that. It’s not gonna happen. And if he does, I’ll own everything he’s got. And then they’re in a world of shit.

(long pause)

SINGER
If Andrew Stevens wants to betray the guy that’s been helping him, then oh my god is he in a world of shit.

PELLICANO
Well, I’m sure they won’t sign anything.

SINGER
Well, even if they’re saying they’re gonna do something like this…I think the lawyer’s full of shit. And I gotta tell you something, I just refuse to believe that Jake would do that. And if he did…

PELLICANO
I would doubt it. I very much doubt Jake would ever do anything against your interests.

SINGER
Because I’ve spoken to Jake since then.

PELLICANO
Yeah. I don’t think so either. That’s why I’m saying, you know. When he fired off that last letter, Bert told him to stick it up his ass.

SINGER
Which letter?

PELLICANO
He sent out a second letter.

SINGER
Oh really?

PELLICANO
So Bert says, these things are not happening, do what you wanna do.

SINGER
I told him-

PELLICANO
They think that telling people that I can’t do a lawful investigation which is exactly what I’m doing, is gonna intimidate me? I’m gonna talk to everybody. And, you know, if you want, tell him I’ll go down to CBS and we’ll have meetings there and I can tell people about the investigation about how it’s going and I’ll talk to everybody in town. If that’s what he wants. I’ll put a fucking full page ad in the Hollywood Reporter, if he wants.

SINGER
No, you don’t want to do that, Anthony.

PELLICANO
Well, but what I’m trying to say to you: Marty, I don’t know…you can probably count on the fingers of your both hands the number of people who know I’m involved in this case in the first place. I’m not making it public. Have you seen anything in writing about it? Don’t you think if the tabloids knew that I was involved they would be writing about it? Don’t you think if the newspapers knew I was involved they would be writing about it? Nobody knows. (long pause) If I wanted to get myself in the papers and get publicity about this, all I have to do is make some phone calls.

SINGER
Yeah, but you don’t want to do that.

PELLICANO
MARTY. DID I DO IT?

SINGER
No, you haven’t done it-

PELLICANO
Okay. I don’t have any intentions of doing it. You see, the thing is in this case, Stallone always listens to the last person he has talked to. This is what this guy has done. I’ve seen this going back to the days when he was dealing with Harry Weiss. The last person that he talks to is the guy he believes. (pause) That’s unfortunate. And if he would have hired you, in this matter – ya understand? – and you would have called me, I would have got you every bit of document, we would have sat down and we would have gone over the whole thing and you would have seen for yourself there’s no case here. You know what’s even worse, Marty? Not only is there no case here, but there’s not even an inkling of a case here.

SINGER
Well, if there’s none, he’s got some big exposure from malicious prosecution.

PELLICANO
Well, believe me when I tell you, he’s gonna go down. There’s no question. If I- Marty. I told this to Starr. I said, “I’m gonna investigate you ten times heavier than Stallone would. I’m gonna find every fucking thing you’ve done in your life.” Cuz that’s the way I do things. And they’re paying me to do that! I’m gonna find every fucking piece of dirt about you Ken Starr that exists. (pause) Because if I can’t do it, nobody else can do it. (pause) And I work for you, if I work for you and I’m investigating the fuck out of you, and I find nothing, then nobody else is gonna do it. So let them do whatever they’re gonna do. Let them play whatever stupid games they want. If I were Stallone, I would do everything in my power to try to resurrect his career, or: take whatever remaining money that he’s got – ya understand? – and use it wisely, and take care of his wife and his family. That’s what he should do. Not get himself embroiled in a lawsuit that he’s gonna lose.

SINGER
Well, I’m-

PELLICANO
But you know, I personally don’t give a fuck. And tell them that I am the last person in the world you try to intimidate. You’re gonna do something, do it. Don’t talk about it, do it. Remember the movie The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly?

SINGER
Yeah.

PELLICANO
Eli Wallach is in the bathtub and the guy walks in with a gun and he says, “I’ve been hunting you all these years and I’m gonna fucking kill you.” Eli Wallach pulls out a gun and shoots the guy three times, and the fucking guy dies, he says, “If you’re gonna shoot, shoot, don’t talk about it.” (pause) Bring it on. Cuz that’s the stuff that fuels me. The tougher and the harder things are, the more inspired I am.

SINGER
I know that.

(long pause)

PELLICANO
I’m sorry they got you in the middle of this, Marty.

SINGER
Well, I’m not in the middle of this, per se…

PELLICANO
Well, Marty, it had to be hard for you to call me, you’re my friend.

SINGER
No, but I’m calling you for your protection, not for their bullshit issues.

PELLICANO
Yeah, but Marty, you’re protecting- Listen to me, Marty, you went up to somebody and said, “I’m gonna fucking kill Stallone”, or “I’m gonna beat him up”, or I’m gonna do this, or I’m gonna do that…then you could say to yourself, Anthony, you’re making threats against this guy. I didn’t do that.

SINGER
Nonono, I never said you’re making threats.

PELLICANO
No, I’m saying that’s the way they’re paraphrasing this, they’re making it up like I’m threatening him. I’m not threatening him. I’m stating facts. I’m investigating him. There’s no question about it. (pause) And the good part about this stuff is that all the stuff he’s been involved of, in dealing with Robert Earl and everybody else along this line, it’s all a matter of record, mostly. Ya know? All the…there’s gonna be a lot of stuff that’s gonna come out in this thing that’s not gonna be helpful to everybody. Including Jake, unfortunately. Call Jake, I says it’s in your client’s best interest not to do this. For your sake, and I told you, didn’t I- told you that day, and I called Jake, remember? Now. If I was gonna call and threaten when I called Jake and tell you, hey, I just called Jake and threatened Stallone? Tell him it’s in his client’s best interest and it’s the truth, something that I would state on the stand, so if they wanna bring me in and depose me as to what I said, it’s gonna be exactly that and that’s what I’m gonna say. Now, Jake Bloom decides to tell a lie and say that I said something else…well then, Jake’s gotta live with that. (long pause) He wants to lie, lettem lie. (pause) I don’t think he will. I just can’t imagine I’ve been with so much with that man…from the Bruckheimers, Jerry Simpson Bruckheimer days to present. Just took care of that big Chris Rock matter for his firm. I mean, if he wants to ruin the relationship, end our relationship, then fine. And he asked me for favors. He asked me not to go after Robert Earl when that bankruptcy took place so Robert Earl could put it back on his feet, so he could recover some of his money. And: I didn’t. I didn’t go after him. Jake needs to remember all these things. And I think he knows, in his heart he knows.

SINGER
Well, I don’t know if Jake did anything against you, I’d be very surprised.

PELLICANO
Well. Then what do they have? What is it they intend to use? Cuz I talked to you, I talked to Jake, oh that’s the fourth people. Talked to you, talked to Jake, talked to Stevens…still only three people. Why do I keep coming up with four people? Stevens, you, Jake, oh, it’s because of Elie. But I never talked to Elie. That’s right, that’s the fourth person. Elie. But I never talked to Elie. (pause) Are you telling me that Elie said that I made a threat against Stallone?

SINGER
I don’t even know if it was Elie-

PELLICANO
You know what I’m gonna do, I’m gonna call up Elie. That’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna get this thing straightened out. I’m gonna call up Elie.

SINGER
All I know is that the information is getting back to them that you’re threatening him.

PELLICANO
Marty, from who? There’s nobody else.

SINGER
I don’t know who you’re speaking to. You know-

PELLICANO
Marty. I’m not threatening him. Am I investigating him? Yes. The only people that I know, I know Ronnie Meyers, I know, uh, Brad Grey…I know Jake Bloom, I know you. And, uh, that’s actually all I know that know Stallone. I’m sure everyone in town knows him, but I don’t know who knows who. Sure there are people at Paramount that knows him, sure there are people at Sony that knows him, ya know what I’m saying? I’m sure there’s a lot of people that I know that know him, but I haven’t had any conversations with these people. (sighs) Anyway, this is now getting boring.

SINGER
We’re repeating each other. Alright. Whatever you do, just recognize who you’re talking to. You’re dealing with someone like an Elie Samaha, Elie Samaha might be someone you can’t trust. That’s all I’m telling you.

PELLICANO
See, I didn’t call him up and pretend to trust him. The only thing I did was talk to Stevens. If you’re telling me that Stevens told Samaha, and Samaha told them-

SINGER
I’m not saying any of the specifics, I wasn’t told the specifics.

PELLICANO
Well, why don’t you find out what the fucking specifics are, then call me back. And say, this is what they said. (pause) Why dontchu do that?

SINGER
Alright, I’ll find out exactly the specifics. My understanding is, based on what I was told, you allegedly told…Elie, that you were going to get Stallone.

PELLICANO
No. Never. On my son’s Luca’s life, may he die if I’m telling you a lie. If you believe that, after what I just said, then you and I are not friends.

SINGER
No, I believe you 100%, I’m just saying that you’re dealing with someone who is going to look to befriend Sly, the same time befriend you. Elie is as slippery as they come.

PELLICANO
But see, Elie is not my friend. Elie’s just a client.

SINGER
But you tell this someone like that, you can’t trust people-

PELLICANO
But even if I- Marty, even if I said to Elie, I’m going to go after Stallone, I’m gonna ruin his career, I’m gonna ruin him, let’s say I said all these things. Doesn’t matter anyhow. Certainly not gonna matter in this lawsuit. They could have a lawsuit against me. Ya understand? For making, you know, derogatory and disparaging remarks, or defamation of character. They wanna do that, lettem do that.

SINGER
No, they can make a claim against Starr for-

PELLICANO
Well, they can make a claim against Starr, but if it’s not true, Marty, they’re not gonna prevail.

SINGER
They can make a claim against Starr.

PELLICANO
Well then let them make- You know what? I’m gonna call Ken, and I’m gonna call Bert, and I’m gonna tell them about all this. And I-

SINGER
You don’t need to tell them. Why do you need to tell them this shit? Don’t tell them. You’re a fool if you tell them.

PELLICANO
Why?

SINGER
What do you gain?

PELLICANO
They know the truth!

SINGER
You’re wrong, if you tell them anything, in my opinion.

PELLICANO
Why am I wrong?

SINGER
Why should they cut back and say, okay, Anthony, don’t do it.

PELLICANO
Don’t what?

SINGER
Why- because if you do it, you’re gonna affect the way you do your job.

PELLICANO
No they’re not! They’re gonna know I’m even more inspired! Listen to me: the reason they hired me is because they know I’m gonna get the job done and I am. And I have been. This is an easy case, Marty.

SINGER
Well I’m sure they talked-

PELLICANO
Marty this is an easy fucking case.

SINGER
Let me ask you a question. Bert obviously had a right in his depositions to ask-

PELLICANO
Just a minute. (off phone) Who the fuck is that? (pause) I’ll have to call her back, I have no idea what the fuck she’s talking about. (back to phone) Sorry.

SINGER
Bert has the right to find in deposition to find everything that was told to him by Samaha.

PELLICANO
Okay.

SINGER
I mean, so, rather-

PELLICANO
But why get- Why Elie- If Elie did this, then he’s gonna get deposed-

SINGER
No, but his lawyer wrote letters saying you’re threatening him, right, Sly’s lawyers said it-

PELLICANO
Yeah, but he didn’t say by whom.

SINGER
No, that’s right, but if Bert questions him in his deposition, and says, your lawyer made a claim that you were threatened, who did he speak to?

PELLICANO
Yeah, but you wanna know something? Bert is not gonna ask Stallone questions about me. Maybe the last six or seven questions of the deposition will relate to that.

SINGER
Yeah, right, that’s what I’m saying-

PELLICANO
He’s not gonna waste time on doing that shit until the end. I mean, why- And if he did that, I’d say Bert why the fuck are you wasting your time with this for? Talk about the merits of the case. Cuz the deposition is what you’re gonna use to try this case with. Stallone’s gotta go on record as to what his position is. And he’s done that. He’s done at least for…five hours today.

SINGER
Only went a half thing.

PELLICANO
Yeah. So good.

(long pause)

PELLICANO
You should tell him it only inspired me even more. Stupid fucken move. (long pause) K?

SINGER
It’s not…intended to intimidate you.

PELLICANO
Marty, you keep saying that…I didn’t say you were trying to intimidate me, they are. Am I saying they are? Absolutely. There’s no reason, trying to slow me down. Tell them all they did is inspire me even more.

SINGER
No, I don’t want you to slow down, I want you to do what you gotta do, and my point is-

PELLICANO
I’m gonna do it anyhow, Marty! Whether you want me to or not! I gotta do my job!

SINGER
I’m telling you a guy like Samaha if that’s the only other guy you spoke to, that’s the kind of guy you don’t wanna let him know what he thinks.

PELLICANO
(sighs)

SINGER
I gotta take this call, someone’s calling me from Europe.

PELLICANO
Ah bye.

219 The following transcript is taken from the audio at “Pellicano Trial Exclusive Audio: Hear Ken Starr’s Call” by Allison Hope Weiner.

Many of the major details of the Ken Starr case are dealt with in the main text. As said, the definitive piece on Ken Starr is probably “All the Best Victims” by Michael Shnayerson; other pieces are “Celebrity Adviser Starr Used Name-Dropping in His Alleged Fraud” by John Helyar and David Glovin, as well as “Untangling a Ponzi Scheme With a Hollywood Twist” by Nelson D. Schwartz. Marisa is Ken Starr’s ex-wife, who also was the office manager at his firm. Kevin King is the head of Stallone’s production company, Rogue Marble. The “Arnie” referred to be Starr is most likely Arnold Herrmann, an account manager with Starr’s firm at the time; Herrmann is mentioned in “Celebrity Adviser” by Helyar and Glovin.

PELLICANO
Yes, Marisa please.

STARR’S RECEPTIONIST
Mister Starr’s office.

PELLICANO
Yes, Marisa please.

STARR’S RECEPTIONIST
She’s out of the office right now. Who’s calling?

PELLICANO
It’s Anthony. Is she out for a while?

STARR’S RECEPTIONIST
Uh, she had an appointment? She’ll be back after twelve. Can I have her call you back?

PELLICANO
Yeah, it’s important. Can you reach her?

STARR’S RECEPTIONIST
Uh…not at this appointment. I tried calling a few minutes ago, and her cell phone wasn’t on, so.

PELLICANO
Okay, is Ken in?

STARR’S RECEPTIONIST
He’s in a…meeting.

PELLICANO
Uh, would you tell Ken that I’m on the phone?

(long pause, waiting for STARR to come on)

PELLICANO
Hello?

STARR
Hey. How are you.

PELLICANO
Fine.

STARR
How you doing?

PELLICANO
I don’t know if you got my message from last night?

STARR
No.

PELLICANO
Okay, I called about eleven o’clock your time, I got your machine. I was here working late last night for you. I’ve got some things I need to discuss with you. [STARR: Go ahead.] Very important. And I gotta call Bert back.

STARR
Go ahead.

PELLICANO
Okay, here’s the first thing. Is there…documentation, for each deal that Stallone got involved with…that has a signature from him, acknowledging the deal and the consequences of his investment-

STARR
He signed every- Yes. The answer would be yes.

PELLICANO
Okay. Why is it that Lester and the attorneys say they don’t have any such documents?

STARR
Uh- [starts cracking up] I have no idea. But every deal was signed by him, if we have to we could call up each of the companies and get those documents.

PELLICANO
Okay. You need to call up each of those companies and get those documents.

STARR
Alright.

PELLICANO
Now. I’m gonna rephrase this question differently, now. In each deal, that was high-risk or no-risk, or, you know, any risk whatsoever…[STARR: Mmmm-hmmm.]…and he was asked to sign…is it possible that Arnie only sent him signature pages…

STARR
Impossible.

PELLICANO
Okay.

STARR
As a matter of fact, I sent Bert a typical letter that went to him…[PELLICANO: Yeah, I know all that.] That went out by Fedex…And the constellation, and that’s exactly what would go to him.

PELLICANO
Okay, but: what I’m trying to get across-

STARR
The answer is no, there would never be a time- First of all, he would never sign it. Not his nature.

PELLICANO
Okay. If Kevin King says…or will testify that Arnie told Stallone that…because of all your contacts, and your abilities, you could get him outta a deal in thirty days. Would that be a lie?

STARR
I have no idea, but I’ll tell you, if he wanted to get outta any of the deals he was in, I am sure we could get him out in thirty days, if he wanted to get out.

PELLICANO
Okay, so, if Arnie did say that, he wasn’t lying.

STARR
Absolutely.

PELLICANO
Okay. If when the time comes Arnie were to testify to that…ya understand? [STARR: Mmmm-hmmmm.] He needs to tell the truth. You hearing me?

STARR
Oh, absolutely. And the answer is: Anthony, without a doubt, on Kobrick, Dorsey Whitney, or the third one…

PELLICANO
I don’t wanna know about any of the deals…

STARR
Oh, but on those three deals, absolutely, he could’ve gotten him out at any time.

PELLICANO
Okay, but what I’m saying to you is: were he to be deposed, and asked that question…

STARR
Right.

PELLICANO
…the answer is: YES.

STARR
Yes.

PELLICANO
Okay. I just wanna make that clear now. Because I have lots and lots of information.

STARR
The answer is yes.

PELLICANO
Okay. Now. Todd Morgan told Stallone that you just lost a six million dollar client. A blue blood. Is that true?

STARR
No. Who?

PELLICANO
I don’t know.

STARR
No.

PELLICANO
Okay. You didn’t just lose a client?

STARR
(pause) A blue blood?

PELLICANO
Well, I’m saying blue blood. You know, a client. That’s worth that kind of money. That-

STARR
Six million?

PELLICANO
Six hundred million.

STARR
Oh, no.

PELLICANO
Well, the guy-

STARR
Oh, I know who they’re talking about. It was Mort Zuckerman, about a year ago.

PELLICANO
Okay. Now, is he a friend of yours, or an enemy of yours?

STARR
He’s a friend of mine. He didn’t leave here for any other reason other than the fact-

PELLICANO
Gimme his name-

STARR
Nono, you don’t wanna call Mort.

PELLICANO
I’m not gonna call him. I need to know what his name is.

STARR
Mortimer Zuckerman.

PELLICANO
Mort-i-mer Zuckerman.

STARR
He owns the Daily News. Bert knows him. Bert’s a personal friend of his.

PELLICANO
He owns the Daily News? [STARR: Mmmmm-hmmmm.] Okay, listen to me closely about this. Is it possible that this guy went to Todd?

STARR
No.

PELLICANO
Okay. And you say he’s a friend of yours?

STARR
Yeah.

PELLICANO
Okay. So he’s not going to talk against you?

STARR
No. All he would say is, first of all, we would make suggestions, same way we did with everybody, as to what he should invest in, he would make the decision if he wanted in or out, and if he wanted out, he pulled out.

PELLICANO
Okay. So you’re just telling me he pulled out?

STARR
Sure. Course we were through the worst market in history, but-

PELLICANO
Nonono, I don’t- [STARR: Out of his total-] You and I know-

STARR
Out of the total money that he invested, there were like two of ours that he came out of…all the others he stayed in. But he was making a decision to get out of the market in general.

PELLICANO
Okay. But why would he tell anybody about that? Why would he say left you?

STARR
He wouldn’t, and he’s not worth six hundred million, he’s worth a lot more, so it may not be him.

PELLICANO
Okay, well. They’re trying to find this person.

STARR
Well, let me tell you something, he’s worth far far more than-

PELLICANO
Okay, but that’s-

STARR
We were doing all-

PELLICANO
Kennykennykenny, calm down. The thing is, they have somebody, and I need to know who the fuck that somebody is.

STARR
I have no idea. I don’t think it’s him.

PELLICANO
Now. Next subject. Who is Mary Anne Magdalena?

STARR
Oh, god. Mary Anne Magdalena is somebody who was client here, she was a producer, and that’s who she is.

PELLICANO
Okay, there’s bad blood between you?

STARR
No, not really. What happened was, Mary Anne contended that she had not wanted to make an investment that she made…

PELLICANO
And you gave her her money back?

STARR
And we gave her her money back.

PELLICANO
Okay. They’re after her like crazy.

STARR
Okay, that’s-

PELLICANO
Just a second, now. Do you know who John Powers is?

STARR
No.

PELLICANO
That’s her new business manager.

Okay.

PELLICANO
They’re trying to get her to say that you did the same thing to her that you did to Stallone.

STARR
You know what stock she bought?

PELLICANO
What?

STARR
Planet Hollywood.

PELLICANO laughs hard and long.

PELLICANO
Ah, shit.

STARR
That’ll really hurt us.

PELLICANO
Okay, so what happened? Did you give her her money back?

STARR
We did. We gave her the amount that she lost on it, saying that if she felt that it was fair and equitable, that’s what we would do. No bad blood.

PELLICANO
Why would you do that?

STARR
Because…basically, one of the things you do try to do in this business is to keep bad blood to a minimum. [PELLICANO: Mmmm-hmmm.] And if somebody is making a contention like that, you just want to keep it to a minimum. That’s the way of doing it. It wasn’t a lot. It was like ten grand.

PELLICANO
That’s all?

STARR
It was not a big sum of money.

PELLICANO
Okay. Now, listen. You know that you have to keep these conversations between you and I.

STARR
I know that, but this is-

PELLICANO
Just listen to me, Kenny. [STARR: Sure.] Now, this is real important. You cannot say a word to anybody in the world about what I just told you.

STARR
I wouldn’t.

PELLICANO
Okay. I know you wouldn’t, but I’m just telling you not to. Now, you are not going to tell Bert this, I am; so there’s not going to be any communication between you and Bert, and you and I never had this conversation.

STARR
Okay.

PELLICANO
Alright?

STARR
Absolutely.

PELLICANO
I just need to know this…and then I need to call Bert, to tell him that I investigated this, and there’s nothing to it.

STARR
Nothing.

PELLICANO
Alright. Was Jim Wiatt also a client of yours?

STARR
Yes, he was.

PELLICANO
And did you have a problem with him?

STARR
No, the reason Jim left is he was negotiating to go over to William Morris and felt it would be a conflict, since he also represented Jeff Berg.

PELLICANO
Well, Jim Wiatt is a personal friend of mine, and there’s no way he would do anything against him.

STARR
Yeah.

PELLICANO
No, he won’t. Okay, let’s see-

STARR
Can you imagine, this is all of it, Anthony.

PELLICANO
Well, I’m finding out…as you can tell, I’m working really hard for you, [STARR: Mmmm-hmmmm.] I’m finding out everything they’ve got. And you know, I just wanna go through these things with you, so that you and I are on the same page, and we know everything.

STARR
There’s-

PELLICANO
See, when the depositions happen, I don’t want there to be any surprises. I want you to be, in your mind, to have each and every answer answered, in a clear concise manner, and not be afraid of anything.

STARR
Absolutely. I mean, there are things I’m sure like Mary Anne Magdalena that I never thought of. Because one of the things-

PELLICANO
Well, they’re trying to get her business manager, her new business manager, to get her to sign an affidavit about you.

STARR
Okay.

PELLICANO
That’s what they’re trying to do right now.

STARR
That’s fine. The amount of money we’re talking about was diminous [sic].

PELLICANO
Well…okay, so in light of that, are you telling me there were other people, that got disgruntled- [STARR: No, no.] -and you gave them their money back?

STARR
No. What I’m telling you is someone had a penalty on their tax return because we filed late, we’ll pay the penalty. (pause) And that’s a standard practice in accounting. It’s our fault because we filed something late, will I say we never filed something late? Absolutely not. We do. And if we do, we stand up and pay the penalty. And those people are still clients here. So…

PELLICANO
Well, that kind of thing I’m not concerned about…

STARR
The number of clients-

PELLICANO
Those people are not going to come forward-

STARR
The number of clients we have lost over the years has been miniscule. Mort has a record of keeping people for about two years, that’s how long he kept us and, that’s it. And he always made the final decision if he was going to invest…and in fact, he did invest with Kobrick. And Bessemer. With two of those that Stallone’s complaining about. And if he’s looking at it and saying it’s good, then one of the feelings you have is that it’s good. And I gave Bert their track record, I don’t know if you saw it. Of the three people he’s complaining about, their track record is impeccable.

PELLICANO
What three people?

STARR
He’s complaining about three investments.

PELLICANO
Oh nonono, I don’t care about that. Listen, I have no doubt in my mind that you- Listen, all Bert has to do is tell me that you’re a stand-up gentleman, that’s all I need to hear.

STARR
Nah, this is just-

PELLICANO
Bert is like my blood. Ya understand?

STARR
Yeah, but this is like a crock of shit.

PELLICANO
I know it’s all a crock of shit.

STARR
And I just sent Bert today, you know we sent Bert from January of 2000 through the time Stallone left, every month, he was sent an analysis of how every single investment was performing.

PELLICANO
Okay, now, listen to me again, I’m gonna go back to the first question I asked you: all those investments, all of the investments, period, he signed off of, and you have signature pages, I mean, you have signatures, right?

STARR
Absolutely.

PELLICANO
Okay. Is it possible that you sent him a signature page by fax and he faxed back his signature page?

STARR
I would say that is impossible, nothing would go that quickly. Impossible.

PELLICANO
Okay, so that each and every document has an original signature?

STARR
Correct.

PELLICANO
Okay. It’s absolutely imperative-

STARR
-that we get those. We will get those.

PELLICANO
You need to get those ASAP.

STARR
We will get those.

PELLICANO
Because that will kill Stallone. Ya understand?

STARR
We will get those. Simple as that.

PELLICANO
Yeah I kinda felt that you-

STARR
Well, let me ask you something: when you say each and every, aren’t we concerned about the three here, or you want every one of them-

PELLICANO
I want every one of them.

STARR
Okay fine.

PELLICANO
You know what I mean? Because it shows a course of conduct, [STARR: Mmmm-hmmmm.] -it shows a course of business, and he cannot say that you in one deal did A and in another deal did B. You did the same thing across the board.

STARR
No problem.

PELLICANO
Whether it was the high risk, or low risk, or no risk.

STARR
Let me just ask- Anthony, two quick questions, I’m in a meeting unfortunately, and I’ll have Marisa call you back. When she gets here. Number one is: the more I look at this, I mean, seeing that he was negotiating with Robert Earl at the end of December to get himself more options in Planet Hollywood et cetera, the fact of the matter is…it is so thin, that it’s almost beyond paper thin, the same thing with the three, because if you take a look at the year 2000, which is really the year that he’s complaining about even though those three investments were way down, his performance for the year 2000 was flat because all the others were up. And from 1997 to the time he left here, he was ahead five to six million bucks. Okay?

PELLICANO
Does he have that five to six million now or is it still with you?

STARR
No! He doesn’t have a penny with us. I don’t know what Stallone investments, which he kept and which he didn’t. Cuz he’s been gone for six months, I don’t have a clue.

PELLICANO
Alright, alright. Now: did he, along with that, said that: you said, when Kevin wanted to have, asked you to have an audit, you told him if he wanted to audit you to take their books and leave. That’s correct. We said, if you don’t have the confidence in us, then our feeling is you should be somewhere else, and we’d be more than happy to send stuff wherever you wanted it to go. And what happened as a result of that conversation?

STARR
Nothing.

PELLICANO
And when was that conversation?

STARR
It was when we first started with him, he asked me, are we ever audited, and I said no. I said, if somebody doesn’t have the faith and confidence-

PELLICANO
Waitwaitwait- are you telling me that conversation happened at the beginning of the relationship, not at the end?

STARR
It happened at the beginning, and it happened, once, during.

PELLICANO
I need…the once, during, is the one I’m talking about.

STARR
Yeah, this has gotta be, maybe, a year before he left. We basically said, look: we have no problem with you auditing things, at all, however, if anyone audits us, we basically no longer represent them.

PELLICANO
Okay, is that true?

STARR
Absolutely.

PELLICANO
Is that true across the board?

STARR
Cross the board.

PELLICANO
And why do you have that attitude?

STARR
Namely because we had one audit…about twelve years ago…and it was…

PELLICANO
It was a pain in the ass?

STARR
It took weeks and weeks and weeks. Of our time.

PELLICANO
Okay. So what you’re saying is that it’s your policy.

STARR
That’s it.

PELLICANO
So if you were to answer that question in a deposition, in a deposition, you’d say, that’s my policy.

STARR
Absolutely.

PELLICANO
Okay. Then I’m not concerned about that either. Okay. Is this guy Arnie somebody you can absolutely trust?

STARR
With my life.

PELLICANO
Okay. So, if Kevin King-

STARR
It’s a lie. Arnie- First of all, keep something in mind. In the four years I spoke to Stallone probably…ten times. Alright? Maybe twelve. But that’s it. And met with him personally maybe three or four. That was the entire relationship I had. He spoke to Arnie and Tom who are here, and Kevin called them constantly. And there was never an investment where they didn’t call up on and ask questions about, ever.

PELLICANO
Did they ever- Did they make a (inaudible) file on each and every call?

STARR
No, because they don’t do that.

PELLICANO
(irritated) I’m just asking the question.

STARR
The answer is no.

PELLICANO
Okay. That’s all I wanna know. Alright, the one thing that we have that would be absolutely demonstrative is…you can get copies of all of those deal memos.

STARR
Oh yeah. I’ll tell Arnie to get copies of all of those that have been signed to the deals.

PELLICANO
Okay, why didn’t you keep copies of those there?

STARR
Because they sent them back. To him.

PELLICANO
I know they did, but why?

STARR
Beats the shit out of me.

PELLICANO
Okay, now, when they say they can’t find anything like that…why is that so?

STARR
Cuz they’re lying, I guess. [STARR cracks up.]

PELLICANO
Or- Or: They’re stupid.

STARR
Yeah. It’s one or the other.

PELLICANO
They haven’t found it. You sent like a hundred boxes, right?

STARR
Oh yeah.

PELLICANO
So what it clearly means is- they haven’t had a chance to go through all the boxes.

STARR
Anthony, they also made the comment that when the stock was- when Kreef got out at three fifty, the stock when down, the stock went up- [PELLICANO: I know.] That he was only talking to me, that memo from Arnie to Robert Earl saying you negotiated a million options with Stallone, so cough up the million options. Uh, I mean all of that.

PELLICANO
Do you have- Bert has that?

STARR
Yeah. We sent it to him.

PELLICANO
You were supposed to send it to me, but you sent it to Bert. [STARR: Yeah.] And I told that to Bert last night and he said “Oh shit”, because when it goes to him, he’s got to copy and give it to me. Usually you send to me and I copy and give it to him.

STARR
You also got the four years of financials that we’re xeroxing for you.

PELLICANO
Okay.

STARR
And every month he got a financial showing exactly-

PELLICANO
That’s the second question I’d like to ask you before we hung up. Okay, I’m about to put a smile on your face.

STARR
Go ahead.

PELLICANO
I’m about 99.99% sure I have the Achilles’ heel. I don’t know if we can use it. But I have it.

STARR
Well, if we can’t use it, it doesn’t put a smile on my face.

PELLICANO
Well…the threat of using it may do it too.

STARR
Alright, Anthony, and you told Marisa you need more money? [PELLICANO: Yes.] Is that all cleared through Bert and everything since he’s the one who brought you on, is there any issue with that?

PELLICANO
I told him I would ask you for more money, yes.

STARR
What?

PELLICANO
I told him I needed more and asked you.

STARR
No problem. We will get the cheque out.

PELLICANO
Listen: now I’m gonna tell you my policy. If you lose any confidence in me then I walk.

STARR
Oh no. I’m not losing confidence in you at all.

PELLICANO
I was here till nine o’clock last night, ya understand? [STARR: No, but-] Wait- And I was here at 7:30 this morning, working for you.

STARR
No, but I get two people- I get you telling me to clear everything through you, I get Bert telling me to clear everything through him. So I don’t know who I’m clearing what through.

PELLICANO
My money, the fees that I earn, you’re gonna deal with me, unless you wanna deal with Bert.

STARR
No.

PELLICANO
And then all I’m gonna do is I’m gonna call Bert and he’s gonna call you, so.

STARR
No. I’d rather deal directly with you. So, let me have Marisa give you a call-

PELLICANO
And if I am too expensive, like I told Marisa you wanna go elsewhere-

STARR
First of all, my wife has fallen in love with you. So, you’re not- [PELLICANO cracks up.] I think it’s a common italian heritage, so it’s not an issue.

PELLICANO
Yeah, but I don’t want it to be an issue because I can’t work that way.

STARR
Nono, it isn’t, so don’t worry.

PELLICANO
I probably would be a multi-millionaire now if I kissed everybody’s ass from presidents on down.

STARR
I don’t want you to do that.

PELLICANO
I treat everybody exactly the same way, and I’m fiercely loyal to you.

STARR
All I want is for this thing to disappear.

PELLICANO
And I am trying. That’s all I’m doing. Bert told me you were a favorite client, and to go all out for you, and that’s what I’m doing.

STARR
Super. I will- Any other information you need, just let me know, and Marisa will call you when she comes in.

PELLICANO
The only other thing I need is Filetti, and, ah, they’re trying to get Filetti to give them some assistance too. But I don’t really care about-

STARR
Well, you know, we straightened out his life when he came four years ago. And Arnie will do chapter and verse of what was done which makes this even more egregious.

PELLICANO
I know. The whole thing is egregious. But you wanna know something? At first, I was just adamantly hateful towards Stallone, but he is just suckered by this guy Nagler. He is absolutely-

STARR
Didn’t I tell you? That’s why someone needs to unsucker him-

PELLICANO
That’s what we’re doing. That’s what we’re doing. Now, ya know, ya got a lot to analyze that you didn’t even know about. We’re trying to unsucker him, but the problem is that he made a deal with this lawyer, now, this is absolutely dead confidential: he gets fifteen thousand dollars a month, and he gets twenty percent. That’s his deal. [STARR: Well, he's-] So he sees a pie in the sky, and he sees his name in the paper, and he thinks he can play in the big leagues, and he’s nowhere near the fucking big leagues.

STARR
Beat the shit out of him, Anthony.

PELLICANO
I’m going to.

STARR
Okay?

PELLICANO
I’m gonna take a lot of pleasure in this.

STARR
Thanks a mil, I’m gonna make sure the guys get all the other stuff to you.

PELLICANO
Okay partner.

STARR
Take care.

220 From the full transcript at footnote 215.

OVITZ
When you have time…I have a situation I need advice on, I think it would be- [PELLICANO: Just tell me when.] I think it would be beneficial to you…I think it would be beneficial to you and…probably beneficial to me.

PELLICANO
Listen: my friend Bert Fields loves you, I love you. [OVITZ: Well.] Ya understand what I’m saying?

OVITZ
I appreciate that, but this is incredibly…this is the single most complex situation imaginable, and-

PELLICANO
Well when do you wanna see me? Give me a time.

OVITZ
When I can see you…privately.

221 From “Talk of the Town” by Bryan Burrough and John Connolly:

One of the most significant cases now under scrutiny involves Michael Ovitz’s complaints against his “enemies,” in which Pellicano began to investigate them in 2001; the indictments allege that Pellicano paid policemen to run background checks on six people, including talent agents Bryan Lourd and Kevin Huvane of CAA (motor-vehicle records searched, August 2001); New York Times reporter Bernard Weinraub (F.B.I. database, May 2002); Arthur Bernier, a former employee who had sued Ovitz for wrongful termination (F.B.I. database, May 2002); and James Casey, who had sued for a referral fee he felt he was owed by the firm. Ovitz, through his attorney, has denied any knowledge of these searches.

The one Ovitz “enemy” Pellicano is known to have wiretapped was Anita Busch, whose phone remained compromised up until the month of the F.B.I. raids. However, there is no evidence that Ovitz knew of the wiretap, nor that his interest in Busch had spurred it. Prosecutors, however, are known to be examining whether Ovitz was behind the intimidation of Busch. Initially, speculation had centered on Steven Seagal, but the F.B.I. has all but cleared the actor of involvement. At least two witnesses have been questioned by the grand jury about Ovitz’s links to the incident. (The U.S. attorney, Dan Saunders, declined to confirm whether Ovitz was a subject of the investigation, saying, “We do not comment about ongoing investigations.”) Marshall Grossman, Ovitz’s lawyer, denies that Ovitz is being investigated and says he had no connection with the crime, claiming, “At the time he allegedly hired a third party to threaten Ms. Busch, Mr. Pellicano was not in the employ of Michael Ovitz.”

No previous accounts of Ovitz’s relationship with Pellicano suggest that the two worked together before 2001. But, according to a former Pellicano employee, Pellicano had done personal work for Ovitz since at least 1996. “When Ovitz was leaving Disney,” this employee says, “he became Anthony’s biggest interest, meaning most important client. They were good friends and would speak to each other on a daily basis. Ovitz would often come to the office, and Anthony helped him set up his office in Santa Monica. It went on for months, with Anthony going out to Ovitz’s office almost daily. Anthony helped install the security and phone systems at Ovitz’s office.”

222 “At Trial, Hollywood Power Broker Says He Wanted Only Information” by David M. Halbfinger:

A reporter who wrote damaging articles about Michael S. Ovitz, the onetime Hollywood power broker, broke down repeatedly in court on Wednesday as she testified about what she said were threats on her life orchestrated by the private eye Anthony Pellicano on Mr. Ovitz’s behalf.

The reporter, Anita M. Busch, said two men in a dark Mercedes nearly ran her down outside her own home in August 2002. “I remember thinking I was going to die,” she said through tears. “I thought, ‘This is how it ends.’ “

But Mr. Ovitz, once a top talent agent and later president of the Walt Disney Company, denied any role in threatening Ms. Busch. He acknowledged paying Mr. Pellicano $75,000 in cash to dig up information about her and another reporter who he said were hurting him, but he said he did not know Mr. Pellicano was doing anything illegal.

After a deal with AT&T fell through in 2001, he said, he began looking to sell the company and make a “graceful exit.” By May 2002 he was in escrow to sell it to a rival management company, called the Firm. But, he testified, a series of New York Times articles from March to May – written by Ms. Busch, a freelancer, and Bernard Weinraub, the newspaper’s Hollywood correspondent – had made it “more than difficult” to close the sale. “Particularly ones that were accusing us of stealing money from our partners,” he said.

Prosecutors played a recording of Mr. Ovitz calling Mr. Pellicano on April 11, 2002, the day of another Busch byline in The Times on an article that contained negative information about Mr. Ovitz, and asking for a 30-minute meeting to discuss “the most complex situation imaginable.”

On the stand, Mr. Ovitz said he “may have exaggerated a bit,” but said he “had no one feeding me information.” So he turned to Mr. Pellicano to get embarrassing or otherwise useful information about the New York Times journalists and their sources, who he believed included David Geffen, of DreamWorks, and Ron Meyer, the Universal Studios chief who was also a founder of Creative Artists.

223 From “Hollywood Ending” by Ken Auletta:

Bertram Harris Fields was born on March 31, 1929, the only child of Mildred Arlyn Ruben, a former ballet dancer who read the Wall Street Journal and the Daily Worker, and Maxwell Fields, an eye surgeon in Los Angeles whose patients included Groucho Marx and Mae West. His mother, Fields says, “had a fierceness in her. She felt strongly about ideas. She was not a person who easily saw the other side of an idea.” His father, who in his early forties abandoned his practice to join the Army-a decision that Fields still recalls with reverence-was “very articulate, very rational,” Field says, and he believes that he was shaped by that as well as by his mother’s fiery stubbornness.

In nearly half a century, Fields has represented almost every studio head and some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Tom Cruise, Michael Jackson, Warren Beatty, the Beatles, John Travolta, Madonna, Mike Nichols, and Dustin Hoffman. He has also represented Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp., and Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, the co-founders of DreamWorks SKG. His unwritten calling card says, not wholly accurately, “Bert Fields has never lost a court case.” He has played much the same role in L.A. that the late Edward Bennett Williams did in Washington: clients come to him in the belief that, through skill or intimidation, he will make their legal problems vanish.

“I earned money as a caddy,” Fields remembers. “I pressed my own pants and shirts. I was poor. It made me more independent than I might have been. It made me perhaps yearn for family more. Those were very lonely times.” He enrolled at U.C.L.A. His father wanted him to be a doctor, but he decided to be a lawyer and was accepted at Harvard Law School. After graduation, he married Amy Markson, a college sweetheart, and joined the faculty of Stanford Law School, hoping to avoid military service. In 1953, when he lost his deferment because of the Korean War, he volunteered for the Air Force. For the next two years, he served as a prosecutor and a defender in the Judge Advocates Division.

Fields did a little acting, appearing in an episode of “Dragnet” when his client Jack Webb cast him as a prosecutor. He became the lawyer for celebrities like Jeanette McDonald and the producer Mike Todd and young performers like Peter Falk and Elaine May.

The line about actresses being like votary candles is a lift from the great Evan Wright, who uses the metaphor to describe porn performers in “Scenes from my life in porn”, which can be found in the excellent collection of his work, Hella Nation.

224 From “Hollywood Ending” by Ken Auletta, the reference to Fields’ novels and the characters within:

Bert Fields has many talents besides the law. He has written two mystery novels, under the pseudonym D. Kincaid; a book about Shakespeare (“Players”), in which he posits the theory that Shakespeare had a secret writing partner, probably the Earl of Oxford; and “Royal Blood,” a revisionist study of Richard III. He is completing a biography of Elizabeth I. Fields is a rarity among entertainment lawyers because he also litigates, and his pugnacity frightens opponents. One Fields client says, “If he’s on the other side, he’s a nightmare. He’s going to make your life miserable. Someone who actually enjoys beating people up, there’s something wrong with them. But when you hire a litigator you want a prick.” This quality is especially reassuring to clients who, as the producer and writer Norman Lear puts it, have a “need for adulation.” John Calley, who has run three Hollywood studios, and who produced “The Da Vinci Code” for Sony, says of the helping professions-the agents, managers, publicists, and lawyers who work for Hollywood’s biggest names-that “it is in your interest to be able to seem to protect them from anything.”

In Fields’s novels, his alter ego, an attorney named Harry Cain, relies on a disreputable private investigator to retrieve information. In real life, P.I.s locate witnesses, discover discrepancies in a résumé or in evidence, do background checks on companies or individuals, and discourage stalkers. “You want to find out, if someone is suing your client, do they have a record of arrests?” Fields told me in the course of four interviews. “Do they have a record of immoral behavior? Have they been in litigation a lot? Sometimes you say, ‘I want surveillance on the opponent-follow him.’ ” He added, “Without question, tapping someone’s phone line is not legitimate and proper.” In his novels, though, the private eye seems to obtain some information from wiretaps.

A few weeks after posting this, I learned that Slate had given over an entire article to the troublesome nature of Fields’ books. It is a short piece that raises many of the points here, “Pellicano, My Muse” by Jill Pellettieri.

225 From “Hollywood Ending” by Ken Auletta, on Fields’ friendship with Mel Brooks and the late Anne Bancroft:

In 1953, when he lost his deferment because of the Korean War, he volunteered for the Air Force. For the next two years, he served as a prosecutor and a defender in the Judge Advocates Division. In 1955, the year that James was born, Fields went to work as a litigator for a Beverly Hills law firm, where he was asked to handle the divorce of a fashion model, Lydia Menovich, a five-foot-eight-inch beauty. Friends saw Lydia as an unpretentious Auntie Mame character; when she met Mel Brooks, she badgered him to marry her best friend, Anne Bancroft. Fields fell in love with his client, and they were married in 1960, two years after they met.

In a courtroom, Fields never raises his voice. “A jury doesn’t want some guy shouting at them,” he says. “Even when you think the other side is a scumbag-it doesn’t win you points.” He has sometimes listened to John Philip Sousa marches before heading to court. “They get me fired up,” he once told his friend Mel Brooks.

The one dollar retainer paid by Ovitz to Fields is mentioned in the same piece:

Fields formed an important alliance in this period with Michael Ovitz. “When I started C.A.A., in 1974,” Ovitz recalls, “I asked friends of mine who the meanest and nastiest litigators are in L.A.-who do I have to look out for? Two names came back.” One of them was Fields. Recalling their first meeting, Fields says, “I found him very bright.” After the meeting, Ovitz told Fields, “I’d like to pay you one dollar a year not to sue me.” Over the years, Fields sent clients like Dustin Hoffman to Ovitz, and Ovitz directed clients to Fields. Until 1995, Ovitz says, when he left the agency business to become a Disney executive, “we probably talked two, three times a week.”

On Fields’ interest in Shakespeare and Richard III, from “Telling Hollywood It’s Out of Order”:

Mr. Fields’s knowledge of Shakespeare is more than a party trick. He’s written two books on Shakespeare – the most recent, “Players: The Mysterious Identity of William Shakespeare,” published this spring after seven years’ work, makes the case that Shakespeare didn’t write the body of work attributed to him. While “Players” was well reviewed by Variety, most Shakespearean scholars simply don’t buy Mr. Fields’s controversial thesis. When he spoke to the Shakespeare Society in New York recently, members disputed just about everything in the book.

It was the kind of evening that Mr. Fields relishes, filled with well-reasoned debate. His first book on Shakespeare, “Royal Blood: Richard III and the Mystery of the Princes,” was also argumentative. He presented a strong defense of the traditionally maligned Richard III, and it was named Book of the Year in 1998 by the Ricardian Society, a group dedicated to reassessing Richard III. Both books are more cerebral than Mr. Fields’s early works.

“Just the facts” by Betty Goodwin is devoted to Fields and his book, “The ‘Energizer Bunny’ of Hollywood lawyers” by Ann O’Neill, and one promoting Players, which delves into the mysteries of Shakespeare authorship.

From The Lawyer’s Tale, the one dollar retainer paid by Ovitz in that book:

Mike Ovitz was the most powerful agent in town. A forceful, energetic man, he had fought his way to the top of his highly competitive profession and enjoyed close personal relationships with every studio head. His broad array of famous clients gave him unparalleled clout, and even the powerful men who ran the major studios needed Mike far more than he needed them.

Years before, when Harry was a young lawyer and Mike was just starting his own agency, he’d handed Harry a dollar, calling it a retainer, so Harry could never sue him. Harry had grinned, treating it as a joke…and a compliment. Every year since then, Ovitz had sent him another dollar, and Harry had never sued his agency. They’d had their battles, gone through periods of cool hostility, but, generally, had remained cordial friends. Occasionally, each exerting his own special kind of influence had helped the other through difficult situations. Mike liked Harry even though he sometimes found him an uncontrollable factor in a world Mike could otherwise control. Harry liked Mike too. Mike was bright and made Harry smile. That was something in itself.

Mike Ovitz dollar retainer

From The Lawyer’s Tale, Harry Cain’s friendship with Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, and his interest in Shakespeare authorship:

Georgine’s, Harry’s favorite New York restaurant, is a rose-colored, candlelit room in the East Seventies, where Georgine, a tall, striking woman, invariably dressed in black, gives quiet attention to the needs of serious New York diners who know the magic of her kitchen.

Harry was dining there with Anne and Mel Brooks, old friends, who were also in New York for a short stay. Laughing at his own clumsy role, he described the scuffle earlier that night at the Ritz-Carlton. He left out Alla’s visit to his suite, describing her as a “friend of a friend” he’d met in the lobby – a “nice lady, who, it’s clear, doesn’t like waiting for a cab.”

“Maybe Shakespeare – whoever that was – wrote a different trial scene, maybe he didn’t have final cut, so the theater owner said ‘Hey Bill, the play’s okay, but that scene’s gotta go.’”

The waiter brought their second dish, capellini con vongole. As they were served, Anne leaned forward, poking her fork at Harry. As always, she had a strongly held opinion. “What do you mean ‘whoever that was’? There’s no reason to think the plays were written by anybody but Shakespeare himself. You’re too smart to buy that nonsense about Bacon or Queen Elizabeth secretly writing them.”

Harry’s eyes flashed in the candlelight. Along with many other aspects of English history, he loved the Shakespeare controversy.

“Look,” he argued, shaking red-pepper flakes on his pasta, “Shakespeare was tight as hell, absolutely obsessed with money and property. He was so picky when writing his will that he even left his wife his ‘second-best bed.’ But the will says nothing about any literary property, and his unpublished plays would have been an extremely valuable asset…if he really wrote them. I don’t buy the Bacon cryptogram theory any more than you do. I’d love to think it was the queen, but I see no evidence of it, and there’s a strong argument against her…based on Richard the Second. You can make a good case for the Earl of Oxford though, and also for Marlowe.”

“That’s one I’d like to hear,” said Anne skeptically, grinning at her friend’s enthusiasm.

“Well, to begin with, Marlowe was a fine writer, and he supposedly died in a whorehouse brawl that sounds like a complete fake to me. Marlowe was in trouble with the Crown – probably thought he was going to be arrested, maybe burned. So he visits a sort of private brothel, has some drinks, and supposedly gets killed there in a fight with a guy who just happens to work for Marlowe’s patron, a guy who’s been Marlowe’s buddy for years. And Shakespeare’s plays were only published after Marlowe supposedly died.”

“You’re kidding, counselor,” Mel said, twisting capellini against his spoon.

“I’m not. I think the fight and Marlowe’s death were phony, staged to get him off the hook. Of course, that doesn’t prove he wrote Shakespeare’s plays, but I think I could sell the theory to a jury.”

pages 12 13 Brooks Bancroft Shakespeare pages 14 15 Brooks Bancroft Shakespeare

From The Lawyer’s Tale, Cain’s interest in Richard III:

They spent the rest of the afternoon reading, lying side by side in the huge bed they’d shared for so many years. Nancy had discovered John Fante, and was enjoying Wait Until Spring, Bandini. Harry was immersed in Horace Walpole’s Historic Doubts on Richard III, silently testing and questioning each of Walpole’s elegantly phrased arguments in favor of the much-maligned last Plantagenet. He was far more inclined to accept Walpole on this subject than Shakespeare, who, after all, wrote what a Tudor queen wanted to hear.

pages 154 155 Cain and Richard III

226 From The Lawyer’s Tale:

At nine o’clock that night, Harry had finally made it home and was preparing chicken fajitas, one of Nancy’s favorites. He had sautéed the strips of onion, sweet red peppers, and chicken, seasoned with balsamic vinegar, finely chopped jalapenos and Worcestershire sauce. Nancy was preparing to heat the flour tortillas that would be filled with the spicy mixture and eaten by hand. Both of them were relaxed, having already finished most of a bottle of Pinot Noir. Harry noticed they were drinking more these days. But who could blame them? he thought, with death still hanging over their heads. Who could blame them if they used opium?

pages 120 121 chicken fajitas

From “Cristal and fajitas — so sue him” by Corie Brown, a recipe for the fajitas is included at the bottom of the article:

The jalapenos aren’t hot enough, Bert Fields says, shaking his head. Nice green color, but too mild, he notes as he eats a slice he’s had marinating all afternoon in lime juice, sugar and salt.

“I don’t like pain,” he says, “But the fajitas I make for myself would probably make you cry.”

Inflicting pain is a professional specialty of Fields’, the fearsome entertainment attorney who famously reduced Walt Disney Co. Chairman Michael Eisner to a confused mess on the witness stand. Outside the courtroom, however, Fields is best known as one of Hollywood’s warmest hosts, throwing frequent, casual dinner parties at his home on Carbon Beach.

In a land of order-by-number catering, Fields is an apron-wearing throwback. And when he cooks, it’s about as down-home as it gets, even for his A-list regulars Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Dustin Hoffman and “Matrix” producer Joel Silver.

Last week, it was comedian Mel Brooks and his wife, Anne Bancroft; film producer Irwin Winkler and wife, Margo — the usual crowd. Political pundit Arianna Huffington and “Lion King” director Rob Minkoff arrived later.

What’s for Sunday supper? Chicken fajitas, guacamole, quesadillas and Fields’ Mexican twist on the crudite platter. The baked-apple dessert is courtesy of Fields’ wife, Barbara Guggenheim.

The sexual harassment suit filed in The Lawyer’s Tale:

As he was packing his briefcase, the intercom buzzed.

“Mike Simpson from the Times, Mr. Cain.”

“Okay, Clara.”

“Hi, Mike, what’s up?”

“Any comment on this case against you?”

“What case?”

“Some guy named Milo Putnam sued you today for breach of contract, wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and sexual harassment.”

“Sexual harassment?”

“Yeah. Claims that he was subjected to pornography, and was touched in an erotic manner and that an attempt was made to coerce him into sexual relations.”

pages 254 255 sexual harassment

The Monica Harmon case is discussed in the old Spy magazine piece, “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three” by August West, featuring appearances by both Bert Fields and Anthony Pellicano.

227 What follows is a comparison to show the link between the death by cancer of the wife of Harry Cain and that of Bert Fields, to demonstrate the similarity of the two men. Were you to ask how much disgust I feel for myself in doing something like this, about an event so devastating, the answer would be a great deal. If the people who harassed Linda Doucette and Anita Busch, whether the actual perpetrators or those who gave the orders, felt anything like the same self-loathing, we would never have reached this juncture, and I wouldn’t be writing this post.

From “Hollywood Ending” by Ken Auletta, on the death of Fields’ wife from cancer:

Fields says that most of the cases and events depicted in his novels are true. In “The Lawyer’s Tale,” published in 1992, Harry Cain’s wife dies of cancer. Lydia-Fields’s “soul mate,” as his son describes her-had died of lung cancer in 1986. For nearly two years, Fields was consumed by the effort to save her life. Ovitz, who was the chairman of the board of the U.C.L.A. Medical Center, persuaded the dean of the medical school to oversee Lydia’s treatment. Fields recalls that his friend and client Warren Beatty, a famous hypochondriac and amateur medical expert, became like “another doctor.” Fields still keeps Lydia’s ashes and photographs of her at an apartment he has in West Hollywood Hills.

From The Lawyer’s Tale, Harry Cain’s wife dies of cancer:

That night, as Harry lay alone in the huge bed, he heard Nancy’s voice. In a sweet, childlike tone, as if saddened and puzzled by what was happening to her, she murmured “Gee-whiz.” Then, after a moment, she slowly repeated those same forlorn words, “Gee-whiz…”

As the days went on, Harry continued to pray that he’d be taken and Nancy spared. He continued to mean it. He found it hard to stop the tears from rushing to his eyes when he thought of Nancy dying, of her no longer being there, no longer being part of his life. But as her condition worsened, and the pain and discomfort became constant and unbearable, his sorrow turned to a desperate rage.

One night, ten days after they had returned home, the fluid buildup became unstoppable. The big nurse shook her head as she inserted the cruel tube yet another time, deep into Nancy’s lungs, gesturing to Harry to hold her wrists. The night became a horror. Suctioning had to be restarted every five minutes, and each time Nancy writhed and moaned and fought. Harry knew she wouldn’t want to live that way, knew that nothing could save her now, that there was nothing left but the torturing pain in her back and the grotesque and humiliating discomfort of the constant suctioning. For the first time, he began to pray for her death.

Almost to himself he whispered, “This can’t go on.”

The huge black nurse nodded gravely. “Too much pain,” she said. “Too much.”

She pulled the tubes from Nancy’s nose as gently as she could. “No more of that,” she said, speaking softly to no one in particular. She looked at Harry, who nodded, his face a grim mask. Momentarily, Nancy seemed at ease. Then, gradually, she began to couth and choke. Moving deliberately to the intricate system of tubes and valves that dripped the morphine into Nancy’s veins, the nurse slowly twisted a knob. At first there was no sound, no change. Then, in a moment, the choking stopped. Slowly Nancy’s body relaxed and a faint childlike smile appeared on her lips. Harry thought that, just once more, she might murmur “Gee-whiz.” But she didn’t. She just stopped breathing. Harry knew his wife was dead.

pages 190 191 Cain wife dying pages 192 193 Cain wife dying

228 From “Page Six”, by New York Post staff:

Bert Fields, longtime lawyer for Tom Cruise and the Church of Scientology, doesn’t think much of the new book “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief” by Pulitzer Prize-winning Lawrence Wright. The Knopf book, excerpted in the Hollywood Reporter, states that church leader David Miscavige viewed Nicole Kidman as “a gold digger who was faking Scientology,” whom the church branded a “suppressive person.” It also claims Kidman happily conducted the search for her successor, who turned out to be Katie Holmes. But Fields told Page Six yesterday: “The chapter about Tom is based on provable lies by a bunch of bitter ex-Scientologists. The book itself is boring.”

It was only when reading Wright’s Going Clear that I was made aware of Fields’ involvement in the fight against Germany’s attempts to outlaw Scientology. From Clear:

Both the German government and the Scientologists viewed their struggle through the prism of Germany’s Nazi past. Ursula Caberta, the head of the Hamburg anti-Scientology task force, compared Hubbard’s Introduction to Scientology Ethics to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf: “Hitler was thinking that the Aryans were going to rule the world, the untermenschen. The philosophy of L. Ron Hubbard is the same.” In response to such statements, in January 1997 a group of Hollywood celebrities, agents, lawyers, and movie executives published a full-page open letter to Chancellor Helmut Kohl in the International Herald Tribune. “Hitler made religious intolerance official government policy,” the letter stated. “In the 1930s it was the Jews. Today it is the Scientologists.” The letter compared the boycotts of Cruise, Travolta, and Corea to Nazi book-burnings. The letter was written and paid for by Bertram Fields, then the most powerful lawyer in Hollywood, whose clients included Travolta and Cruise. None of the thirty-four signatories of the document were Scientologists, but many were Jews. Most of them—such as Oliver Stone, Dustin Hoffman, and Goldie Hawn—had worked with the two stars or were friends or clients of Fields.

229 From a profile of Pellicano published in the mid-nineties, “Streetwise Gumshoe to the Stars” by Shawn Hubler and James Bates, where Fields jokes about Pellicano’s ability to kill a man with a pencil:

Pellicano’s satisfied customers say he is a loyal, resourceful–and generally nonviolent–enforcer of a celebrity’s right to privacy and safety. Although he often promises clients that he will make their tormentors “remember why they’re afraid of the dark,” he describes himself as “an aging black belt” who does not carry a gun.

However, attorney Fields said, Pellicano still can take care of himself. Once, Fields recalled, he sent the detective out to confront an armed man. If the man drew his gun, Pellicano told Fields, he would “drive a pencil through the guy’s heart.”

“I always wondered,” Fields laughed, “if it would be the eraser side first.”

From “Hollywood Ending” by Ken Auletta, on Fields’ knowledge of Pellicano’s mob ties:

It was no secret that Pellicano’s past was disreputable (in 1976, he was forced to resign from the Illinois Law Enforcement Commission after reports that he took a thirty-thousand-dollar loan from the son of an Illinois mobster) and that his methods could be rough. In 1993, a front-page story in the Los Angeles Times exposed Pellicano’s alleged Mob links in Illinois and the way he sometimes physically intimidated those he investigated; he promised clients that he would “make their tormentors ‘remember why they’re afraid of the dark.’ ” Other press accounts in the nineties included the suspicion that Pellicano wiretapped on behalf of his clients. Adam Dawson, a Los Angeles private investigator, says that most of the criminal attorneys he works for “wouldn’t touch” Pellicano, because “they felt uncomfortable” with him.

When I suggested to Fields that even his friends were puzzled by his association with the detective (I used the word “thug”), Fields replied slowly, saying, “I never knew him as a thug. I never saw an instance of Anthony hurting anybody or really threatening anybody.” As for the Times story about his Illinois Mob ties, Fields said, “I’m not sure I read it,” and he said that he didn’t recall ever seeing a bill from Pellicano or asking for an explanation of his charges. He explained that Pellicano probably called his assistant and “told her to send the bill to the client.” Of all the investigators he retained, Fields added, Pellicano was the best. “He came up with stuff that other people didn’t. He did that over and over again. He was just better. . . . I don’t know how he did it. It certainly wasn’t wiretapping.” Fields’s law partner Bonnie E. Eskenazi says that Pellicano did not tell her and Fields how he retrieved his often “fantastic” information. “And I didn’t tell him how I practice law.” Eskenazi also said, “Anthony reminded me of some of my dad’s friends on Long Island. A lot of my dad’s friends would talk big on the outside but be soft on the inside.”

From The Lawyer’s Tale, a description of Cipriano Corrigan’s physical skills and his ties to the mob:

Forty minutes later, Harry sat facing Skip Corrigan, an ex-New York cop and highly successful, highly paid investigator. Harry would be late for his meeting with Tommy Bowers, but it couldn’t be helped. This came first.

Corrigan’s real first name was not Skip. It was Cipriano. He was half Italian, half Irish, a short, wiry man with light-brown, thinning hair, a long straight nose, and a high-cheekboned Tuscan face, He was always immaculately dressed and soft-spoken. But he was dangerous. Although he never mentioned his connections with the Mafia, they were close and reliable, as were his contacts with the FBI and with the police forces in most major cities. He was a karate black belt, and had also mastered the ancient Oriental art of using any object as a deadly weapon. A shoelace, a rolled-up newspaper, or a pocket comb, in his skilled hands, could cause mortal damage. It was said that he’d once killed a Colombian hit man by driving a pencil through his heart. Harry believed it. But aside from one or two instances when he’d used Corrigan to protect threatened clients, Harry relied more on the investigator’s fact-finding ability than his physical prowess.

230 From “Detective’s Employer Knew About His Sleuthing Device” by David M. Halbfinger and Allison Hope Weiner:

Throughout the three-year federal investigation of Anthony Pellicano, the celebrity detective at the center of a huge Hollywood wiretapping scandal, the top-tier entertainment lawyer Bert Fields and his firm have insisted that they never knew their go-to investigator was secretly recording his targets’ phone calls.

But an indictment unsealed this week makes clear that Mr. Fields’s firm, which frequently deployed Mr. Pellicano to dig up dirt on its legal opponents, also played a central role in his pursuit of a trademark for the very device the government says he was using to wiretap his targets: a combination of computer hardware and software he called, aptly enough, Telesleuth.

Brian Sun, a lawyer for Mr. Fields’s firm, Greenberg, Glusker, Fields, Claman, Machtinger & Kinsella, said its lawyers believed that Mr. Pellicano intended to use Telesleuth on behalf of his many law-enforcement clients. Mr. Sun said the firm also believed that Telesleuth could not be used as a wiretapping device, although the participant in a call could use it to record a conversation.

231 Scan of the relevant pages:

pages 48 49 Cipriano Corrigan best version

232 From The Lawyer’s Tale, on Cain stealing the film:

Embarrassed, Harry picked up the car phone and dialed his office.

His only calls were from Joe Miletti and Jeffrey Katzenberg. He was involved with a dispute with Katzenberg’s studio, and he wanted no angry shouting match with the bright but combative executive to disturb his concentration on the way to this important hearing. He punched in Miletti’s preprogrammed number, and as the Bentley moved regally through the lush gardens of Holmby Hills, the director’s hoarse, feisty voice came on the line.

“Holy Christ, Harry. What the fuck did you do? They’re goin’ crazy. That’s the only work print, and the shot book’s missing too. That leaves ‘em nothing but a million strips of unorganized negative. The picture’s opening in a few weeks and even with a team of editors, it’ll take ‘em a year to assemble another usable print…if they ever can.”

pages 26 27 theft of film

From The Lawyer’s Tale, on Cain’s slippery use of the truth:

“But shit, Harry, what if he’d made you testify? You said you wouldn’t lie under oath.”

“And I wouldn’t have. But the strategy was to get Wegman to name as a defendant, so I wouldn’t have to testify. That’s why I told your secretary I was calling right after the hearing, so she’d tell the sheriff, and the sheriff would tell Wegman. That’s why I told Townsend to say he wouldn’t cooperate because he was my friend and didn’t want to hurt me. I figured Wegman would be sure by then that I was involved and, being the vindictive, arrogant little prick he is, he’d name me personally as co-defendant.”

“But you told the judge you had nothing to do with taking the film.”

“The hell I did! I’d never lie to a judge. I said there was no evidence in the record that I was involved. I never commented on what I actually did or didn’t do. Even the judge pointed that out.”

“Did Rod know you were the Frenchman?”

“Hell, no. Never for a minute. I wanted him to be able to testify truthfully. Mary Morris too. I told you, I don’t put witnesses on the stand to lie…at least not when I know they’re lying.”

“Christ, you’re a smart fucker. But smart as you are, pal, you really took one helluva risk. I see how your plan protected me and Townsend. They couldn’t really touch us. But nobody protected you, for Christ’s sake. If Murphy hadn’t named you a defendant, you’d of had to testify. You could’ve lost your license to practice, maybe even done time. Why would you do that for me?”

“It wasn’t just for you, Joe. I was pissed off at what Consolidated did. I wanted to get back at them. Beat ‘em at their own game. I’ve always been able to use the law to deal with guys like that. This time, they went outside the law – with their phony, lying affidavit and captive judge – and the only way to be effective was to use what we call ‘self-help.’ I’m not proud of it, but it’s worked this far, so let’s play out the hand.”

pages 86 87 Harry Cain not lying pages 88 89 Harry Cain not lying

233 From The Lawyer’s Tale:

On a warm evening later that week, Harry sat reading the trade papers in his office. The Last Battle had been released to uniformly bad reviews and was doing no business at all. Harry smiled to himself at the irony of his having risked disbarment, even jail, to protect and preserve what had turned out to be an artistic and financial disaster. Well, he thought, at least it was the film Joe Miletti wanted. That’s what they fought for. How galling though to think that Yank Slutsky may have been right – happy ending and all.

page 260 fate of Last Battle

234 From The Lawyer’s Tale, Cain destroys the evidence by drinking the poison:

He turned back to the jury, the phial held high before him. “But if, as I tell you – as I am absolutely convinced – Fumiko Masami is not guilty and this is not poison, not the deadly antimony chloride that will eat hideously through a man’s guts, then, of course, you must find her not guilty.

“Is there any way we can know for sure which is the case? There certainly is, ladies and gentlemen. We can absolutely and for sure.”

In one swift movement, Harry pulled the cork from the phial and, before anyone could restrain him or even protest, he drank its entire contents.

A collective gasp arose from the gallery. The jury was stunned, mesmerized. Fumiko looked startled, white with tension. Then she looked down at her clasped fingers. For just a second, Scuneo, the judge, everyone in the courtroom looked on in silence.

Then the prosecutor leapt to his feet. “Your Honor,” he cried, “that’s evidence. He destroyed the evidence. He…”

Down came Judge Kennedy’s gavel. “Mr. Scuneo, sit down! We’ll deal with that when the case is concluded….as a separate matter. Mr. Cain, have you anything further?”

“Yes, Your Honor.”

“Then continue.”

Some reporters bolted for the courtroom doors. Others were feverishly making notes or sketches.

Harry turned to the jury and smiled. “So you see, ladies and gentlemen, the phial in Fumiko’s purse did not contain poison after all.” He smacked his lips. “It tastes like Fernet Branca to me.”

pages 220 221 Cain drinks the evidence

From The Lawyer’s Tale, Cain rushes from the courtroom and has his stomach pumped:

“Harry, are you okay? You look pale. Let me drive you back to the office.”

Harry turned facing them all as the elevator arrived. “Please, I’m okay. I just want to be by myself for a while. So stay here. Okay?” He stepped alone into the elevator and turned to face them again, holding up his palm to signal that they should stop, should leave him alone. As the elevator doors closed, he could see their faces tense with surprise and concern.

Minutes later, Harry walked as quickly as he could down Main Street toward the Plaza. Twice he stumbled, catching his foot on the irregular sidewalk. The sun was high now, beating down on his head and shoulders. He needed the warmth. His hands and feet were icy. As he saw the trees of the Plaza and the restored but empty brick buildings of the old city, he felt light-headed, dizzy. He heard a buzzing in his ears that seemed to grow, to become a rushing sound like the sea. He began to feel a sharp pain deep in his guy. He saw the benches surrounding the old iron bandstand, where he had rested so many, many times. He headed toward them, a fitting place for a weary man to have a very long rest.

Then, at the last minute, he turned abruptly, veering, staggering off to his right. Clutching his stomach, doubled over and almost tripping on the curb, he turned into a small, deserted street that ran between the gloomily empty Pico House Hotel and an abandoned fire station.

There, parked alone at the curb, stood a large unmarked van. Harry pounded three times on the back doors. Immediately, they swung open. Two white-coated arms pulled him inside, as the doors closed behind him.

“Christ, Mr. Cain, you cut it fine. In ten minutes you’d have entered the critical phase. In twenty more, there’d have been nothing we could do for you.” Skilled hands were whisking off his coat, tie, and shirt and pulling a hospital gown around him, helping him onto a surgical table, adjusting equipment, moving it over him.

Half an hour later, Harry still lay on the table, breathing heavily, feeling weak but happy.

“First time you had your stomach pumped, Mr. Cain?”

“First and last,” said Harry, managing a wry smile. Somewhat unsteadily, he sat up and reached for his jacket. Pulling out his wallet, he removed tow one-thousand-dollar bills.

Harry’s sole companion, a gangly black man in his mid-thirties, smiled broadly. “Well, Mr. Cain, that’s not bad pay for a morning’s work. Not bad at all, and you can be sure there’ll never be a peep from me. No, sir, never a peep.”

“Thanks, Frank; when Skip Corrigan said I could count on you he was right. Christ, you saved my life.”

“Naw,” said Frank, as Harry pulled on his clothes. “We had a few more minutes before it was too late…”

pages 226 227 Cain stomach pumped page 228 Cain stomach pumped

235 From The Lawyer’s Tale, during a visit from Cipriano Corrigan, Cain learns that nothing was what it seemed in a lawsuit by a movie studio against one of its executives, Fernbach. Cain represented Fernbach. Yank Slutsky is the head of the studio, Mona Olinsky is a low level studio drone who handled expenses and a witness during the trial, and Anne Robinson is a burnt out drug addicted screenwriter who was a witness for the plaintiffs, the movie studio.

“I’ve got some news for you, counselor.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah.” Skip took a sip of water. “You remember that Fernbach case, the one you settled the night before closing argument?”

“Of course I do.”

“Well, you won it. Congratulations.” The sly grin grew even wider. The green eyes twinkled.

“What do you mean, I won it?”

“I mean the judge was going to decide it for you…for Fernbach. In fact, he’d already decided it.”

“How could you possibly know that?”

“Trade secret. But I can tell you he’d already dictated a draft of his opinion, and you won. You know what else?”

“What?”

“Yank Slutsky knew he’d lost the case. That’s why he paid off.”

“Come on Skip, how could Yank possibly know what the judge was going to do before he did it?”

“You know Buck Barringer? Yank’s PR guy, big good-lookin’ dude, great cocksman?”

“Yeah, I know him.”

“Well, Yank sends Buck in to nail the court reporter. Buck stakes her out, then picks her up in a bar near her apartment. One thing leads to another and they get real close. You know what I’m sayin’? Anyway, she gives Buck the judge’s draft opinion. They had it the night they called you and agreed to settle. You got hustled, pal.”

“Did Greg Morrison know?”

“I doubt it, Harry. My guess is Yank just called and ordered him to pay you whatever it took.” The sharklike grin returned. “So you admit you got taken, huh?”

“Not really. Aaron got every dime that was coming to him.”

“Yeah, but the judge was going to give you punitive damages. Another two million.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Would I shit you? I’ve seen the opinion.”

“Come on, Skip. How’d you get all this?”

“I can’t tell you, pal. Another case. It just surfaced along with a lot of other facts about your friends Slutsky and Fernbach. You pissed off?@

“Well, in a way. The punitive damages would have been nice, and it would have been better for Aaron to have been publicly vindicated by the judge.”

“What do you care?”

“Hey, Skip you know I care. The guy was getting a raw deal. He works for them for years…honest, hard good work. And successful too. Then they try to rape and ruin him. And they had nothing on him, nothing! The guy was clean, and they made him look dirty to the whole world. Lots of people still think he’s dirty. So sure I care.”

“Clean, huh.” Again the sharklike grin.

“Of course clean…what are you saying?”

“Nothing, never mind,” Skip said starting to rise, still smiling.

“Come on, Skip, spit it out. You can’t bring up something like that and then clam up.”

The detective sat down again, crossed his legs, and took another sip of water.

“Look, Harry, this other case took me into lots of places that turned up stuff about both Fernbach and Slutsky. I really know what went down. Your friend Fernbach lied to you and lied to the judge and he got away with it – ’cause he had the best goddamn lawyer in the country.”

“You’re all wet, Skip. Those restaurant receipts weren’t his doing. Mona Olinsky testified he didn’t know a thing about it, that she did it all on her own. She told me the same thing when I spoke to her in San Francisco, and she had nothing to gain and plenty to lose by saying so.”

“Boy, are you ever a schmuck. I’m not talking about restaurant receipts. He probably didn’t know about ‘em. But who do you think Mona’s been fucking and living off the last two years?”

“Aaron?”

“But of course Aaron. He’s paid for her apartment for two years now. Told her he’d leave his wife and marry her. And do you know who else he fucked…your wonderful Princeton prince?”

“You’re not going to say Anne Robinson?”

“Yes I am. On his desk, in his private washroom. In the backseat of that fancy car…everywhere.”

“Come on, Skip. Have you seen her? You’d need pictures to convince me of that.”

The detective’s smile grew even wider. He slapped his large briefcase. “I thought you’d never ask.” He opened the case and took out two photos. One showed Aaron Fernbach on his back with Annie Robinson astride him, her eyes glazed with lust or drugs. They were both nude and at a beach somewhere. Harry thought it might be Malibu. Harry recognized the other picture as Aaron’s New York office. Aaron was seated on his big pine desk, his trousers down around his knees. Annie was kneeling in front of him, greedily sucking his cock. Aaron’s hands clutched the back of her head as if in fear she’d stop.

“How’d you get pictures like this?”

“You know better than to ask that, for Christ’s sake. Are you convinced?”

Harry felt the Scotch burn its way down, felt the easing of his stomach that came with the alcohol. He smiled ruefully.

“Boy, this takes the cake for irony. Aaron lies to me, lies to the judge, and gets a big payoff. Yank tries to ruin Aaron. He trumps up ridiculous grounds, uses every shitty trick, commits perjury, even steals the judge’s opinion, and gets away with it all. I defend a guy who’s guilty, naively accepting his story and believing he’s innocent. I fail to grasp the truth, fail to see I’m being conned into a settlement by Slutsky and, after all that fucking up on my part, I get a very big fee, and the world thinks I’m brilliant. It’s a win all around except maybe for truth and justice.”

Skip rose and looked at his watch. “I can’t spend the whole day bullshitting with you about social philosophy. Do that with your candy-assed Hollywood friends. I’ve got kids to feed.”

pages 250 251 Fernbach lied pages 252 253 Fernbach lied

pages 254 255 sexual harassment

236 From The Lawyer’s Tale, Cain’s daughter gives her father her view on health care:

“You know, Gail, I haven’t said this to anyone else, but I feel a little guilty, getting your mother in that program ahead of a hundred thousand other patients who were just as entitled to it. It’s a sad thing about our system that even medicine, stuff essential to save lives is doled out on the basis of clout.”

Gail put down her glass and took Harry’s hand across the table. Her dark eyes were her mother’s and so was the sudden warmth of her smile.

“There you go again – the master of self-flagellation. First, on a moral basis, I can’t imagine anyone more deserving than Mom. Second, this is an example of the free market working at its best. What you call ‘clout’ is just one of the rewards, the perks for what you contribute to society. Instead of the government deciding those rewards, the market itself determines them. If society didn’t value your contribution highly, you wouldn’t have that ‘clout.’ A poor laborer can’t get his wife into the TNF program, because what he contributes to society doesn’t command that kind of reward in the marketplace. It doesn’t make him a bad man or our society a bad society. It just means his contribution, valued in a free market, is not considered as significant as yours. And, Dad, if you’re going to have this system, with all of its obvious benefits, you can’t quarrel with the marketplace. It’s the only objective test. You passed. A hundred thousand others didn’t. Don’t fight it. Be proud, you’ve earned it.”

He put his arm around her and pulled her to him.

“That argument’s just a bit too slick for me, Gail. I can’t buy it intellectually. But tonight…well, tonight, I’m so completely happy and so grateful, I’m ready to accept any rationalization for getting Mom in that program.”

pages 108 109 free market health care

237 From The Lawyer’s Tale, Harry Cain’s theories on homelessness:

They walked along the wide boulevard that swept through the park. The day was turning glorious. The Santa Ana winds had blown the air clean during the night, and it was warm and dry. The bright blue sky was reflected in the lake beyond the low railing that separated the curving sidewalk from the old park, once called Westlake Park, but renamed for General Douglas MacArthur after World War II.

Harry nudged Gail. “There’s the quintessential California bum.” Nearer downtown they had passed three or four winos asleep in doorways, the inevitable bottle of cheap fortified wine clutched to their breasts. Gail looked where Harry was pointing now and saw a shabbily clothed, singularly dirty man asleep on the grass. Instead of wine, he was clutching a large bottle of Evian water. Beside him was a plastic bag of oatbran.

“If he had some tofu, he’d be perfect.” She giggled. “But I shouldn’t laugh, Dad, they’re not bums. They’re homeless people, and you should know better.”

“Maybe so, but isn’t that just a new label for an old phenomenon? I mean what we always called bums are now homeless people. But they’re the same guys.”

“First of all, they’re not all guys.”

“I realize that, but we always had female bums too. Read William Kennedy. [Ironweed] Only now they’re called female homeless people. But they’re the same people Kennedy wrote about – mostly people who chose to live like that.”

They had moved into the mid-Wilshire district. They passed Chapman Park and the old Town House and then, crossing Vermont Avenue, stopped to admire the handsome art-deco building that housed Bullocks Wilshire.

“Built around nineteen twenty-six, I’d bet. I love it.”

“I’d guess a little later. But don’t change the subject, Dad. Homeless people are not bums. There are entire families out there that can’t afford a place to live. This government is simply not meeting the basic needs of its people – not even providing housing for millions of its citizens.”

“It’s interesting you say ‘providing’ housing. When my dad got off the boat as a kid, he didn’t speak English. He had nothing. No one ‘provided’ him with housing or anything else. When he married and I was born, it was still the Depression and believe me, they weren’t ‘providing’ any housing. He worked his butt off, and made damn sure his wife and kid had a roof over their heads. And when you were born, do you think we were rich? Hell, no, we had nothing. I worked hard and none of us ever had to sleep in the park. Why are these guys different?”

“Because there are no jobs and, even if they work, there’s no affordable housing.”

“Look, Gail, housing may seem out of sight, but it always seemed that way. Believe me, when you were born our rent appeared overwhelming compared with what I was earning. We sweated to make it work, and somehow we did it. But these guys won’t. And I mean won’t, not can’t. I don’t think economic conditions are that much worse. I think it’s just become more socially acceptable to sleep in the goddamn park.”

“You’re a dinosaur – a lovable dinosaur, I grant you; but still antediluvian.”

pages 244 245 homeless by choice pages 246 247 homeless by choice

A good summary of the bonus army incident and MacArthur’s role in ending it is “Marching on History” by Paul Dickson and Thomas B. Allen.

238 The revelation of Fumiko in The Lawyer’s Tale:

Harry got to his feet. He saw fright and excitement in her dark eyes. She took another step backward, beautiful in the shadowed light. He reached out and took her hand, holding it firmly, pulling her toward him. In an instance, his other hand went to her robe, pulling it back from her shoulders. Shyly, she turned away from him as he drew the robe downward, exposing the golden skin of her back and buttocks. He could hear her breathing, heavy and rapid. He could sense her excitement.

“Fumiko,” he called, as the robe fell to the floor at her feet. “Fumiko, come to me.”

Slowly, gracefully, she turned to face him, lips parted, eyes shining with desire as he reached to embrace her.

He stopped and heard himself gasp. His arms fells. In that instant that seemed frozen in time, he saw that Fumiko – lithe and lovely Fumiko was a man.

239 Cain deals with accusations from Annie Robinson, a burnt out screenwriter, who accuses his client of extorting sex from her in exchange for work. Robinson alleges that he employed certain distinct phrases in the extortion attempt – “dirty dipping”, to give one winceworthy example, distinct phrases which in turn are to be found in an unproduced screenplay of hers.

From The Lawyer’s Tale:

Promptly at one-thirty, the proceedings reconvened. Annie Robinson took the stand, crossed her silk-stockinged legs, primly pulled down her skirt, and looked over at Harry, smiling coolly.

The vicious, lying bitch! How he’d love to wipe that arrogant smile off her face. He took a deep breath and tried to relax. Anger was something he couldn’t afford. He rose slowly and paused before beginning his cross-examination. This was critical, and he had to do it coolly and carefully.

“In any event, that phrase ‘dirty dipping,’ you’re sure that’s the very phrase he used?”

“Absolutely. It was such a strange, bizarre phrase and, as I said, it was completely new to me.”

“I see. Now when he said you’d have to do some dirty dipping and you asked what that meant…” Harry consulted his notes. “Mr. Fernbach said ‘Where have you been? Living in a tree?’ Is that correct?”

“Yes.”

“Those were also his exact words?”

“Yes. There again, it was such an unusual choice of words…’living in a tree.’ It just sticks in my mind.”

“Okay. And then he told you that ‘dirty dipping’ meant…” again Harry read from his notes “…getting it on together,” is that correct?”

“That’s correct.”

“And you replied that his suggestion was ‘beyond grotesque,’ right?”

“Right.”

“Were those your exact words?”

“Yes.”

“‘Beyond grotesque.’” That’s a somewhat unusual phrase too, isn’t it?”

“Well, I suppose so, but it really seemed appropriate here. I mean, this man was supposed to be an old friend, and here he was demanding sex in return for a job I desperately needed. It truly was ‘beyond grotesque.’”

“Ms. Robinson, I’ve handed you a motion-picture screenplay entitled The Boatman and bearing the name ‘Robinson Productions, Inc.’ in the lower left-hand corner and the date September twenty-fourth…two years ago. Have you seen that screenplay before?”

Harry watched the color drain from her cheeks. Nervously, she flipped through the pages.

“Okay. Now I’m going to read you that scene from your screenplay.” He looked down and began to read.

“‘ANTHONY: You know what I want to do, Fay? I want to do some dirty dipping.’”

Harry paused, looking up at the judge. He continued.

“‘…some dirty dipping – right here, right now.’

“‘FAY: Do what?’

“‘ANTHONY: Dirty dipping.’

“‘FAY: What’s that?’

“‘ANTHONY: Where have you been? Living in a tree?” Harry’s voice boomed out the now-familiar words. After a pause he continued reading Anthony’s lines in a low, deadly tone.

“‘Dirty dipping, my dear, means getting it on together.’”

Harry stopped, looking up at Annie Robinson, whose face was red with anger.

“Would you read us the next line, Ms. Robinson?”

“Read it yourself,” she spat.

“All right,” Harry said pleasantly. “Where was I? Oh, yes, Anthony says ‘dirty dipping, my dear, means getting it on together’ and Fay replies ‘If that’s what it means, Anthony, the suggestion is beyond grotesque.’ That’s where the scene ends, with Fay saying that Anthony’s suggestion of ‘dirty dipping’ is ‘beyond grotesque.’”

Harry couldn’t resist a slight smile for Annie Robinson, who gave him a murderous glare in return.

pages 172 173 screenplay trick pages 174 175 screenplay trick

240 From The Lawyer’s Tale, after the murder trial, Cain tells his associates his own made-up version of what happened and is astonished that they notice all the evidence of fabrication in the story:

Two young associates crowded into the room, anxious to hear Harry’s version of the trial that, in just a few short hours, had already become an international legend and was the lead story on every television newscast. One associate held up the late edition of the Times. Across the front page was the banner headline FUMIKO ACQUITTED followed by LAWYER DRINKS EVIDENCE.

Patiently and consistently lying, Harry answered their questions, trying out the explanation he intended to give the media the following day. He was disappointed at their readiness to accept his story, their failure to find the logical weaknesses and inconsistencies, to probe for a better, more rational explanation.

pages 228 229 no questions for Cain lies

241 From “Telling Hollywood It’s Out of Order” by Allison Hope Weiner:

“First, I wrote these two sex novels,” he said. Those novels featured the crime-solving exploits of the supersmooth lawyer to the stars, Harry Cain.

He got up from the table to check on some chicken fajitas he was cooking in the kitchen. The Malibu house he shares with his third wife, Barbara Guggenheim, an art consultant, is totally white, from the down-filled sofas to the yapping West Highland terriers. The bookcase is an amalgam of Mr. Fields’s various interests: books by Mario Puzo, a former client; law books; cookbooks; and two fresh copies of his new work on Shakespeare.

From When Hollywood Had a King, a biography of Lew Wasserman by Connie Bruck, on Jennings Lang:

[Jay] Kanter was a Wasserman favorite. Mild, courteous, cautious, he had a temperate demeanor more like that of a corporate lawyer than a Hollywood agent. Wasserman no doubt liked him personally, and felt he was someone that could be trusted and would never embarrass him. That last, in any event, turned out to be wrong, in an incident that nearly derailed Kanter’s career. Kanter became friendly with an older MCA agent named Jennings Lang. Lang had worked for Sam Jaffe (the agent who lamented how MCA had stolen his clients and his employees, offering them all the sweeteners that he could not) until, 1949, Wasserman had persuaded Lang to join MCA. A big, robust character with a keen mind an irrepressibly amorous streak, Lang broke one of the cardinal MCA rules and had an affair with a client – the actress Joan Bennett, who was married to Walter Wangner, a serious-minded well-regarded independent producer. One day in the fall of 1951, in the MCA parking lot in the center of Beverly Hill, Walter Wangner shot Lang in the offending part of his anatomy. Tragedy was averted – Lang recovered, and Wanger served only a four-month sentence. But it quickly emerged that the apartment used for Lang and Bennett’s afternoon trysts was Jay Kanter’s.

In Fools Die, Jennings Lang is Jeff Wagon. Lang was responsible for such schlock as Airport 1975, Airport ’77, and Earthquake, a movie whose script Puzo co-wrote; Lang on IMDb. Wagon in Fools Die:

Jeff Wagon was the essence of a schlock producer. He was schlock from the top of his craggy head to the tiptoes of his Bally shoes. He had made his mark in TV, then muscled his way into feature films by the same process with which a blob of ink spreads on a linen tablecloth and with the same aesthetic effect. He had made over a hundred TV feature films and twenty theatrical films. Not one of them had had a touch of grace, of quality, of art. The critics, the workers and artists in Hollywood had a classic joke that compared Wagon with Selznick, Lubitsch, Thalberg. They would say of one of his pictures that it had the Dong imprint because a young malicious actress called him the Dong.

A typical Jeff Wagon picture was loaded with stars a bit frayed by age and celluloid wear and tear, desperate for a paycheck. The talent knew it was a schlock picture. The directors were handpicked by Wagon. They were usually run-of-the-mill with a string of failures behind them so that he could twist their arms and make them shoot the picture his way. The odd thing was that though all the pictures were terrible, they either broke even or made money simply because the basic idea was good in a commercial way.

In his younger days Jeff Wagon had lived up to his nickname by knocking over every starlet on the Tri-Culture lot. He was very much on the line with his approach. If they came across, they became girls in TV movies who were bartenders or receptionists. If they played their cards right, they could get enough work to carry them through the year. But when he went into feature films, this was not possible. With three-million-dollar budgets you didn’t fuck around handing out parts for a piece of ass. So then he got away with letting them read for a part, promising to help them, but never a firm commitment. And of course, some were talented, and with his foot in the door, they got some nice parts in feature films. A few became stars. They were often grateful. In the Land of Empidae, Jeff Wagon was the ultimate survivor.

But one day out of the northern rain forests of Oregon a breathtaking beauty of eighteen appeared. She had everything going for her. Great face, great body, fiery temperament, even talent. But the camera refused to do right by her. In that idiotic magic of film her looks didn’t work.

She was also a little crazy. She had grown up as a woodsman and hunter in the Oregon forests. She could skin a deer and fight a grizzly bear. She reluctantly let Jeff Wagon fuck her once a month because her agent gave her a little heart-to-heart talk. But she came from a place where the people were straight shooters, and she expected Jeff Wagon to keep his word and get her the part. When it didn’t happen, she went to bed with Jeff Wagon with a deer-skinning knife and, at the crucial moment, stuck it into one of Jeff Wagon’s balls.

It didn’t turn out badly. For one thing she only took a nick off his right ball, and everybody agreed that with his big balls a little chip wouldn’t do him any harm. Jeff Wagon himself tried to cover up the incident, refused to press charges. But the story got out. The girl was shipped home to Oregon with enough money for a log cabin and a new deer-hunting rifle. And Jeff Wagon had learned his lesson. He gave up seducing starlets and devoted himself to seducing writers out of their ideas.

Lew Wasserman was the former head of MCA (Music Corporation of America), the most important talent agency in Hollywood, who became the head of the merged Universal / MCA movie studio. He was widely believed to be the most powerful man in the industry for several decades. In Fools Die, Wasserman is Moses Wartberg:

I met Moses Wartberg for a minute. And I knew who he was right away. There was that shark like look to him that I had seen in top military men, casino owners, very beautiful and very rich women and top Mafia bosses. It was the cold steel of power, the iciness that ran through the blood and brain, the chilling absence of mercy or pity in all the cells of the organism. People who were absolutely dedicated to the supreme drug power. Power already achieved and exercised over a long period of time. And with Moses Wartberg it was exercised down to the smallest square inch.

From King, on the infidelities of Wasserman’s wife:

What made it all work, of course, was the power of their patron – who had the wherewithal to favor or to punish, and on a large scale. But there was n this all-encompassing model one element that seemed to defy the logic of the rest – and that was the conduct of the patron’s wife. Numerous people who were interviewed spoke about Edie Wasserman’s philandering, something, they all maintained, that was a well-recognized if bewildering fact of life in this community. Why the most powerful man in Hollywood, who controlled so much of what transpired there, could not – or would not -control his wife was a matter of fervid speculation. Some suggested that he preferred that Edie be diverted so he was free to work. That seemed implausible; Hollywood was a very macho society, in which husbands might routinely cheat on their wives but could not be cuckolded themselves without considerable loss of face. The reason for Wasserman’s forbearance, in any event, remained mysterious.

This is the promiscuous Bella Wartberg of Fools Die, Moses’ wife:

In the years that followed she became an expert negotiator in her affairs with actors, discriminating enough to seek out talented people rather than untalented ones, and indeed, she enjoyed the talented ones more. It seemed that general intelligence went with talent. And she helped them in their careers. She never made the mistake of going directly to her husband. Moses Wartberg was too Olympian to be concerned with such decisions. Instead, she went to one of the three vice-presidents.

Bella Wartberg became so notorious for fucking anybody, anywhere, that whenever she stopped by one of the vice-president’s offices, that VP would make sure that one of his secretaries was present, as a gynecologist would make sure a nurse was present when examining a patient.

Because of his close relationship with Bella, Jeff Wagon was the odds-on favorite to get Moses Wartberg’s spot when he retired. There was one catch. What would Moses Wartberg do when he learned that his wife, Bella, was the Messalina of Beverly Hills? Gossip columnists planted Bella’s affairs as “blind items” Wartberg couldn’t fail to see. Bella was notorious.

As usual Moses Wartberg surprised everyone. He did so by doing absolutely nothing. Only rarely did he take his revenge on the lover; he never took reprisals against his wife.

A section on Fools Die about a humanitarian award given out at the Oscars, given to Wartberg by a Japanese director because no American director could give with a straight face. This is a send-up of the Jean Hersholt humanitarian award, and it was given to Wasserman by Alfred Hitchcock.

But still, this left out the actual studio heads and the real money-making stars whose work was never good enough. It was then that Wartberg supported a Humanitarian Award to be given to the person in the movie industry of the highest ideals, who gave of himself for the betterment of the industry and mankind. Finally, two years ago, Moses Wartberg had been given this award and accepted it on television in front of one hundred million admiring American viewers. The award was presented by a Japanese director of international renown for the simple reason that no American director could be found who could give the award with a straight face.

242 The relevant details can be found in “Sapir v. Cruise”, specific page “Sapir v. Cruise (page 3)”:

11. Fields is a prominent entertainment lawyer with the Greenberg firm. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis alleges, that Fields has been Cruise’s lawyer since at least the late 1990′s. Pellicano regularly worked on matters for the clients of Fields and Greenberg and was paid substantial sums of money in connection therewith. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis alleges, that Fields and Greenberg were fully aware at all relevant times that Pellicano provided wire-tapping services to obtain information from their adversaries and litigation opponents, and hired him for that express purpose with full knowledge of Pellicano’s illegal methods. Indeed, Fields was quoted as saying that Pellicano used “unorthodox methods.”

12. Cruise is a movie star with a long-standing business relationship with Fields, Greenberg and Pellicano. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis alleges, that Cruise has a pattern and practice of hiring Pellicano, either directly or indirectly, for the express purpose of conducting wiretaps. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis alleges, that in or about the mid 1990′s, Cruise visited Pellicano’s office for the purpose of listening to wiretaps. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis alleges, that in or about 2001, during the time Cruise was about to divorce Nicole Kidman, Pellicano recorded conversations of Kidman and Cruise. Pellicano discussed with at least one of his employees the substance of those recorded conversations.

13. In or about early 2001, Bold Magazine published a $500,000 reward offer for videotape evidence that Cruise was gay. Shortly after the publication of the reward offer, Bold Magazine received an email with a video attachment in response to its reward offer. In or about March 2001, upon receipt of the email response, Plaintiff issued a press release indicating that Bold Magazine had received a response to its reward offer.

From specific page “Sapir v. Cruise (page 5)”:

17. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis alleges, that Pellicano wiretapped Plaintiff in connection with, and during the course of, the Lawsuit, as evidenced by, among other things:

(1) Pellicano’s standard business practice was to wiretap the target of an investigation. Plaintiff was the target of a Pellicano investigation. The FBI found a file entitled “Michael Davis Matter” in Pellicano’s office.

(2) Pellicano’s standard business practice was to assign a password ending with the word “omerta” to access illegally recorded conversations that had been encrypted and stored on iMac computers in his office. The FBI found a computer file entitled “Bold” with a password “Bold cocksucker omerta” in Pellicano’s office. That file was a reference to Plaintiff’s publication Bold.

(3) Pellicano stated to a witness, in furtherance of the conspiracy, words to the effect that “If you had to listen to him [Plaintiff] as much as I have you’ll realize he’s an asshole.”

18. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis alleges, that DOES 1 through 10, were law enforcement employees who conspired with or aided and abetted Pellicano in procuring information on Plaintiff.

19. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis alleges, that DOES 11 through 20, were telephone company employees who conspired with or aided and abetted Pellicano in installing the wiretaps targeting Plaintiff.

243 A profile of Russo giving a quick overview of his career up to his involvement in politics in the mid nineties is “Russo’s Next Production: a New Party” by Irene Lacher.

The story behind Sender’s anger with Russo can be found in “Investor testifies about wiretaps” by Carla Hall:

Hedge fund manager Adam Sender was angry — at the man with whom he had invested $1.1 million and at himself for believing it would lead to a successful film company and another venture. So after a year of searching in vain for Aaron Russo, Sender hired private detective Anthony Pellicano.

“I’d like you to make this guy’s life as miserable as possible for $200,000,” Sender told Pellicano in a phone conversation — secretly taped by the private eye according to federal prosecutors and played in court Tuesday. “I’m trusting you,” Sender said later in the tape. “You have free rein.”

A piece on Russo, HBO, and the lawsuit against Film Finances is “Film Finances on the mend” by Paul Noglows and Matt Rothman:

HBO has a $ 20 million suit pending against Film Finances that is set to go to trial in Los Angeles federal court Aug. 24 if its motion for summary judgment is not granted.

HBO is trying to recoup $ 14 million (interest and lawyers fees have pushed the figure to about $ 20 million) it advanced for two Aaron Russo films -”Off and Running” and “Paradise Paved”- which it claims weren’t delivered on time.

From “Facts Refute Filmmaker’s Assertions on Income Tax in ‘America’” by David Cay Johnston:

Aaron Russo, the producer of films like “Trading Places” and “The Rose,” promotes his new film, “America: From Freedom to Fascism,” which opened Friday, as having had its international premiere before a packed audience “during the Cannes Film Festival.”

The film was not on the program at Cannes, however, not even for screenings made under the festival’s aegis without being in the awards competition. Mr. Russo, the film’s director, writer and producer, just set up an inflatable screen on a beach. Photographs posted at one of Mr. Russo’s Web sites depict an audience of fewer than 50 people spread out on a platform on the sand.

Hyping films with fanciful claims is nothing new in Hollywood. But examination of the assertions in Mr. Russo’s documentary, which purports to expose “two frauds” perpetrated by the federal government, taxing wages and creating the Federal Reserve to coin money, shows that they too collapse under the weight of fact.

Near the film’s beginning Mr. Russo says, and others appear on screen asserting, that the Internal Revenue Service has refused every request to show any law making Americans liable for an income tax on their wages.

Yet among those thanked in the credits for their help in making the film is Anthony Burke, an I.R.S. spokesman. Mr. Burke said that when Mr. Russo called him asking what law required the payment of income taxes on wages, he sent Mr. Russo a link to documents, including Title 26 of the United States Code, citing the specific sections that require income taxes be paid on wages. Title 26 says on its face that it is law enacted by Congress, but Mr. Russo denied this fact.

“Title 26,” Mr. Russo said in an interview last week, “is not the law, it is I.R.S. regulations and to be a law it has to be passed by Congress.” Mr. Russo added that he had studied the matter closely and was confident that he had the facts.

Arguments made in court that the income tax is invalid are so baseless that Congress has authorized fines of $25,000 for anyone who makes them. But even though the penalty was quintupled, from $5,000, it has not deterred those who assert this and other claims that Congress and the courts deemed “frivolous arguments.”

Not mentioned in the film is that Mr. Russo has more than $2 million of tax liens filed against him by the Internal Revenue Service, California and New York for unpaid federal and state taxes. Mr. Russo declined to discuss the liens, saying they were not relevant to his film.

On Russo being served his affidavit, from “2 Tied to Hollywood Detective Plead Guilty to Felony Charges” by David M. Halbfinger and Allison Hope Weiner:

Pellicano in connection with the Sender-Russo litigation. Mr. Russo – who sought the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president in 2004 – and his ex-wife, Heidi Gregg, charged that Mr. Pellicano had used the wiretaps to track him down to serve him with the 2001 lawsuit.

Mr. Sender, reached at his New York office, declined to comment, as did Mr. Fields and his lawyer, John Keker. Mr. Russo and Ms. Gregg could not be reached.

In their 2004 court filings, Mr. Russo and Ms. Gregg contended that Mr. Pellicano’s illegal wiretaps had provided information that two women who worked for Mr. Pellicano used to try to serve them with the 2001 complaint. Mr. Russo and Ms. Gregg said the two women had surprised them at a Beverly Hills barbershop where Mr. Russo, in a departure from his usual routine, had gone for a haircut.

There, Mr. Russo and Mr. Gregg recalled, the two Pellicano employees posed as would-be screenwriters, offered him a package containing what they said was a script for a movie and asked him to read it. When Mr. Russo refused, he said, the women chased him outside to his car and tossed the package into the open window of his car.

244 From “The Libertarian Party Stays the Course” by Brian Doherty:

From my canvassing of delegates, I found a fair amount of “absolutely not Russo” feeling, and almost no such negativity toward either Nolan or Badnarik. (Other floor workers assured me there was a fair amount of “No way Nolan” attitude, but these are the perils of unscientific polling-I encountered none until after he had lost.) That, combined with the general feeling that he was the front-runner, with a late-entering Russo as the up-and-coming challenger, led me to predict a second-ballot victory for Nolan, with a near victory on the first ballot. (A straight majority of the delegates was required for victory.)

Instead, after what everyone called a clear victory for Badnarik in the Saturday night debate, Badnarik came in a very close second on Sunday’s first ballot at 256 votes, with Russo in the lead with 258 votes, and Nolan a surprising third place at 246. After the second ballot, with the minor candidates dropped and Nolan losing again, it was down to Russo and Badnarik, with Russo 36 votes ahead on that second ballot. (The other announced candidates, including the fiercely anti-abortion Diket, were not invited to the candidate debates. When someone tried to take the mic and complain about this discrimination to the whole delegate floor, he was ignored. It would have provided a moment of delicious irony if an LP rep had to explain publicly that, well, you see, it really would just be a waste of time to include in a public debate these weird fringe candidates who had no proven interest or support from most of the people watching the debate and, well….)

Russo was winning, but he was not to win. He had a style that some delegates from the South and Midwest fretted would not sell back home-brash New York ethnic, throwing around the word “baby,” cracking jokes, grabbing floating balloons and nuzzling them, then mock-complaining that one of his vocal opponents would probably call that sexual harassment, openly announcing he had no intention of being polite in what he called our war against our own government, segueing from a mention of orgasms to introducing his wife. He swore he’d disrupt any presidential debate he wasn’t invited to with civil disobedience; he called the U.S. “imperialistic” freely; he was very concerned with eliminating the Federal Reserve and talked about it anytime he had an opportunity; and he proudly and loudly admitted to having smoked pot.

The following transcript dealing with Russo’s revelation from David Rockefeller about 9/11 is taken from his youtube interview with Alex Jones, “Rockefeller Reveals 9 11 FRAUD and New World Order to Aaron Russo”:

ALEX JONES
Can you be specific about when you met Rockefeller, how it happened in these discussions?

AARON RUSSO
I met Rockefeller through a female attorney that I knew. Who called me up one day and said: one of the Rockefellers would like to meet you. I had made a video called Mad as Hell, and he’d seen the video and wanted to meet me. And knew I was running for governor of Nevada. Sure I’d love to meet him. And I met him, and I liked him…uh, he was a very very smart man. And we used to talk and share ideas, thoughts, and uh, he’s the one who told me…eleven months before 9/11 had ever happened, that there was going to be an event…never told me what the event was going to be…that there was going to be an event, and out of that event, we were going to invade Afghanistan, to run pipelines to the Caspian Sea. We were going to invade Iraq…you know to take over the oil fields and establish a base in the Middle East. And make it all part of the New World Order. And we were going to go after Chavez in Venezuela. And sure enough, later 9/11 happened, and I remember he was telling me how (starts laughing) we were going to have soldiers looking in caves for people, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and all these places…and there’s gonna be this War on Terror, in which there’s no real enemy, and the whole thing is a giant hoax…ya know, but it’s a way for the government to take over the American people.

ALEX JONES
He told you it was gonna be a hoax?

AARON RUSSO
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. There’s no question. “A war on terror”, and he’s laughing. Who we fighting? I mean, why do you think 9/11 happened, and then nothing’s happened since then? Do you think our security is so great here that these people who pulled off 9/11 can’t knock down another plane? C’mon, it’s ridiculous. 9/11 was done by people in our own government, in our own banking system, to perpetuate the fear of the American people, into subordinating themselves to anything the government wants them to do. That’s what it’s about.

245 On Sender’s testifying that Pellicano offered to kill Russo for him, from “Pellicano Trial: Betrayed Lovers, A Bitter Hedge Funder, More Bert Fields and Murder For Hire” by Allison Hope Weiner:

And, then, the government went to the tape–an audio recording of Mr. Sender talking about Mr. Pellicano’s wiretapping of Mr. Russo.

Mr. Sender testified that Mr. Pellicano offered to have Mr. Russo murdered if Mr. Sender authorized it. “If I wanted to,” Mr. Sender told a packed courtroom, “I could basically authorize him to have him murdered on his way back from Las Vegas..have somebody follow him back, drive him off the road and bury his body in the desert.”

Mr. Saunders then inquired if Mr. Pellicano was joking. “Absolutely not,” said Mr. Sender.

Pellicano’s cross-examination of Sender where he questions the intent to kill is in “Investor testifies about wiretaps” by Carla Hall:

During the testimony, Pellicano sat with his hand to his face, studying his ex-client, unfazed.

Acting as his own defense attorney (therefore required to refer to himself in the third person) Pellicano in his cross-examination suggested the conversation went differently: “Didn’t Mr. Pellicano say to you, ‘If you’re spending all this money on Mr. Russo why don’t you just have him killed?’ “

“He might have phrased it that way,” said Sender, his dark curly hair falling to the shoulders of his tailored dark suit. He is testifying under a “use immunity” agreement, in which his statements cannot be used against him in a criminal prosecution.

Two larger fragments that are quoted in the footnoted section, from the full transcript of Pellicano’s call with Adam Sender, at footnote 217:

SENDER
What’s up…so I walk into the office this morning, and of course my partner says to me, “I spoke to Russo last night.” He’s like, you’re gonna be embarrassed. I’m like, I’m gonna be embarrassed? I’m like, how the fuck am I gonna be embarrassed? (imitates partner) “You’re gonna be embarrassed, you’ll see.” And, uh, then I went into a whole tirade about how could you be friends with someone who ripped your partner off, and if the roles were reversed, I would never be like that, and then he kept on saying “oh, well, I don’t call him, he calls me”

PELLICANO
That’s bullshit.

SENDER
I know. And then he just basically said that Russo told him, that he has a big movie deal coming out, and he’s gonna pay me back five times over, some shit like that.

PELLICANO
Mmmmhmm. Yeah. It’s all bullshit.

SENDER
That’s what- He spoke to him last night.

PELLICANO
The problem is that Russo is in Nevada. So I won’t have any idea what the fuck they said to each other. He’s in the Venetian hotel. Yeah, that sucks. You’re gonna be embarrassed by the fact that he’s got a big movie deal?

SENDER
I’m gonna be embarrassed. I’m gonna be embarrassed that I’m making such a big deal about this, and basically, when he pays me back I’m gonna look stupid, or some shit like that.

PELLICANO
Listen. I am a hundred percent with you, I don’t want you to do anything you’re not comfortable with…I just wish that you’d never met this motherfucker.

SENDER
I mean, I had dreams…I was dreaming about this fucking asshole all weekend long.

PELLICANO
ME TOO! I was there at two o’clock in the morning because I had a technical problem, so…

SENDER
I mean, after our meeting, it was all I basically thought about for forty eight hours straight. I mean, not even unconsciously consciously, it just wouldn’t stop. So…

PELLICANO
Are you comfortable now?

SENDER
Yeah. Absolutely. I just hope you nail his fucking ass to the wall.

PELLICANO
Well, along that line, it may happen, ya know, just coincidentally. [SENDER: Okay.] Ya understand what I’m saying?

246 The involvement of Ray Porter with Pellicano is detailed in “Pellicano Trial: How the Phone Company Helped Pellicano Wiretap, and Producer Freddie DeMann’s Testimony” by Allison Hope Weiner; that of Mark Arneson is “Pellicano Trial: Arneson Did Work For Many Famous Clients” and “Pellicano Trial: LAPD Employment Scheme” by Allison Hope Weiner; an explanation of the phone tapping techniques is “In Pellicano Case, Lessons in Wiretapping Skills” by David M. Halbfinger.

247 From The Andy Warhol Diaries, an entry which can be found in the google books archive of the diary for that day, “Thursday, June 27, 1985″:

Thursday, June 27, 1985

Stuart Fivar is casting bronzes for Stallone and he doesn’t know what to do because he just saw an original of the one he’s casting going at auction for cheaper than he’s casting the copy for Stallone for (laughs), so he doesn’t know what to do, he’s afraid Stallone will see it, too. And Stuart’s girlfriend Barbara Guggenheim was out there in L.A. selling art to Stallone for hours and hours when PH [Pat Hackett, Warhol's secretary] was trying to wring just twenty more minutes out of him for her cover interview for our Movies issue.

Oh aid I forgot to say that on 45th Street I ran into a lady who said her father delivered Ted Carey and his brother and she asked how he was and I didn’t have the heart to tell her he had AIDS.

248 From “Hollywood Ending” by Ken Auletta:

For the next five years, Fields spent much of his free time with Beatty, who was not then married. “Warren did something for Bert none of us with families could do,” Ovitz says. “He hung out with him.” Ovitz had tried to set up Fields with his close friend Barbara Guggenheim, who had worked as an art consultant for Ovitz and for Hollywood clients like Ray Stark, Candy and Aaron Spelling, and Sylvester Stallone. Fields, who disliked blind dates, didn’t call her, but business brought them together in 1989, when Stallone sued Guggenheim, for five million dollars, for urging him to buy a painting by the nineteenth century French artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau that he later contended had been damaged and restored. Guggenheim, a slim, tall woman who has silver-gray hair pulled back in a ponytail, had dated a succession of men but never married. She met Fields in New York in January, 1990, and they were married in 1991. Like Lydia, Barbara became her husband’s sole confidante. “Bert’s not close to anyone particularly,” Guggenheim told me. “He’s always more comfortable talking to me than to men about personal stuff. He’s not interested in golfing with the boys or taking white-water-rafting trips.” She says that she understands why he still cries when he thinks about his second wife, and why he keeps her ashes. “He wouldn’t have been who he is without her,” she says and adds, with a smile, “He’s a well-trained husband. I’m grateful.” The Stallone lawsuit was settled soon after Fields let it be known that the actor would face a brutal cross-examination-with the implication that it would embarrass Stallone. “She didn’t pay a dime!” Fields told me.

249 A piece on the lawsuit when it was first filed is “Stallone Files $5-Million Suit Against N.Y. Art Consultant” by United Press International.

From “Scandal for Sale” by Paul Jeromack, a piece primarily devoted to the sale of paintings from the inventory of disgraced art dealer Lawrence B. Salander:

One of the most important (and atypical) pictures by a painter best known for his popular canvases of coquettish little girls, the Pieta was bought in 1988 by Sylvester Stallone. He purchased it on the advice of his art adviser, Barbara Guggenheim, for $1.7 million, sight unseen. The actor subsequently learned that the picture belonged to a friend of Ms. Guggenheim’s, New York collector-dealer Stuart Pivar, who had reportedly unsuccessfully offered it around for years-both Michael Jackson and Madonna were said to have turned the picture down.

Distressed to discover that the canvas had been torn, and unevenly restored and repainted, Mr. Stallone filed a $5 million civil fraud suit in 1989 against Ms. Guggenheim and Mr. Pivar. It was quietly settled in 1994 when Mr. Pivar agreed to swap the Pieta for another important Bouguereau from his collection. He swapped the Alma Parens, an imposing allegory of an enthroned Mother France surrounded by clamoring infants. As for the Pieta, Mr. Pivar consigned it to Hirschl and Adler Galleries at a price of $1.75 million. Subsequently bought by a Texas collector, it is now estimated by Christie’s at $1.5 million to $2 million.

As in his Rocky films, Mr. Stallone wound up the victor, selling Alma Parens at Sotheby’s New York in 1998 for a then record for the artist, $2.6 million.

250 From “Stallone Named in $50-Million Lawsuit” by Scott Collins, on the legal fight between the Stallones, and Fields previous representation of Morton in the fight over the Hard Rock concept:

The former stepfather and business manager of Sylvester Stallone has filed a $50-million defamation lawsuit against the action star and two top executives of the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain.

In his Los Angeles County Superior Court complaint, Anthony Filiti, 70, who is divorced from the actor’s mother, Jackie Stallone, alleges the “Rambo” star last year terminated his business dealings with Filiti after the latter had increased the actor’s net worth from zero to about $80 million.

The suit accuses Robert Earl and David Rosenberg, executives of the Planet Hollywood chain in which Stallone and other top stars have invested, of exerting undue influence over the actor’s personal affairs and engaging in unspecified “conflicts of interest” and “self-dealing” that were “to the detriment of Planet Hollywood and its shareholders.”

Stallone, in a brief statement read by his publicist, said that “the lawsuit that has been implemented by my ex-business manager is personal and frivolous and has no credence whatsoever. It is unfortunate that Planet Hollywood and other neutral parties had to be involved in this affair.”

Planet Hollywood executives did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Filiti retained Bertram Fields, a heavy-hitting entertainment attorney whose clients have included the Beatles, David Geffen and Michael Jackson.

Stallone and his attorneys face a formidable opponent in Fields, a celebrated lawyer considered so powerful that Michael Ovitz once half-jokingly sent him a $5 retainer to deter him from bringing litigation against Creative Artists Agency.

Fields’ firm in 1992 represented restaurateur Peter Morton in his $1-billion lawsuit against Planet Hollywood. Morton argued that Planet Hollywood had stolen its concept from his Hard Rock Cafe chain. The case was later settled, Fields said.

251 The details on why Stallone launches his lawsuit can be found in “Rambo takes a hit” by Cameron Stracher:

It’s not easy facing the twilight years in an Enron economy. First, Ken Lay had to sell the house in Aspen. Now, another aging pensioner is shocked — shocked! — by the financial shenanigans going on under his very own nose. In a lawsuit filed on Feb. 14 in California Superior Court in Los Angeles, Sylvester (Sly) Stallone alleges that he was led financially astray by one Kenneth Starr — not the Clinton nemesis but Stallone’s business manager and investment adviser. Stallone, a litigious fellow who has sued not only his father-in-law for mishandling his money but also his former nannies, landscapers, car dealers, real-estate agents, art dealers, producers and wives, accuses Starr of duping him into holding onto shares of Planet Hollywood stock until it was virtually worthless.

As a founder of Planet Hollywood, however, he didn’t want to be cut out of the action. ”[Stallone] wanted to make sure that he would receive substantial monetary compensation for the services he had rendered and was continuing to render to Planet Hollywood International for which Plaintiffs were issued the shares of stock. Stallone was advised by Kenneth Starr not to sell the stock, that by doing so he would be hurting the company . . . as he would be sending the wrong message to the market, and that the price of the Planet Hollywood International stock could be expected to go much higher.”

Stallone contends that he was sacrificed in favor of one of Starr’s other clients, Keith Barish, a member of Planet Hollywood’s board. ”Kenneth Starr was aware that if Plaintiffs sold their stock, such a sale might depress the stock price, which would jeopardize or lessen the value of the holdings of Starr & Company’s other client, [Keith] Barish.” Barish, the suit alleges, was the real insider, while Stallone never got to peak behind the velvet rope.

252 Todd Michael Morgan’s profile at Businessweek.

253 From “Hollywood Ending” by Ken Auletta, on Pellicano billing Fields for his services:

When I suggested to Fields that even his friends were puzzled by his association with the detective (I used the word “thug”), Fields replied slowly, saying, “I never knew him as a thug. I never saw an instance of Anthony hurting anybody or really threatening anybody.” As for the Times story about his Illinois Mob ties, Fields said, “I’m not sure I read it,” and he said that he didn’t recall ever seeing a bill from Pellicano or asking for an explanation of his charges. He explained that Pellicano probably called his assistant and “told her to send the bill to the client.”

This is Pellicano in conversation with Ken Starr, discussing how Pellicano will be paid. The Marisa mentioned is Ken Starr’s then wife. This is taken from the full transcript of the call between Pellicano and Starr at footnote 219.

STARR
Alright, Anthony, and you told Marisa you need more money? [PELLICANO: Yes.] Is that all cleared through Bert and everything since he’s the one who brought you on, is there any issue with that?

PELLICANO
I told him I would ask you for more money, yes.

STARR
What?

PELLICANO
I told him I needed more and asked you.

STARR
No problem. We will get the cheque out.

PELLICANO
Listen: now I’m gonna tell you my policy. If you lose any confidence in me then I walk.

STARR
Oh no. I’m not losing confidence in you at all.

PELLICANO
I was here till nine o’clock last night, ya understand? [STARR: No, but-] Wait- And I was here at 7:30 this morning, working for you.

STARR
No, but I get two people- I get you telling me to clear everything through you, I get Bert telling me to clear everything through him. So I don’t know who I’m clearing what through.

PELLICANO
My money, the fees that I earn, you’re gonna deal with me, unless you wanna deal with Bert.

STARR
No.

PELLICANO
And then all I’m gonna do is I’m gonna call Bert and he’s gonna call you, so.

STARR
No. I’d rather deal directly with you. So, let me have Marisa give you a call-

254 The definitive piece on Ken Starr and his ponzi scheme is “All The Best Victims” by Michael Schnayerson, to which I’m indebted and from which all the information from the Starr section comes from.

On the celebrities who were invested in the fund:

In sheer numbers, Starr’s alleged Ponzi scheme pales beside Madoff’s $65 billion, and in person, wearing a black silk shirt or zip-up designer sweats, Starr must have seemed a little cheesy compared with Madoff, who favored Savile Row suits and crisp white shirts. But in one regard, Starr had Madoff beat: his clients were far more dazzling.

A handful of the names have trickled out since Starr’s arrest: director Mike Nichols and his news-anchor wife, Diane Sawyer; The View’s Barbara Walters; writer-director Nora Ephron and her husband, author and scriptwriter Nick Pileggi. But these are just a few in a daisy chain that winds from New York media to Hollywood and back, in which one boldfaced name recommended him to another.

On and on it went: from Hollywood producers Scott Rudin and Ron Howard to Broadway’s Neil Simon and Gene Saks. Movie directors Jonathan Demme, Sam Mendes, and Doug Liman, actors Liam Neeson, Al Pacino, Warren Beatty, and Candice Bergen, political satirist Michael Moore, singer-songwriters Paul Simon and Carly Simon, fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi-all were clients. Former Citibank chairman Donald Marron and Sony chairman Howard Stringer-clients, both of them. Even Caroline Kennedy was a client. Some just had Starr do their taxes and pay their bills. (Vanity Fair editor in chief Graydon Carter was in this camp.) But many had let Starr talk them into giving him their money to invest.

On Starr’s theft of money from investors:

Diane says she had no idea how Starr was financing the condominium maisonette he bought last April. Prosecutors claim they know. They say Starr went from channeling client money into risky investments to stealing $7.5 million outright. He is accused of taking $1 million from the account of actress Uma Thurman, who had been a friend since she was 17. When she found out, Thurman stormed into his office with lawyers in tow, to be met with lame excuses. When those fell flat, Starr reimbursed her-by allegedly taking $1 million from Jim and Elizabeth Wiatt’s account. Another $5 million was allegedly purloined from the account of Bunny Mellon. “I asked him what that was for,” says Mellon’s lawyer, Alexander Forger, who says he discovered the $5 million withdrawal a few weeks later. Starr said it was for a new HBS bond fund. “I suggested I would rather have it back in Treasuries,” Forger recalls dryly. But the money failed to reappear.

How the money was directed into funds run by Keith Barish and his wife; Joan is Joan Stanton, a wealthy elderly woman:

As for the investments, they were in either high-risk theatrical ventures-Paul Simon’s flop musical, Capeman, for one-or companies Starr and his associates had financial interests in. Among such associates was Keith Barish, the Planet Hollywood founder. About $4.5 million of Joan’s money had been put by Starr into Planet Hollywood for a dead loss. And what of the cryptically named NIS-II and KB-II, both run by Keith and his wife, Ann? Barish describes them as typical private-equity funds, holding capital for promising investments. But they were, as their own documents portrayed them, “speculative and high-risk,” hardly the sort of investments a nonagenarian should be making. Starr had transferred as much as $3 million of Joan’s money into the bank accounts of NIS-II and KB-II, according to the Stanton complaint. Joan had no idea, Jane says, that the funds were operated by the Barishes, whom she knew and disliked. Now that she did know, she started planning to sue.

On Starr investing the millions of the heiress Bunny Mellon in the clubs of Christopher Barish:

Starr had visited Bunny at Oak Spring, her Virginia farm, admiring her 10,000-volume botanical library, along with the greenhouse and gardens. For her 90th birthday, he and Marisa went up to her place, where she greeted guests from a bed in a field of wildflowers. In return for her fondness and favor, Starr put millions of Bunny’s dollars into risky investments. One was Martini Park, a planned chain of nightclubs owned by one Christopher Barish-Keith’s son. Two clubs did open, one in Plano, Texas, and one in Chicago. But the chain quickly collapsed. (Chris Barish did not return calls for comment.)

255 From “All The Best Victims” by Michael Schnayerson, the quote about Starr’s marriage to Diane Passage:

Those who’d admired Starr’s rough savvy were left to wonder: why steal when, as it was, Starr & Co. managed $1.2 billion, at fees of 1 to 2 percent? Like a Greek chorus, his shocked clients pointed as one to the lavishly endowed Diane, for whom, the indictment notes, Starr purchased more than $400,000 of jewelry from bling jeweler to the rap world Jacob Arabo. “When your business manager marries a stripper,” says one rueful client, “that’s a tell.”

An interesting follow-up piece on Starr’s ex-wife, the ex-stripper Diane Passage, is “A Holly Golightly for the Stripper-Embezzlement Age” by Jessica Pressler.

Starr’s takeover of the estate of Joan Stanton; Jane is Joan’s daughter, Fennell is Jim Fennell, Joan’s caretaker:

The next time Starr came to visit her mother at 10 Gracie Square, Jane made sure to be there. Fennell advised her to nod and listen, so she did, marveling as Starr launched into yet another pitch for another risky investment-so persuasive that even she was ready to shout “Yes!” As soon as Starr left, Jane asked to see the portfolio statement Starr had brought. “Mummy, this is ridiculous,” she said. “He could put any numbers he wants here.” She persuaded her mother to call a close friend whose own doubts about Starr had been planted long before. Joan hung up ashen-faced. “Am I broke?” she asked her daughter.

Joan got out her new will, the one that Jane says Starr had had drawn up for her. When Jane looked through a xeroxed copy that night, she gasped. Though it had been explained that her mother would be receiving, for her signature, a document granting Starr durable power of attorney in the event she became incapacitated, the letter Jane saw that night-the letter that she says had actually been sent-was very different. It granted Starr durable power of attorney-complete control over Joan’s finances-immediately. The letter bore Joan’s signature. Jane was horrified by the document-and so was her mother, who Jane says didn’t realize what she’d signed.

At last, Joan agreed to call in an outside lawyer. The lawyer went to Starr’s office and asked him why he’d awarded himself durable power of attorney. Starr allegedly denied having done it. The lawyer pulled the telltale letter from his briefcase. “What’s this, then?”

On Bert Fields losing money with Starr; Millennium Technology was a fund set up by Starr which specialized in dot com investments:

In that giddy time, Millennium raised $160 million, half in cash and half in future commitments. Most of the 60 investors were Starr clients, whom he imbued with great expectations. “He would tell his clients how terrific all these investments would be,” says one person close to Starr at the time, sighing. “Everything was always going to the moon with Ken.”

And so they were a bitter bunch when the dot-com bubble burst and the fund retrenched, in 2002, after $60 million had been spent and largely lost. On paper, music executive Tommy Mottola lost about $3 million. Entertainment lawyers Alan Grubman and Bert Fields reportedly both incurred six-figure losses, as did director Martin Scorsese and a host of others. “That,” says one disillusioned investor about Starr, “is when I figured out he was full of shit.”

256 From the full transcript of the phone call between Pellicano and Starr, from footnote 219.

STARR
Beat the shit out of him, Anthony.

PELLICANO
I’m going to.

STARR
Okay?

PELLICANO
I’m gonna take a lot of pleasure in this.

257 On the issue of fee triple-dipping that caused the split between Grey and Shandling, from “A Studio Boss and a Private Eye Star in a Bitter Hollywood Tale” by David M. Halbfinger and Allison Hope Weiner:

By that August, a rift was opening between Mr. Shandling and Mr. Grey, who had become his manager in 1980, just out of college, and who by now was representing Hollywood A-listers like Brad Pitt, Courteney Cox and Adam Sandler. For the first time, Mr. Shandling got an outside review of his financial dealings with Mr. Grey, and he did not like what he was told: that Mr. Grey had been reaping millions of dollars behind his back.

Mr. Grey, who received a 10-percent manager’s fee on Mr. Shandling’s earnings and $45,000 per episode of “The Larry Sanders Show,” had also taken for himself the 50-percent share of the show’s eventual profits — “triple-dipping,” as Mr. Shandling’s lawyers would put it. While Mr. Shandling had agreed to these terms, Mr. Grey had discouraged him from getting independent advice beforehand, Mr. Shandling’s lawyers said.

Mr. Grey returned $1.2 million in excess commissions unearthed by the review, Mr. Shadling’s lawyers said, but Mr. Shandling contended he was owed substantially more. As the atmosphere grew more contentious, Mr. Grey dropped Mr. Shandling as a client in November 1997, and Mr. Shandling sued in January for $100 million in damages. The lawsuit questioned whether managers who are also producers have an inherent conflict of interest.

From “WHAT A MORNING! Garry Shandling Gives Brutal Testimony About Brad Grey And Bert Fields At Pellicano Wiretapping Trial” by Nikki Finke:

The prosecutor asked Shandling if at that time he was still friends with Doucett (photo, right) and whether they were in touch. [Fans of the The Larry Sanders Show will remember her as busty blonde Darlene Chapinni, secretary to sidekick Hank "Hey Now!" Kingsley. She was also Shandling's then real-life girlfriend. Doucett was fired when they broke up, and she filed two lawsuits against him, Brad Grey and the show. But Shandling and Doucett became friends afterwards. The comic replied that Doucett called him complaining "I'm getting weird calls from Brad Grey late at night."

From "Pellicano Trial: Garry Shandling Testifies on his Feud with Brad Grey, Bert Fields" by Allison Hope Weiner:

Once Shandling's lawsuit was underway, Shandling testified that his good friend and security consultant, Gavin DeBecker, advised him that to have his phones swept. Mr. Shandling said that Gavin told him that when "Bert Fields is involved in a lawsuit, you need to get your phones swept because of Anthony." As it turns out, no bugs were ever found during this one sweep -- but as Ms. Virtue has already testified, the Pellicano wiretaps weren't ever placed inside the homes of the targets, they were out at the phone boxes. During his cross-examination of Mr. Shandling, Mr. Pellicano made much of the fact that the sweep had yielded no evidence of any bugs.

258 From "Pellicano Trial: Garry Shandling Testifies on his Feud with Brad Grey, Bert Fields" by Allison Hope Weiner:

The meat of Mr. Shandling's testimony came when he was asked to review alleged LAPD computer runs on him, his ex-girlfriend, Linda Doucett, several of his employees and his good friend, Kevin Nealon. As he stared at the computer runs, he shook his head with disgust and said, "This bothers me as much as the first time I was shown this." He then identified the various names of the run sheets as Warren Grant, his accountant, Mariana Grant, his personal assistant at the time, Linda Doucett, his ex-girlfriend, Gavin DeBecker, his friend and well known security consultant and Mr. Nealon's then wife, Linda Nealon.

259 From "A Studio Boss and a Private Eye Star in a Bitter Hollywood Tale" by David M. Halbfinger, on Grey's position as head of Paramount and the settlement in favor of Shandling:

The phone rang in Linda Doucett's desert ranch house here in the late spring of 1998. It was her ex-fiancé, the comedian Garry Shandling, calling. Again.

Mr. Shandling had called several times that year to talk about his lawsuit accusing Brad Grey, his longtime manager and friend, of enriching himself at his expense. Now he was asking Ms. Doucett to testify for him.

The guy in question is Anthony Pellicano, the celebrity private detective who is at the center of a mushrooming federal investigation that has consumed Hollywood for months, and who was indicted on wiretapping and conspiracy charges last month. And her recollection suggests that Mr. Grey, now the chairman of Paramount Pictures, had dealings with Mr. Pellicano as early as 1996 - at least three years earlier than has so far been detailed publicly.

On July 2, 1999, on the eve of trial, and after a judge's surprise ruling had greatly bolstered Mr. Shandling's case, Mr. Boies and Mr. Fields reached a settlement in which Mr. Grey agreed to pay Mr. Shandling more than $10 million, according to Mr. Boies.

Fields' claim as the man who has never lost a trial is questioned by others, including Ken Auletta in his profile, "Hollywood Ending":

Although Fields encourages the impression that he has never lost a case, the assertion is dubious. He estimates that ninety per cent of his cases are settled before they go to trial - "Otherwise, I'd be in court every day" - but not all are settled in his clients' favor. For instance, he represented Madonna when, in 2004, she and the Maverick Recording Company, which she co-owned, brought a breach-of-contract suit against Warner Music. Fields sought two hundred million dollars and settled for ten million.

Fields did not believe settling with Shandling for a lesser amount (he valued the settlement at four million whereas David Boies, Shandling's representation, "A Studio Boss and a Private Eye Star in a Bitter Hollywood Tale" by David M. Halbfinger and Allison Hope Weiner, values it at $10 million) represented a loss for him, as quoted in Allison Hope Weiner's "Pellicano Trial: On Bert Fields, Brad Grey and Garry Shandling":

So, yesterday, while court was not in session, Bert Fields, the attorney for Brad Grey during the Shandling v. Grey lawsuit, made a statement attacking Garry Shandling's testimony at the trial last week. I think it's worth pointing out that although Mr. Shandling was under oath when he made his statements, Mr. Fields was not when he issued his statement about what actually went down between Mr. Shandling and Mr. Grey back in the late 1990's. Perhaps, since Mr. Fields is on the government's witness list, he'll have a chance to make the same statement under oath at a later date and get a chance to explain how he knew nothing about what Mr. Pellicano was doing for him during the years the detective worked for him. The following is part of what Mr. Fields had to say about the Shandling lawsuit. Mr. Fields said [Scroll down for Shandling's attorney's response]:

“To measure the validity of that lawsuit, Shandling sued for $100 million and settled for only $4 million. The actual settlement agreement is available for anyone who wants to check. Although I felt confident about Brad’s winning the case, I considered this an excellent settlement.”

If Fields settled with the plaintiff for a far lesser amount in the Shandling case, and that is considered a win for Fields, how is it that when Fields sues on Madonna’s behalf for $200 million, and he settles for $10 million on behalf of the plaintiff, that is also a win for Fields?

260 From “Investigator to the Stars Is Convicted in Wiretaps” by David M. Halbfinger:

The starkest example of the government’s failure as yet to deal any crushing blows to people in power came when the lead F.B.I. agent on the case, Stanley Ornellas, testified flatly that Mr. Ovitz was responsible for orchestrating the threat against Ms. Busch – after Mr. Ovitz’s testimony that he had no role in it had gone unchallenged by prosecutors.

261 From “Trouble Shooter” by Bill Hewitt:

To his detractors, Pellicano is a blustery egotist who is not above cutting ethical corners and thus is a risky choice for such a sensitive case. But to hear Pellicano tell it, he is a thoroughly modern shamus who relies more on brains than on muscle. Indeed, he likes to boast that not only is he a member of Mensa but also that he doesn’t even carry a gun. “That’s a physical solution to a mental problem,” he says disdainfully. “I involve myself in cases that take tremendous amounts of thought-Sherlock Holmes-type things.”

From John J. Nazarian’s podcast, “John Unleashed (09/23/2013)”. Audio excerpt is from the points in parenthesis.

(16:28-17:04)

NAZARIAN
I remember…I can almost close my eyes and see him during the trial and, you may or not know, he represented himself. And he posed questions in third person…[KAT: Right.] I mean talk about a scene that shoulda been on youtube. And the bizarre part from where I was sitting, and maybe where you were sitting too, Kat, is he actually appeared to be enjoying it.

KAT
Yeah, I think he did. He thought he was winning the whole time, too.

From “Investigator to the Stars Is Convicted in Wiretaps” by David Halbfinger, on Pellicano’s conviction:

Anthony Pellicano, the ripped-from-a-pulp-novel private eye who made himself an indispensable fixer for Hollywood stars and moguls, was found guilty in federal court Thursday of racketeering, wiretapping and other charges.

The jury of eight men and four women deliberated nine days before finding Mr. Pellicano, 64, guilty of 76 of the 77 counts against him, mostly in connection with his extensive wiretapping operation, which he used to dig up dirt on business enemies and former spouses of his powerful clients.

From “Anthony Pellicano: The Hollywood Phone Hacker Breaks His Silence” by Christine Pelisek:

Ultimately, the feds’ investigation mushroomed into allegations of bribery of law-enforcement officers, identity theft, and high-tech eavesdropping. And as the case began to take on a life of its own, Hollywood heavyweights were dragged into the mess, including Pellicano clients Ovitz and Fields. In May 2008, Pellicano was found guilty on 76 charges, including wire fraud, racketeering, and wiretapping. Three months later he was convicted alongside prominent lawyer Terry N. Christensen for wiretapping the ex-wife of billionaire Kirk Kerkorian during a bitter child-custody battle. In all, close to a dozen people were charged in the FBI probe. Pellicano received the harshest sentence: 15 years.

262 From the full transcript of the phone call with Adam Sender at footnote 217:

PELLICANO
I just…gotta shift my direction now.

SENDER
No, I understand. I was gonna call you over the weekend.

PELLICANO
I wish you would’ve, because you would have saved me some money and time.

SENDER
I’m sorry.

PELLICANO
FUCK. It’s not important, it’s just now I gotta go a hundred and eighty degrees in the opposite direction. Now, does that include this election stuff? Does that include my giving them a hard time with that?

From the full transcript of the phone call with Adam Sender at footnote 219:

PELLICANO
I don’t know if you got my message from last night?

STARR
No.

PELLICANO
Okay, I called about eleven o’clock your time, I got your machine. I was here working late last night for you. I’ve got some things I need to discuss with you. [STARR: Go ahead.] Very important. And I gotta call Bert back.

263 From the full transcript of the audio of the phone call between Rock and Pellicano, at footnote 216.

PELLICANO
Now we know what the kleenex is about. And why they want that DNA test on the kleenex. Now, the lawyers don’t know this, I’m the only one that knows this.

ROCK
Oh boy, I’ve been so set up. God.

PELLICANO
Well. What I need to know from you honey is-

ROCK
[angry] Well, what do you need to know!

PELLICANO
Did- Didja cum on her thighs?

ROCK
Uuuuuuuuh-

PELLICANO
You said you had a rubber on, brother.

ROCK
I had a rubber on probably I took off when I was getting ready to cum. Probably came on her ass. Cuz, you know-

PELLICANO
Okay. So you didn’t cum in the rubber is what you’re saying?

ROCK
No.

PELLICANO
So then it could be your DNA?

ROCK
It could be…

PELLICANO
So, talk to me. If this refreshes your memory a little better, tell me what actually happened.

ROCK
What part?

PELLICANO
The part about cummin, man. You said you told me you had a rubber on.

ROCK
I had a rubber, I took it off-

PELLICANO
You didn’t tell me that when we were in the office, honey.

ROCK
Okay, I’m sorry. Okay, I-

PELLICANO
I would have asked you that, because then it would have made sense to me why she had the fucking kleenex.

ROCK
Rubber. Off.

PELLICANO
You came on her leg when you were about to pull out.

ROCK
Yeah.

PELLICANO
Didja stick it in her?

ROCK
Uh..when?

PELLICANO
Without the rubber?

ROCK
No. So as far as you know, you just came on her leg and she…you went and took the kleenex, and she kept the fucking kleenex.

264 From the full transcript of the phone call with Chris Rock at footnote 216.

My brother, and also making clear that he shouldn’t have access to this police report:

PELLICANO
Alright. I’m gonna read this to you, I’m not supposed to have this thing. Ya understand that?

ROCK
Right.

PELLICANO
Brother, do you understand what I’m saying to you?

ROCK
I understand-

PELLICANO
I’m not supposed to have this thing.

PELLICANO
Did- Didja cum on her thighs?

ROCK
Uuuuuuuuh-

PELLICANO
You said you had a rubber on, brother.

So. Now we know why she kept the kleenex. (long pause) Hold on a second. Now we know why she kept the kleenex. You didn’t tell me that she- And that’s why I didn’t want to chat on the phone with lawyers, brother. [ROCK: K.] Because I don’t want to embarrass you. And I work for you. Understand what I’m saying? So. Ya gotta change your story now. That you came on her leg. And that that kleenex could contain your seed. The thing is, I really believe they’re trying to set you up now. Because: she had to have told her lawyer about this. And they had to have had a copy of this fucking police report. Ya see what I’m saying?

Don’t get too fluffy:

PELLICANO
What movie’s that?

ROCK
It’s called Down to Earth.

PELLICANO
Oh, I didn’t see that one.

ROCK
Romantic comedy. [PELLICANO: I'll pick it up.] Fluff.

(pause)

PELLICANO
Don’t get too fluffy, man.

ROCK
Hmmmm.

265 From “Talk of the Town” by Bryan Burrough and John Connolly; Dennis Wasser is a prominent divorce attorney:

There are many in Hollywood who say Pellicano bragged to them of his wiretapping prowess. A woman named Corinne Clifford, a figure in a child-support case Pellicano worked on for Dennis Wasser, describes an evening in 2003 when the detective tried to seduce her at his condominium. After an unsuccessful bid to get her to watch a video of certain celebrities having sex, she says, Pellicano claimed he had bugged Nicole Kidman and Kirk Kerkorian’s wife-both involved in cases he had also worked on. “I’m the No. 1 private eye in the world,” Pellicano boasted, according to Clifford. “I made Dennis Wasser’s career.”

266 From the full transcript of the phone call with Chris Rock at footnote 216.

On the police department report:

PELLICANO
Does your old lady know what’s going on?

ROCK
No.

PELLICANO
Okay.

ROCK
She doesn’t- She thinks it’s over. Put it that way. She knows of it.

PELLICANO
She knows you took the two tests?

ROCK
She knows I too the two tests, and she thinks-

PELLICANO
Now, she’s cool.

ROCK
…she thinks it’s over.

PELLICANO
Well, it ain’t over, and eventually she’s gonna know it’s not over. What you should say is it’s over as far as you’re concerned, that’s all. Just let the lawyers and people do their shit. She needs to talk to me, man, you let me know, and I’ll just blacken this girl up left and right.

ROCK
Aw, god. Is there any way to fucking stop this shit. Fuck.

PELLICANO
It’s gonna get done. I’m gonna take care of it. Ya know I got command here, ya know that.

ROCK
I know. I’m just trying- I just- RAPE. It’s just a fucking buzz. I could get busted-

PELLICANO
The wonderful thing about this is the police department doesn’t believe her. [ROCK: That's-] Remember when I told you there might be an incident report?

ROCK
Right. Once you’re accused of rape, it’s just- Fuuuck. You’re just fucked.

PELLICANO
That’s why I want to blacken this girl up. Totally.

ROCK
You are just…fucked.

PELLICANO
Yeah, totally. But I want to make her out to be a lying scumbag, manipulating cocksucker. That’s what I want. So that all that can come back to her is that. Stupid bitch.

ROCK
I’m fucked. I’m better off getting caught with fucking needles in my arm. [PELLICANO laughs.] I really am.

267 “You’re Nobody till Somebody Bugs You” by Dominick Dunne:

Wiretapping seems to be the crime of the moment. Not since the O. J. Simpson trial has Hollywood, for instance, been so riveted by anything as it is by the upcoming wiretapping trial of Anthony Pellicano, the notorious Los Angeles private eye, which threatens to cause the downfall of a number of powerful people in the film industry. I actually once hired Pellicano, to follow John Sweeney, the man who had strangled my daughter, after he got out of prison. I liked Anthony, and we stayed in touch. He phoned me to say good-bye the night before he went to prison four years ago.

From The Lawyer’s Tale, referencing Cipriano’s Tuscan heritage:

Forty minutes later, Harry sat facing Skip Corrigan, an ex-New York cop and highly successful, highly paid investigator. Harry would be late for his meeting with Tommy Bowers, but it couldn’t be helped. This came first.

Corrigan’s real first name was not Skip. It was Cipriano. He was half Italian, half Irish, a short, wiry man with light-brown, thinning hair, a long straight nose, and a high-cheekboned Tuscan face, He was always immaculately dressed and soft-spoken. But he was dangerous. Although he never mentioned his connections with the Mafia, they were close and reliable, as were his contacts with the FBI and with the police forces in most major cities.

268 I put in a footnote here a tangential, but interesting, detail from The Lawyer’s Tale: the source of its title. Whether it has any significance outside the novel is another question. It is a line said to Harry Cain by one of his many lovers. At this time, I have been unable to find this collection of poems, or even confirm if it exists.

“On the other hand,” she continued, “there’s a schlock poem from a pseudo-Chaucerian collection of poems written in the twenties about different people in the city. It’s called ‘The Lawyer’s Tale’ and it’s about a lawyer who lives behind a mask of self-confidence and rectitude. But what’s really there is very different. The author says we’ll never see behind the mask or know what’s in this lawyer’s heart. Maybe that’s you.”

page 9 meaning of lawyer's tale

269 Beatty’s quote is from “Telling Hollywood It’s Out of Order” by Allison Hope Weiner:

He has often alienated studio heads by representing creative talent in disputes. When ABC television and Paramount wanted to cut four minutes out of the movie “Reds” to shorten it for television in the early 1980′s, Warren Beatty, the film’s director, refused and hired Mr. Fields. “The judge’s ruling was that Warren’s final cut was sacrosanct,” said Mr. Fields, whose satisfaction is still palpable, “and they couldn’t even take four minutes out of the movie without his approval.”

A grateful Mr. Beatty, who has been a client for more than 25 years, said: “Watching Bert litigate is like listening to Pavarotti sing or Horowitz play. He brings true resonance to the word advocate.”

270 From “Tape Tells Tale of Pellicano” by Paul Lieberman, an article that deals with Pellicano’s involvement with a case where John Gordon Jones was accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a series of women, the “Jane Does”. Karla Kerlin was the prosecutor in the case.

“There’s a lot of folklore and stuff that goes with Pellicano,” Kerlin said.

That’s why the detectives wondered whether he might be behind the break-in at the Santa Monica apartment of Jane Doe No. 1, who told police that “someone had gone through files and photo albums.”

On the documents obtained by Jane Doe No.1′s lawyers in a successful civil suit against Jones, documents which included reports by Pellicano featuring detailed files on each of the Jane Does, as well as strategies on how to get rid of the prosecutor, Kerlin, by using her past as a Vegas showgirl as blackmail:

Here once again, the Jones case provides a preview of what may ultimately come out in the federal investigation: the detective’s background reports, imprinted with his pelican symbol.

Some of those were among thousands of pages of documents obtained by attorneys for Jane Doe No. 1, who sued Jones and eventually won a sealed settlement.

Pellicano’s reports included the women’s driver’s license photos, criminal histories and financial data down to the $68.15 one earned in 1979 while working at a Motel 6. “Down to the penny!” marveled one of her lawyers, Steven A. Schuman.

Schuman also found something that startled him enough to go to the district attorney: a defense memo titled, “Vulnerability of Karla Kerlin Because of Las Vegas Background.”

The memo apparently stemmed from a conversation between Davis and a friend of the prosecutor, who had known her in 1985, before law school, when she worked in a Bally’s stage show, “Jubilee.” It included the notation “afterthought: likely they had friends, boyfriends or at least one good lover while they were in Las Vegas.”

Another memo, apparently dividing up chores of the defense team, said: “Pellicano to ‘take out’ DDA Kerlin and follow up on [another prosecutor]“

A lawyer for Pellicano did not return calls seeking comment. Davis said recently that attorney-client privilege limited what he could say, but he called the memos “at worst some unfortunate defense jargon” that was all talk, “nothing more was done.”

Kerlin figures they were “looking for nude photos,” as if that had anything to do with whether the defendant was a rapist. “What was the goal?” she asked. “Public humiliation.”

She remains amused that the defense may have thought she would be intimidated by “proof I was hot once.” In reality, she was trained in ballet, danced clothed and “everyone in the legal community knew I was a showgirl.”

Indeed, on her application to the prosecutor’s office, Kerlin said, she dutifully listed her boss in Las Vegas, “Fluff LeCoque.”

271 Harry Cain is trying to get his wife into an exclusive cancer program, but he’s blocked by an old enemy nursing a grudge, Maurice King. Cain deals with this through the spywork of his detective associate, Cipriano Corrigan, who discovers that he visits a dominatrix twice a week. King is heavily in debt to some European banks while trying to develop some real estate. Cain can’t directly threaten King by telling him his funding will be cut off unless his wife gets into the cancer program, because that would be extortion. Instead, he calls up the banker, who he knows from a past favor, tells him of King’s indiscretion, and the funding is cut off. He tells the banker that he might give a message in the future to reinstate the loan to King – he gives no basis for why he would make such a request, because any suggestion of quid pro quo would be extortion. King gets what’s happening without any explicit message, and he puts Cain’s wife in the cancer program. Cain has the loans re-instated.

FromThe Lawyer’s Tale:

When Harry returned to his office, Skip Corrigan was waiting for him with a report on Maurice King. Grinning, he told Harry that King was already getting calls from all over the world to the effect that someone was out there investigating him. From what Skip could observe, King seemed to be very nervous and upset about it. Like a man with plenty to hide. For half an hour Skip read Harry his detailed notes about every aspect of the wealthy builder’s life. When he finished, Harry leaned back in his chair and gazed up at the ceiling. After a moment, he looked back at the wiry detective.

“Good job, Skip. Two or three things we can really use. Tell me more about that girl, Maria whatsername.”

“Sure. Supposedly she’s a ‘writer’; but she’s really just a part-time hooker. Mostly B and D, I think. Got one of those black-leather bikini outfits with the chains, you know?, and a full-size inflatable rubber girl. Two or three guys a week come by and stay for an hour or so. I think they fuck the blow-up doll while she whips them. I can get all the specifics on that if you want, but here’s what’s interesting: Guess who pays the rent on the apartment?” Without waiting for an answer Skip nodded. “That’s right. Maurice King. He comes over twice a week. I guess for a ‘treatment.’ And he calls two or three times a day from his office phone in between sessions. Don’t ask me how I know. You don’t wanna know. Anyway, I think she’s talking dirty to him over the phone and he gets off on it. How do you want me to handle it?”

Harry didn’t want to threaten either the girl or King. He didn’t want to commit extortion if he could avoid it. But, he had to get a message to King that would change his mind about the Harvard program.

“Tell the girl you think her story would make a terrific book. Tell her you’ll pay her a twenty-thousand-dollar advance to write it. Go higher if you have to, maybe to fifty thousand. I mean it. I’ll really buy the rights. Tell her that if it goes well, there could be more books, maybe a novel; but tell her she’ll have to include details about King in the book. That’s the stuff that’ll sell. Tell her that it’s Harry Cain who’s buying the book, that we want her to be completely open about this. She should tell King what she’s doing, that I’m involved; and she should ask if she can interview King’s wife to find out what he’s like at home. I want her to talk to King before she gets started on the book; and she doesn’t get the advance until she has that conversation. Got it?”

“Sure. King will go crazy when he gets that call. It may do the job, but why not let me persuade him, too?”

“No, I don’t think so, Skip. And it’s not just my feeling about that kind of stuff. Any direct threat is extortion. King’s tough and dangerous. If we commit extortion, he ‘ll go right to the DA, and I’ll be fighting a criminal charge when I need all my time and energy for Nancy. No, we can do it without making a single threat. Now tell me more about his Palm Beach project.”

“Well, he’s very heavily invested down there. Actually, much heavier than he can afford. It’s a huge project, but he’s had cash-flow problems, and he can’t sell any units at all in this market. Meanwhile, the debt service is eating him up. If he can’t refinance, he can lose everything. But he’s working on it, and I think he’s got a refinancing package almost in place.”

“Whose money?”

“It’s a consortium of British and European banks, about six hundred million dollars from the combine. The lead bank is Cudner-James.”

“No shit. Cudner-James out of London?”

“Yeah. Powerful private bank. Without them, King’s a dead man.”

Harry stood, walked around the desk, and kissed Corrigan on the ear.

“Cipriano, you wonderful guinea bastard. You’ve done it again.”

“What do you mean?”

“Four years ago, I handled a divorce for Sir Hilary Cudner. Saved him a bundle. His wife was a twenty-six-year-old starlet. When she met him, she lived in a tiny Hollywood apartment. He moved her to a palace behind the Beverly Hills Hotel. Then he moved there himself. That was his mistake. The girl had a problem. She couldn’t stay away from black musicians – was obsessed with black cock. After a year or so, they split; and, of course, this being a no-fault divorce state, she claimed Sir Hilary had converted all his assets into quasi-community property. She asked for a billion dollars. A billion, Skip, with a ‘b.’ Anyway, we had a long trial, and the judge gave her zip. Sir Hilary swore he owed me his life. We remained friends. I see him from time to time when I’m in London.”

Harry looked at his watch. Then he turned and picked up the phone.

“Carol, get me Sir Hilary Cudner in London. If he’s left his office, try him at his place in Surrey.”

Minutes later Harry had explained the situation to the English banker, who, enraged at Maurice King’s conduct, told him that Cudner-James would not deal with such a man. He pronounced King’s refinancing dead. King would be told immediately.

“I appreciate your help, Hilary. You’re a good friend indeed. But I want you to handle it differently, if you will.”

“Anything, Harry, you know that.”

“First, when you cut off King’s loan, tell him why you’re doing it. Second, if I call and ask you to – even though the man’s a vicious animal – please reinstate the loan.”

Reinstate it? Do business with such a monster?”

“Yes, Hilary, please – do it for me; but only if I ask you to. I’ll leave a oode message at your office. It’ll say ‘forgive.’ You’ll know that means to reinstate King’s loan.”

Later Harry walked Skip Corrigan to the door, his arm around the detective.

“It’s gonna work, Harry. I don’t think you need to give the girl the book deal.”

“Do it, Skip. We’ll play both angles for insurance. As you said, the stakes are too high.”

Later that day, as Harry was packing his briefcase to go home, he got a call from Karen Lloyd.

“Sweetie, it’s a miracle. I can’t believe it. Maurice King just called. He wants Nancy in the Harvard program. He said he’s had a change of heart and didn’t want to punish her for his dispute with you. Isn’t that great? I could kiss him.”

“Karen, that’s wonderful news. I think you must have convinced him, and we really appreciate it. Thanks for telling me.”

Five minutes later, Harry sent a fax to London. It was a one-word message to the office of Sir Hilary Cudner: “Forgive.”

pages 64 65 extortion pages 66 67 extortion

272 From “A Studio Boss and a Private Eye Star in a Bitter Hollywood Tale” by David M. Halbfinger and Allison Hope Weiner:

Less than a month after her meeting with the F.B.I. agent, Ms. Doucett said, she received a phone call from a man who did not identify himself, and whose voice she did not recognize. “Linda,” he said, “if you keep talking to your friend Stan, your child” – the man named Ms. Doucett’s young son – “won’t be going to” the private school where the boy was enrolled.

Ms. Doucett tried to brush off the threat as a joke.

“This is not a joke,” the man said.

From “Pellicano Trial: Shandling’s Ex Linda Doucett Testifies About Threats” by Allison Hope Weiner:

When Mr. Pellicano began his cross of Ms. Doucett, he decided for some reason to have Ms. Doucett tell the jury again about how she and the life of her child were threatened shortly after she met with the F.B.I. She went through the details again for him–making sure this time around to actually describe the terror she felt after the call. “I locked my doors, kept my son with me and called a friend,” she said of her actions immediately following the call.

“Who was that friend?” Mr. Pellicano pressed, as if he had the friend ready to pop up in the back of the courtroom and contradict her.

“Michael Fuchs,” she answered.

“Michael Fuchs from HBO?” Mr. Pellicano countered, just to make sure the jury and everyone else was aware that he knew his Hollywood players.

Mr. Pellicano then got Ms. Doucett to tell all the details of the F.B.I. investigation into the threat against her–establishing for the jury that the F.B.I. truly believed the threat was real. Then Mr. Pellicano went in for the kill, asking her how she knew the call had anything to do with Mr. Pellicano. “You’re just the only bad guy I know,” Ms. Doucett replied.

273 From “Talk of the Town” by Bryan Burrough and John Connolly:

To cite just one example, consider how he dealt with one of Brad Grey’s adversaries, a writer-producer named Bo Zenga. Zenga had sued Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, claiming they ignored a verbal producing agreement for 2000′s Scary Movie. Pellicano’s indictment indicates Zenga was one of the many Hollywood figures he allegedly wiretapped and investigated by paying a local policeman to run an illegal background check. With that information, Zenga believes, Pellicano learned that Zenga and his sister had co-signed a mortgage on his elderly mother’s home in New Jersey. At the time, Zenga’s mother, who had diabetes, was blind and confined to a wheelchair.

“When Pellicano learned that I had that mortgage, he made a pretense call to that number, and my mother answered,” Zenga says. “He repeatedly called my mother and would terrify her. He told her that unless her son dropped the lawsuit her daughter would lose her house; she, her daughter, and grandson would be homeless; and he would see to it that her son went to prison. When that didn’t work, he tried the goombah bit. He told her that he was the father of nine children and like her always worried about them. He did everything he could to get her to convince me to drop the lawsuit. He continued until the day she died from a stroke. This guy is pure evil.”

274 From “Pellicano Trial: Shandling’s Ex Linda Doucett Testifies About Threats” by Allison Hope Weiner:

Mr. Pellicano then got Ms. Doucett to tell all the details of the F.B.I. investigation into the threat against her–establishing for the jury that the F.B.I. truly believed the threat was real. Then Mr. Pellicano went in for the kill, asking her how she knew the call had anything to do with Mr. Pellicano. “You’re just the only bad guy I know,” Ms. Doucett replied. When Mr. Pellicano pressed her more about why she thought he was behind the call, she went on about how it was clear from all the exhibits that he’d investigated her and then she didn’t stop there. Before Mr. Pellicano could take cover, Ms. Doucett became the first witness to point blank ask Mr. Pellicano, “Why did you investigate me?” When Mr. Pellicano turned to the Judge to try and get her to admonish Ms. Doucett, the Judge smiled and said, “Just ask another question, Sir.”

275 On the efforts to raise money for Pellicano’s children and his eventual refusal of the funds, from “Talk of the Town” by Bryan Burrough and John Connolly:

When Pellicano was arrested, in November 2002, Fields spearheaded an effort to raise money for Pellicano’s children. Kat says of her husband, “He left us with nothing. That’s why I became a real-estate agent.” The president of a major studio, who says he has given testimony before the grand jury, recalls that Fields told him, “Anthony has no money, and he’s not going to be able to take care of his kids. A group of us should pitch in and do something for him.”

“Subsequently, Anthony and I spoke,” says the studio president, “[and] he gave me a list of people to call.” The list, which numbered 20 to 30 people, was a Who’s Who of Hollywood power players, including Ovitz and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Several of them promised to contribute, but as word of the wiretapping probe spread, all but the studio president and a producer dropped out. When Pellicano heard about this, the studio president says, he responded, “If no one else is putting up the money, then I don’t want it.”

An excerpt from the full transcript of the call with Michael Ovitz, at footnote 215:

OVITZ
When you have time…I have a situation I need advice on, I think it would be- [PELLICANO: Just tell me when.] I think it would be beneficial to you…I think it would be beneficial to you and…probably beneficial to me.

PELLICANO
Listen: my friend Bert Fields loves you, I love you. [OVITZ: Well.] Ya understand what I’m saying?

OVITZ
I appreciate that, but this is incredibly…this is the single most complex situation imaginable, and-

PELLICANO
Well when do you wanna see me? Give me a time.

OVITZ
When I can see you…privately.

276 From “Hollywood Ending” by Ken Auletta:

“I don’t think anybody knew what this guy was doing, because this guy traded in information,” Ovitz said of Pellicano, picking up a basketball and pacing slowly. “That’s what he did. I used to watch Perry Mason reruns all the time. There was this guy who’s a private detective, Paul, and he always came in at the last minute and slipped a note to Perry Mason in court at the most critical time. So now I say to myself, ‘Let’s see here, did Perry Mason ask Paul how he got that information?’ Don’t think so. ‘Did Paul get it all legally?’ Don’t know. ‘Was it just a blank slip of paper?’ Probably. That’s more than I ever got. But, whichever it was, it sure seemed to save the day for poor Perry.”

Ovitz said that he couldn’t speak for others, but that Pellicano “didn’t produce anything for us to even ask about. The lawyers hired him. We got nothing, zippo.” Ellis added, “We asked for a refund.” Ellis and Ovitz declined to say what they wanted to learn from Pellicano, or whether Ovitz had hired Pellicano to pursue Anita Busch. As for the stories about Pellicano’s ties to Illinois mobsters, Ovitz said that he never saw them. “To me-this is going to sound really stupid-but the couple of times I met him he seemed really out of shape. He was just a regular-looking middle-aged man. He didn’t look like those imposing guys on ‘The Sopranos’ or in ‘The Godfather.’ “

277 From “Talk of the Town” by Bryan Burrough and John Connolly, a brief introduction to Rich DiSabatino and his opinion on how often Pellicano spoke with Fields:

By 1999, after 15 years of marriage, the Pellicanos were squabbling. That December, Kat encouraged her husband to buy a condominium on Doheny Drive, near his office, telling him to sleep over there when he was working late. A few months afterward, when she threw Pellicano out of the house for good, the detective began living in the condominium full-time. The turmoil in Pellicano’s private life, Kat and others speculate, made him sloppy, made him do things he wouldn’t ordinarily do. “He was definitely distracted,” says Rich DiSabatino, a Beverly Hills private investigator who probably qualifies as Pellicano’s closest friend. “He was, in his mind, a family man, and he was losing his family.”

It was Fields who, according to former Pellicano employees, brought Pellicano into DreamWorks Animation C.E.O. Jeffrey Katzenberg’s litigation with Disney’s Michael Eisner, Tom Cruise’s defense against a gay-porn star’s sex allegations, Imagine Entertainment’s suit against Mike Myers, and Kevin Costner’s struggle with a difficult British fan, to name but a few. “He would speak to Bert just about every day,” says DiSabatino, “and if he was working one of his cases, they would talk a few times a day.”

278 From “Hollywood Ending” by Ken Auletta:

Over the years, Pellicano’s relationship with Fields became increasingly close. When Pellicano celebrated his fiftieth birthday, in 1994, in Las Vegas, Fields and his wife, the art consultant Barbara Guggenheim, were among the guests. One could imagine that Guggenheim, the daughter of a dress-shop owner in Woodbury, New Jersey, who has a Ph.D. in art history from Columbia, was not entirely comfortable in those surroundings, but she still affectionately refers to “Anthony.” Attending was a matter of loyalty, Fields told me: “He was a guy who was sort of appealing in the sense that he was struggling to make a living and was very good at his job.”

From John J. Nazarian’s podcast, “John Unleashed (09/23/2013)”. Fragment can be found in the podcast audio at the time points in parenthesis:

(26:18-27:38)

NAZARIAN
Kat, again, if you don’t feel comfortable with this next question, we can move on. How close were you to Bert Fields?

KAT
I really wasn’t close to Bert at all. I mean, obviously I knew him, but we didn’t socialize. There were things I went to, events I went to with Anthony, where he was there, we didn’t have a social life at all together. His life, and my life, Barbara, Anthony, it was more of a business relationship. I believe I can say all of these people were friends also, but it was more of a business relationship. And we never had them to our home. We had very few people, there were very few people actually invited into our home. You know, so- but I did go to events where he was there.

NAZARIAN
What about- I know you and I have talked about the cast of characters on the Ray Donovan show, and the guy that, Elliot Gould, we’re fairly certain that’s Fields, right?

KAT
Yeah, yeah I agree. I’m not sure how Mr. Fields feels about his character being portrayed by that, but that’s (inaudible, KAT and NAZARIAN laughing)

NAZARIAN
Yeah, because he’s portrayed (inaudible)

KAT
I think we’ve identified most of the players in real life.

279 From John J. Nazarian’s podcast, “John Unleashed (09/23/2013)”. Fragment can be found in the podcast audio at the time points in parenthesis:

(14:12-14:56)

NAZARIAN
I predicted, and I think I might even have written about it…here’s my prediction: when Anthony gets out of prison, and tell me if you think I’m right or wrong…he’s gonna live in a really nice home, he’s gonna have a nice car, he’s gonna have a nice watch, nice clothing, nice shoes [KAT starts laughing]…and he’s gonna own nothing. Do you agree with me on that, Kat?

KAT
You know what, I think you called it right. Of course, I have no way to know how these things are gonna work, but I can certainly see…I agree with you, I think that’s probably exactly what’s gonna happen. I hope during that time that he has nothing, that he helps the kids.

(14:56-16:00)

NAZARIAN
And my guess on that is this: all the people he took a fall for, the heads of the studios, the lawyers, they’re all alive and well. [KAT: Oh yeah.] They have to be kept squirming like little Johnny, trying to raise, answer that question in school by the teacher, he just doesn’t know what to say. They all’ve got to be squirming a little bit, as to what it’s gonna be like when Mr. Pellicano has done his time…[KAT: Right.] He shut his mouth, he didn’t say a word, but I don’t doubt for one minute Mr. Pellicano doesn’t have files and records someplace.

KAT
I’m sure you’re right. I’m sure that’s all true. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out in the next year or so.

280 From “Ex-FBI Agent Sentenced to Probation in Pellicano Case” by Del Quentin Wilber:

A former FBI agent was sentenced yesterday to one year of probation for illegally accessing bureau computers to help high-profile Los Angeles private investigator Anthony Pellicano in his trial on wiretapping and racketeering charges.

Mark T. Rossini, 47, told U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola in the District’s federal court that he was “so profoundly and deeply ashamed and remorseful” for his conduct. Facciola also ordered Rossini, who was an FBI agent for 17 years, to pay a $5,000 fine.

The former agent pleaded guilty in December to illegally searching bureau computers for personal purposes. As part of the plea deal, he agreed to resign from the FBI. Most of those searches were related to the Pellicano case, federal prosecutors said.

At the time he conducted those illegal searches, Rossini was dating the actress Linda Fiorentino, known for her role in “The Last Seduction.” Fiorentino had a previous relationship with Pellicano and wanted to help him, law enforcement officials have said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tejpal S. Chawla wrote in court papers that in January 2007 Rossini gave a report about the Pellicano case to a person identified by Chawla in court records as “X.” Law enforcement sources have identified “X” as Fiorentino, and have said she gave the report to an attorney for Pellicano, who used the report to accuse prosecutors of withholding evidence from the defense team.

Speculation on Fiorentino’s motives can be found in “The Pelican Briefs: Linda Fiorentino, Hollywood P.I.” by Mark Ebner and “Last Seduction Of The G-Man” by Ginger Adams Otis.

281 These details are from what might be one of the best profiles of Judith Regan, an early one by Rebecca Mead, “Pop Vulture”.

The points about going to Vassar and her early tabloid experience are on the specific page “Pop Vulture (page 64)”:

Regan went to Vassar, where, according to her classmate Kate Saltzman-Li, “she did whatever she wanted to do and didn’t give a shit about what other people thought.” She studied English literature and voice, spent a year at the Museum School in Boston, and entered short-story writing programs. After graduating, she came to New York and studied singing with a Juilliard teacher, hoping to become a professional. “But I was under so much stress to earn a living,” she says. “It was a horrible thing. You need to have a trust fund.” She moved to Boston, decided she had to get a job, and showed up one day at Harvard’s career-planning office, where the National Enquirer happened to be recruiting hungry young talent. She’d never read the paper, but was interviewed on the spot and flown down to the paper’s Florida headquarters the next day.

At the Enquirer, she wrote about Siamese twins and children who were dying of “old age.” When she wanted to talk to Mia Farrow after her divorce from André Previn, she discovered Farrow’s Martha’s Vineyard hideout by ordering an astronomical number of flowers for the star from the local florist and following the delivery van. When she needed to talk to a cancer specialist about John Wayne’s illness, she found out when the doctor was arriving at the Las Vegas airport for a conference, and impersonated a car-service driver in order to get him alone in an interview. She went undercover dressed as a man. She pretended to be a 16-year-old and went back to high school. It was, she says, the best job she ever had. Later, at Geraldo!, she did more stories on Siamese twins, as well as pieces on breast size and married men who cruise male prostitutes. At Entertainment Tonight, she covered the tabloid frenzy over Michael J. Fox’s wedding to Tracy Pollan.

282 From “Pop Vulture” by Rebecca Mead, specific page “Pop Vulture (page 62)”, on Regan’s looks:

She rearranges the silk scarf tucked into the collar of her trim, navy-blue pantsuit, and plucks at the fabric to keep it from clinging to her skin. Regan is 50 but looks a lot younger, and carries herself with the confidence of a woman who has always known she is extremely pretty.

From “Pop Vulture”, specific page “Pop Vulture (page 65)”:

“I had a natural desire to ask people about their lives in dramatic ways,” she says. “I was interested in the human aspects of people’s lives, which is more tabloid, I suppose. I used to say to people, ‘Everything is going to become the National Enquirer,’ and it did. Everything became the National Enquirer, including what I do now. What I do now is a version of the National Enquirer.”

On her playing the viola, from “Pop Vulture”, specific page “Pop Vulture (page 63)”:

“There are two very cleaved and separate parts to her,” says Douglas Coupland, whose novel, Shampoo Planet, she published last year. “There’s the part that does these Rush Limbaugh books, and there’s the part that plays the viola and likes to work with novelists like Walter Kirn.”

On her anti-police fingerfucking campaign, from “Pop Vulture”, specific page “Pop Vulture (page 62)”:

In the late seventies, in Utah, she was arrested – and strip-searched – for allegedly making an improper left turn. She and the American Civil Liberties Union sued. “They changed the law because of that,” Regan says. “You no longer get finger-fucked for sliding through a stop sign in the state of Utah. Thank you, Judith Regan.”

283 “Pop Vulture”, specific page “Pop Vulture (page 65)”:

“I don’t have to judge, because I am in the business of making money. All I want to do is publish books that make money. That is all I want to do. I want to be a successful businesswoman.

284 From “100 Smartest New Yorkers” by Ariel Kaminer, Larissa MacFarquhar, and Liesl Schillinger, specific page “100 Smartest New Yorkers (page 50)” – given that Rebecca Mead is credited with doing additional reporting for the list and she wrote the “Pop Vulture” profile, one can assume that the dream is hers:

A dream a reporter had shortly after she profiled Judith Regan: “I was in a crowded theater lobby, waiting for the beginning of a performance. I was standing on a balcony, and below me in the throng I saw Judith. I was afraid of being seen by her, but inevitably, she looked up and caught my eye, and then started toward the balcony. I knew, viscerally, that she was going to climb up and push me over the edge.”

285 From “Pop Vulture” by Rebecca Mead, specific page “Pop Vulture (page 64)”:

Grateful writers testify to Regan’s single mindedness. Richard Marcinko is the tough-guy former Navy SEAL whose autobiography, Rogue Warrior, Regan acquired and sold to Don Simpson after she bumped into the movie producer in Arizona. “I wouldn’t want to screw her and have her pissed off at me,” says her author. “She’s got the mind of a Jew and the heart of a Sicilian, and she goes for the heart and balls in a hurry.”

286 Though “most successful” is the sort of superlative you should be suspicious of, Regan’s financial success was still extraordinary. A section from “The Devil and Miss Regan” by Judith Newman gives some basis:

Judith Regan, quite possibly the most successful woman in publishing, is also the industry’s Rodney Dangerfield: she gets no respect. Fear, yes; loathing, certainly. But no respect. This year, the company that bears her name generated more than $80 million in revenue and in August had three books on the New York Times best-seller list, an extraordinary achievement for a small imprint. ReganBooks has the highest profit ratio at its parent company, HarperCollins.

“She has an incredible hit rate-she had 13 books on the best-seller list this year,” says Michael J. Wolf, the managing partner of McKinsey & Company’s media and entertainment practice. “Some of her success becomes this urban legend. But I do think she probably knows better than anybody today how to promote a book.”

The books listed that Regan was responsible come from the ReganBooks wikipedia page, except for Michael Moore, which comes from page 15 of her lawsuit, “Judith Regan v. Harper Collins, News Corp., and Jane Friedman (page 15)”.

287 From “Pop Vulture” by Rebecca Mead, specific page “Pop Vulture (page 63)”:

“I’m a sick woman to do what I do,” says Regan. “I wish I had another choice, because if I had another choice, because if I had another choice, I’d do something else. Because this is a horrible life. It really is a horrible life, and I hate most of it.” At her office, she says, “90 percent of the people hate my guys.”

288 From The Man Who Owns the News by Michael Wolff:

It’s also worth noting that [Roger] Ailes, among the most formidable people in modern media, had, after his marriage ended in the nineties, once gone on a date with Judith, describing it ever after as “the scariest three hours of my life.”

From “The Devil and Miss Regan” by Judith Newman:

Her friends, several of whom were prompted by Judith to contact me for this article, argue that it’s not so much anger as passion-for the books, for winning-that drives her. Her enemies, who are legion, say she is (as one former friend put it) “the highest-functioning deranged person I’ve ever known.”

289 From “The Devil and Miss Regan” by Judith Newman:

If Regan is theatrical in her author dealings, she is positively operatic with her underlings. In the last two years, at least a dozen people have left her employ-pretty impressive for an imprint that consists of only six or seven staffers. “She is,” says a woman who has worked happily for other demanding bosses but lasted with Regan less than a year, “a destroyer of souls.”

Ex-staffers talk about strange stress-related illnesses and nervous breakdowns; one person became so overwhelmed after working at ReganBooks he left New York City. Another, former Rolling Stone writer Debby Bull – who was also nursing a broken heart at the time-moved to Montana and took up canning.

“You have no idea how crazy she is. None,” says one former editor. “Many of us who worked there still get together years later. We became very close, because you had to stick together to survive it.”

From “The Judith Regan Story” by Vanessa Grigoriadis:

Anyway, I didn’t go work for her, although we delved into it further, and though she has always been kind and delightful when I’ve seen her, when I hear what employees have to say about her-usually assistants-I’m pretty glad I didn’t. Usually, they start the conversation by screaming, “She’s fucking crazy! She’s a crazy bitch!” And “It’s really sad. If she had the trust gene instead of the paranoid gene, she could be the Oprah of publishing.” And “There were a bunch of assistants sitting in one small area, and Judith would call them cunts who only had a job because of her hard work.” And, perhaps most viciously, “She’s just afraid she’ll end up back in Long Island someday.”

290 From “The Judith Regan Story” by Vanessa Grigoriadis, on the growing intolerance of Regan’s antics within Harper Collins:

The HarperCollins narrative of Regan’s fall begins in earnest at least four years ago. Regan’s staff had more than doubled, and she was going through assistants and editors like wildfire. “In the beginning, we were not really aware of the impact of her management style,” says a HarperCollins HR executive. “Then there was a progressive change-almost an intervention-on the company’s part.” Several executives were assigned to work as coaches and advisers with Regan, hoping she could focus on the creative side of things and leave the day-to-day management to other people. “A lot of executive time was spent working very closely with her on things that executives at that level wouldn’t ordinarily do with other people,” says the executive. (Regan’s lawyers deny this arrangement existed.) But things got much worse when, in April 2003, an employee complained about a story Regan told in the office about an incident where mezuzahs in her apartment building were pulled down and replaced with dollar bills. (According to Regan’s lawyers, as well as accounts in Regan’s acrimonious divorce proceedings, it was her husband who’d boasted of pulling down the scrolls.) Human Resources began an investigation and found multiple employees who had taken offense on account of their race, religion, and sexual orientation. A meeting was called. “Her response was to say, ‘I’m outrageous, I’m provocative, people are babies,’ the same responses she always makes,” says an executive.

From “The Judith Regan Story” by Vanessa Grigoriadis, on Regan’s move to Los Angeles, and the overall enthusiasm within News Corp for the O.J. Simpson book:

Regan had long been after her superiors for permission to move to Los Angeles, where she was convinced she could find all sorts of creative talent she couldn’t find in New York. It also meant she would be out from under Friedman’s thumb, and with a chance to be even more of a celebrity in her own right. The company looked at it this way: She would invite certain staff to move out to L.A. with her, and those who agreed were doing so voluntarily and freely, so they probably weren’t having issues with her, and the staff who remained in New York would no longer be managed by Regan day-to-day. It was win-win.

Judith Regan may be a loose cannon, but this was far from the case with the O.J. book. Rupert Murdoch himself signed off on it. Regan received a call from Simpson’s manager in February 2006, asking if she would be interested in O.J.’s story. Coincidentally, she was going to see Murdoch at a book party that evening. They had a cursory conversation, and she explained that Simpson’s share of the proceeds would be going not to O.J. but to his kids. Murdoch thought it sounded like a viable project and congratulated her on it.

Friedman saw the project as a gigantic mound of cash piled on her bottom line. “There were two secret books at HarperCollins in 2006, and we asked, ‘Are they worth it?’” says a HarperCollins editor. “Jane said that one of them was not that big a deal, but the book with Judith was going to be huge.” Mark Jackson, Murdoch’s in-house counsel, made the deal for about $880,000, put into a third-party trust for Simpson’s children.

Judging by the book, which recently has begun to leak out, the only one who at first wasn’t in harmony with the O.J. project was O.J. himself. Like many a criminal before him, he had an urge to confess that he then became deeply conflicted about.

From “The Judith Regan Story” by Vanessa Grigoriadis, on the reaction of Howard Kurtz and others in the press corps to the O.J. Simpson book:

Then her bubble burst. By November 13, the consensus among News Corp. executives was that they couldn’t wait any longer to announce the project, since a cameraman at the TV taping had leaked a video clip to Entertainment Tonight. There was one problem: Regan said the book wasn’t ready. It wouldn’t go into galley form for several days. The news was announced on Tuesday, November 14, even though only Regan, Mark Jackson, and the book’s editor had seen the book. The explosion was immediate, with outraged talking heads burning up the airwaves. Howard Kurtz said it was the “most appalling, shameless, exploitative thing I have heard of in the history of television, maybe the history of recorded civilization.”

The book is an unsettling and fundamentally dishonest memento of a strange moment in America, rather than any kind of confession. Nevertheless, Regan insisted on titling the book I Did It, but Simpson’s lawyers objected. They finally settled on If I Did It.

Though neither Friedman nor Regan had seen the book, corporate frenzy over the project grew steadily. Originally, Regan wanted to release the book over Super Bowl weekend, but Fox TV wanted to broadcast the show she’d planned to accompany the book during sweeps week.

From “The Judith Regan Story” by Vanessa Grigoriadis:

Next came the infamous call from Jackson. Earlier that week he had told her that the book was going to be “reedited.” It was up to Regan to comply, or they were killing the book. Period.

Jackson is a mensch of a guy, by all accounts-a crafty, smart lawyer who was beloved in Regan’s office, with a grudging respect for Regan herself. The way the conversation was originally reported, she’d told Jackson, “Of all people, the Jews should know about ganging up, finding common enemies and telling the big lie”-everyone was against her, specifically a Jewish cabal composed of Jackson, Friedman, editor David Hirshey, and ICM agent Esther Newberg. (“I don’t believe that the four of us have ever been in a room together at the same time, not even at Michael’s,” says Hirshey.)

291 The nuts and sluts strategy is described in Regan’s lawsuit, “Judith Regan v. Harper Collins, News Corp., and Jane Friedman”, specific page “Judith Regan v. Harper Collins, News Corp., and Jane Friedman (page 21)”:

58. Following the OJ controversy, defendants first attacked Regan by having News Corp.’s various media outlets and its unnamed “insiders” falsely portray her as someone who had lost all sense of balance with regard to issues of abuse, among other things. This “nuts and sluts” propagandist technique is used to attack the character of a woman (like Regan) by falsely characterizing her as crazy, “slutty”, hysterical, scorned, vindictive, etc., in order to destroy her credibility on any issue.

59. For example, in a recent sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News commentator is quoted as talking about how News Corp. and Fox use the “nuts and sluts” strategy, and how Ailes is notorious for his brutal media assaults:

“If any woman ever breathed a word [about his inappropriate conduct] I’ll make her pay so dearly that she’ll wish she was never born. I’ll rake her through the mud, bring up things in her life and make her life so miserable she’ll be destroyed…and who are they going to believe?…They’d see her as some psycho, someone unstable…”

“If you cross Fox News Channel, it’s not just me, it’s (Fox president) Roger Ailes who will go after you…Ailes operates behind the scenes, strategizes and makes things happen so that one day, bam! The person gets what’s coming to them but never sees it coming. Look at Al Franken, one day he’s going to get a knock on his door and life as he’s known it will change forever. That day will happen, trust me…Ailes knows very powerful people and this goes all the way to the top…Top of the country. Just look at who’s on the cover of his book [Bush and Cheney], they’re watching him and will be for years.”

Both the O’Reilly and Van Susteren attacks are from the lawsuit, specific page “Judith Regan v. Harper Collins, News Corp., and Jane Friedman (page 23)”:

63. Much of the anti-Regan sentiment came from News Corp.’s own Fox News Channel. For example, on November 17, 2006, Bill O’Reilly unfairly attacked Regan and the project:

“American culture hits its lowest point ever, that is the subject of this evening’s Talking Points Memo.”

“Rock bottom has arrived as OJ Simpson is being paid to speculate about the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, murders a civil court ruled he committed. As you may know, Simpson will reportedly receive $3.5 million to detail how he would have murdered the two Americans if he had did it. Since Nicole was the mother of his two children, the horror of this is evident to any decent person, but FOX TV and a publisher believe they can make money on the project, so it’s on…”

65. Similarly Fox News’ commentator Greta Van Susteren, who (like every other commentator at the time) had neither read the book nor seen the interview, stated:

“I’m not so sure how Judith sort of rides in on the white horse. And I’ve interviewed OJ. I mean, we’ve all – I mean, I’ve benefited from OJ. I don’t deny that. But I don’t understand this sort of coming in and this brings closure for her in her personal problems by publishing OJ.”

“You know, Jim, you know, to me, the whole idea of writing the book was not particularly — it didn’t sort of seize me, in the sense that, I — you know, that I figured he was going to try to make money, you know, that — you know, that’s what people do is try to make money. What I think is so bizarre is this explanation by the publisher as to sort of get closure in her personal life, that she was going to publish a book which, for the most part, people are finding almost — you know, almost laughable. I think most people have concluded that OJ Simpson is the murderer of those two people. And that’s now the story. I mean, the publisher’s become the story.

The New York Post piece quoting Regan’s ex was “Ex slaps back at O.J. book pusher – abuse story ‘fiction’” by Jennifer Fermino. The excerpts where he denies she was abused and that she was an investor in his drug smuggling:

The allegedly abusive ex-lover Judith Regan insists inspired her to publish O.J. Simpson’s “confession” denied the shocking claims yesterday – saying he was insulted she’d use their relationship to hawk books.

“I feel victimized that she uses this as a way to make her living,” said disgraced psychiatrist David Buckley, who seriously dated Regan in the ’80s and is the father of her grown son.

“Judy has these ideas – let’s rule the world according to Judith Regan’s whims. Now she’s selling books at my expense. It’s untrue!”

“It’s an entirely circumstantial story created to sell books, and to sell books by someone who killed two people,” Buckley added.

He described their courtship as “tumultuous, passionate [and] ruthless.”

“It was a dysfunctional relationship that cut both ways,” he said. “She was never beaten up, she was beaten back.”

Still, he contends that his physical aggression toward the brash, famously foul-mouthed literary dynamo was “nothing more than playground tussles.”

Buckley – who served time for marijuana smuggling and lost his license to practice medicine – also claims that Regan profited from his illegal activities.

“I was one of the kingpins going in and she was one of the investors,” he said. “I took the fall. Her money’s been tainted ever since.”

292¸That Regan was friendly with Pellicano and Fields is mentioned in many places. I give one example, from “The Trouble with Judith” by Michael Wolff:

It’s a dicey stage, the actual firing, or its cause, or explaining it is dicey, because it’s what the defamation and breach-of-contract lawsuit promised by Judith’s lawyer, legendary litigator Bert Fields, will hinge on. (Fields is the Hollywood lawyer who was questioned in the Anthony Pellicano wiretapping investigation; Judith is a longtime friend of both Fields’s and Pellicano’s.)

The point about the publication of the books of Fields and Guggenheim by ReganBooks is in “Just the Facts: Powerful Hollywood lawyer Bertram Fields judiciously tackles the Bard’s authorship” by Betty Goodwin:

For seven years, working on weekends and during vacations from his day job as a partner at Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman Machtinger & Kinsella LLP in Century City, Fields searched for the true identity of the person responsible for “Hamlet,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” 32 other plays, 154 sonnets and two long narrative poems. The result is “Players: The Mysterious Identity of William Shakespeare.” The fact that it’s published by Regan Books, no one’s idea of a scholarly imprint, could be only part of a giant credibility problem.

In his camel cashmere cardigan, jeans and loafers, Fields holds forth on the deck overlooking the surf while his wife, Barbara Guggenheim, an art consultant, is working inside. (She also has a book deal with Regan. Her tome on decorating a house from top to bottom with eBay finds will be published this fall.)

That Fields was her lawyer in the suit is mentioned in many places, including “Murdoch named in lawsuit over OJ book” by Dan Glaister:

The $100m (£49m), 70-page lawsuit filed in the New York state supreme court in Manhattan argues that Murdoch signed off on the Simpson book over dinner in February last year, suggesting that Regan pay $1m for the rights, although not directly to Simpson.

When the furore broke over the title, Murdoch said he thought its publication “ill-considered”.

Regan, who is represented by veteran Hollywood lawyer Bert Fields, alleges that HarperCollins and News Corp “manufactured the false impression that Regan was a disgraceful and unethical publisher who deserved to be punished for the OJ controversy”.

293 From the lawsuit “Judith Regan v. Harper Collins, News Corp., and Jane Friedman”, specific page “Judith Regan v. Harper Collins, News Corp., and Jane Friedman (page 15)”:

34. Defendants’ efforts to sacrifice Regan in order to save the reputation of Kerik – and, by association, Rudy Giuliani — continued. In December 2004, this News Corp. senior executive told Regan that he believed she had information about Kerik that if disclosed, would harm Kerik’s Homeland Security nomination, and more importantly Giuliani’s planned presidential campaign. This senior executive was concerned about this information being made public, and counseled Regan to lie and withhold information from investigators concerning Kerik. In fact, as is typically done when Fox News on-air talent and commentators receive their “talking points”, this executive attempted to influence any information that Regan might be asked to give regarding Kerik.

35. Similarly, another News Corp. executive advised Regan not to produce clearly relevant documents in connection with a governmental investigation of Kerik.

Many articles have been written on the fall of Bernie Kerik. A good summary is “A Short History of the Rise and Fall of Bernie Kerik” by Leonard Leavitt. A piece devoted to Kerik’s affair with Regan is “Bernard Kerik’s double affair laid bare” by Russ Buettner. A piece devoted to Kerik’s links to a construction firm with mob ties is “Rudy’s Kerik Problem” by Tom Robbins.

294 From Because She Can, the description of Vivian Grant:

Angry voices suddenly clashed just feet away from the conference room. I sat forward and strained to hear, but all I could catch was “a fucking baboon, you know that?” More yelling, and then I heard a door slam so hard that it made the wall shake. It was unnerving, hearing that kind of unmitigated rage within the confines of an office, and my whole body tensed when the conference room door swung open abruptly. In swept a beautiful woman, calm and composed, a dead ringer for Isabella Rossellini but with strawberry blond hair and green, almond-shaped eyes.

“Claire?” she asked with a captivating smile, shaking my hand firmly. “Vivian Grant.”

This was Vivian Grant? In all I’d heard about Vivian, nobody had done justice to how movie-star gorgeous she was. She looked much younger than her fifty years. With her hair pulled back into a loose bun, her skin a perfect alabaster, she was stunning.

A description of Regan in “Judith Regan” by Elizabeth Gleick:

But Regan herself, an Isabella Rossellini look-alike who wears Armani into battle, is not exactly shy and retiring. She expresses herself loudly and clearly on virtually any subject, from the brilliance of her authors to how much she hates to shop. And she becomes positively vitriolic on the subject that most consumes her: the “horrible” breakup of her marriage to Robert Kleinschmidt, a New York City financial planner.

What I take to be references to Sean Hannity and Janice Dickinson, respecitvely, in Because:

“Oh, and I’m sick of listening to that right-wing blabbermouth Samuel Sloane spouting off on Fox every night. The guy’s an idiot—I know we published his books, but he’s a moron. I loathe him. He’s a bloated, disgusting, moronic publicity whore. Get me a list of authors for a book ripping him apart. They should be ready to deliver within four weeks at the most.”

Candace, one of my new authors, had been an international supermodel in the 1980s, partied at every hot spot from Studio 54 to Bungalow 8, adhered to a strict “billionaires only” dating policy, battled through addictions to every substance on the planet, gone under the knife more times than she could count, married a few times, had a few kids, and pumped out a few best sellers about all of it along the way. She was still very striking, although her regular visits to Dr. 90210 were starting to give her a slightly Madame Tussaud look. And she was incredibly vibrant and vivacious—so vivacious, in fact, that one might suspect she hadn’t quite kicked every chemical substance out of her diet.

Viviant Grant, inseminators #1 and #2:

“Two boys. Marcus is twenty-six and gorgeous. How old are you? You should meet him. Oh, right, but you’re with Randall. Are you with Randall? I used to doink Randall’s father, you know. That’s how Randall and I first met. I strolled out of his parents’ bedroom one morning wearing nothing but his father’s button-down and a smile, and there was little Randall, eating his Lucky Charms with the nanny. Anyway, inseminator number one, my son Marcus’s father, was this super hot one-night stand I had in the seventies. And my son Simon’s twelve. Inseminator number two was a perverted fuck-all whom I made the grave mistake of marrying.”

From “The Judith Regan Story” by Vanessa Grigoriadis:

In her office the day before she was fired, she had a meeting with Anna David, the author of the book Party Girl—You’re so gorgeous you should be on the cover of your book!—and chatted in the corridors with some of her staff: One of the moms told her about her ex-husband, who seemed to be ignoring their kids at Christmastime and reneging on special presents. “Of course he doesn’t have to get them presents,” she fumed. “He’s a man—the only thing they’re good for is semen. They’re inseminators! That’s all they are!”

Vivian Grant overshares:

“So how are things with Randall?” Vivian asked. I shivered, wrapping my towel around me. “His father was crap in bed. Thought he was God’s gift, but that man was hung like a pimple. It was better than nothing, though, which is what I’ve got at the moment. Do you know the last time I got laid?”

Actually, I was pretty sure I did know. In the middle of a staff meeting the previous week, Vivian had provided a graphic account of the afternoon tryst she’d had with a sexy bellboy at the Beverly Hills Hotel. He drove a Vespa and waxed his chest. “Usually,” she’d confided to twenty of her nearest and dearest employees, “younger men don’t know how to pleasure a woman. Like you, Harry, you probably wouldn’t know which end was up. But Vespa guy was an exception.” Harry, an assistant in the art department, had blushed purple. He’d quit the next day.

“I am so horny,” Vivian continued as I sat down stiffly on my couch and tried to mentally detach from the conversation, “I just humped the arm of my chair. My son walked in while I was going at it and screamed, ‘Mo-om!’ That pretty much took all the romance out of it. Well, it gives him something to talk to his shrink about.”

From “The Devil and Miss Regan”, by Judith Newman, on Regan’s indiscreteness:

Regan doesn’t seem to have a sense of the boundary, however fuzzy, between work and life. She left topless photos of herself in a table drawer in her office; she also stored voluminous records for her divorce in a closet where anyone could peruse them—and some did.

Claire and her boyfriend talking about Vivian Grant and the deputy mayor, who bears a striking resemblance to Kerik:

Harry said, coming into the living room with two wine glasses for us. “You’ll never guess who I saw canoodling at a discreet little hole-in-the-wall diner near my office.”

“Canoodling? You’ve been reading Page Six again, haven’t you.”

“Just guess.” Harry laughed.

“Okay, give me a hint—celebrity, politician, or blast-fromourpast?”

“Politician and… I don’t know, celebrity, sort of. I recognized her, at least. Holding hands and gazing into each other’seyes like total lovebirds. Give up?” Harry was clearly bursting at the seams to dish this one, so I nodded. “Vivian Grant andthe deputy mayor.”

“You saw—wait, who’s the deputy mayor again?”

“Stanley Prizbecki. I think you’d know him if you saw him. Big bruiser with a perpetual five o’clock shadow and bulging biceps… the mayor’s right-hand man?”

“That guy? You saw that guy and Vivian canoodling?” My understanding of the verb was fuzzy, but it sounded way toowarm and cuddly for either of the involved parties. Wow, thiswas scoop.

The mayor — and Prizbecki, his deputy — had won the lastelection by a landslide with the unlikely slogan “New Yorkers need tough love.” The mayor had lived up to his campaign promises by cracking down hard on organized crime and white-collar corruption—and Prizbecki had apparently beenthe muscle behind many of those crackdowns — but recently I’d read that the majority of New Yorkers thought they were taking things too far. I hadn’t fully formed an opinion yet about their leadership, but one thing was clear: Stanley Prizbecki looked mean.

“Harry, isn’t Stan married?” asked Bea.

“Yup, with four little kids.”

Grant destroys deputy mayor Stan Prizbecki:

I gasped when he held up the front page. Stanley Prizbecki—dressed in the horrible teddy, wearing the screaming red lipstick—stared back at me from the front page. It was the photo I’d discovered in Vivian’s file, “BIG DRAG FOR DEPMAYOR!” blasted the headline.

“Apparently they broke up last week,” David explained.

“Prizbecki’s wife found out that he and Vivian were having an affair, so he ended it to save his marriage. Can you believe this picture? The papers are all saying his career is completely over.

He’s a laughingstock. Even the mayor can’t back him up, it’d be political suicide.”

Hell hath no fury, I thought. So that was why she’d kept that photo on file. Of course.

295 From “Judith Regan on Millionaire Matchmaker, NewsCorp. and Her Love Life” by Lloyd Grove:

Regan—who made Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, and Jenna Jameson, among others, bestselling authors—was so legendary in the publishing business for what many saw as her larger-than-life, foul-mouthed, unreasonably demanding personality that former ReganBooks editor Bridie Clark wrote a thinly veiled novel about her, titled Because She Can.

“Ridiculous, and, by the way, a terrible novel,” Regan snorts. “She was a terrible mini-baby editor, and she’s a terrible writer. What can I tell you, a woman of no talent.” Clark declined an opportunity to respond.

296 From “Hollywood Ending” by Ken Auletta:

It is not unreasonable to suggest that seeking this sort of advantage is central to life in L.A. Doug Ellin, the creator and executive producer of HBO’s satirical “Entourage,” says that Hollywood is motivated in large measure by “the power of knowing things before others do. The best thing you can do as an agent is tell your client something before someone else does.” Peter Bart, the editor-in-chief of Variety, who was once a top executive at Paramount, recalls, “In 1970, I was suspicious that our phones at Paramount were tapped. I was right.” To this day, studio heads and agents often fail to announce that a secretary is listening to their phone calls and taking notes. “What did Mike Ovitz call his agents? Soldiers,” Colin Callender, the president of HBO Films, says. “It’s a war out there.” Or at least it’s thought to be, he says, by too many people.

From The Lawyer’s Tale, after a meeting with an executive in a studio office:

Riding down in the elevator, Miletti began to speak, but Harry put his finger to his lips, indicating silence. It was not unlikely the elevators in the Consolidated Studios Building would be bugged, if only to hear the thoughts and plans of agents and lawyers as they left their meetings with studio negotiators.

“But how could Fernbach know Slutsky would agree to putting the story in the trade papers like you asked?”

“Because, my naive friend, Slutsky did agree. The room was obviously wired, not just so Yank could hear our discussion, but also because they hoped we’d make a mistake, and they’d catch us admitting we had the film. If that had happened, the leverage would have shifted. We would have had to give it back without any deal at all.”

pages 92 93 surveillance

297 “The Judith Regan Story” by Vanessa Grigoriadis allows us the contrast side by side:

Anyway, I didn’t go work for her, although we delved into it further, and though she has always been kind and delightful when I’ve seen her, when I hear what employees have to say about her—usually assistants—I’m pretty glad I didn’t. Usually, they start the conversation by screaming, “She’s fucking crazy! She’s a crazy bitch!” And “It’s really sad. If she had the trust gene instead of the paranoid gene, she could be the Oprah of publishing.” And “There were a bunch of assistants sitting in one small area, and Judith would call them cunts who only had a job because of her hard work.” And, perhaps most viciously, “She’s just afraid she’ll end up back in Long Island someday.”

And yet. Judith’s friends speak of her with unmistakable fondness, even associating her profane cast of mind with her gifts. “For Judith, prurient things are really part of the world, and if we pretend otherwise, we’re fooling ourselves,” says Kate Saltzman-Li, a professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara and a friend for 35 years. “That’s the world, and you talk about it as it is—there’s good parts and sex parts and bad parts, and each is significant to our lives.”

She was a master seductress of her authors, as well. “There are a lot of urban legends surrounding Judith, mostly unflattering, but that’s not the Judith I know,” says best-selling ReganBooks author Wally Lamb. “I feel sad more than anything else because people have such a one-dimensional picture of her.”

298 Regan details what she sees as sexism at Fox Corp. in her lawsuit “Judith Regan v. Harper Collins, News Corp., and Jane Friedman”, specific page “Judith Regan v. Harper Collins, News Corp., and Jane Friedman (page 44)”:

News Corp.’s Double Standard for Men and Women

125. Even if Regan had been solely responsible for “controversial” projects (such as OJ Simpson and Mickey Mantle), the fact that she would be fired and smeared as a result is clear evidence of News Corp.’s double standard and discrimination against women. In fact, News Corp. does not have a single woman on its Board of Directors.

126. These are numerous reports of shocking and offensive behavior engaged in by high-ranking men at News Corp. These include Bill O’Reilly (who reportedly paid millions of dollars to resolve a sexual harassment suit brought by a female producer at Fox News, and who was recently accused of making racist and hateful comments when he discussed a trip with Rev. Al Sharpton to a restaurant in Harlem), Col Allan (who reportedly received sexual favors from strippers at Manhattan topless bar Scores, which in turn received much favorable coverage in the NEW YORK POST and who reportedly tries to intimidate employees by urinating in his office washbasin during editorial meetings), and Joe Chillemi (Fox News vice president who was recently sued by the EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] for sexual discrimination and harassment). The fact that News Corp. fully supports these individuals, but fires and smears Regan, clearly demonstrates defendants’ sexism.

The quote from Regan on Ailes and sexism is from “Mad as Hell” by David Brock, specific page “Mad as Hell (page 129)”:

Two livelier programs are former New York Post-editorial-page editor Eric Breindel’s sharp examination of the media, and the only addictive show on the channel, That Regan Woman, with Judith Regan, an editor at Murdoch’s HarperCollins publishing company, who elicits intimate tidbits from her profile subjects as if she were a ribald Barbara Walters. “Roger’s a man of a certain time and a certain tradition,” Regan says. “He’s a sexist, but I’m in favor of sexism.”

299 From the lawsuit “Judith Regan v. Harper Collins, News Corp., and Jane Friedman”, specific page “Judith Regan v. Harper Collins, News Corp., and Jane Friedman (page 15)”:

37. Defendants have continued to spin the “cell phone” story that Regan had sent detectives out to menace Fox News employees. In the March 2007 issue of VANITY FAIR, Michael Wolff – who clearly had been given his talking points by News Corp. to trash Regan – wrote that “when Judith lost a cell phone on the set of her TV show, she was able to have NYPD detectives sent out to the homes of the production-crew members she suspected of having snatched it.” Again, to claim that Regan had the authority and power to compel, direct or deploy top NYPD detectives is false, outrageous and is defendants’ manufactured spin from November 2001. Shortly after the publication of this defamatory article, Wolff disclosed that he had made a nearly seven figure deal to write Rupert Murdoch’s authorized biography with “unrivaled access to Rupert Murdoch himself, his business associates, and his family members.”

The best way to explain this reference to the cell phone story is by quoting the Wolff story itself, “The Trouble With Judith”, where it takes up a single short paragraph:

In the tumble of ethics charges that surrounded [Bernie] Kerik, former New York City police commissioner and business partner of Rudy Giuliani, when he was nominated by President Bush to be the homeland-security chief, in December 2004, it was reported that Judith was his second mistress (he was cheating on his wife with Judith, but on Judith with his first mistress), trysting with him in a special Ground Zero apartment and working out in the gym with him. It seemed to be part of her tough-guy thing: men are brutes, so go with the most brutish of them.

Indeed, when Judith lost a cell phone on the set of her TV show, she was able to have N.Y.P.D. detectives sent out to the homes of the production-crew members she suspected of having snatched it.

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Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney’s Chief Strategist, Defends Newt Gingrich On Charlie Rose

Part of an on-going attempt to illuminate the life and career of a political consultant, in this case, Stuart Stevens; other posts include “He Hates You”, a summary profile, a brief look at his China travel memoir, Night Train to Turkistan, his memoir of the 2000 Bush campaign, a look at his travel memoir Malaria Dreams, an analysis of his novel Scorched Earth, an analysis of his book Feeding Frenzy, his interview with Charlie Rose promoting Feeding Frenzy, Stevens and Jon Hinson, and an analysis of an episode of “Commander in Chief” which he co-wrote. Outside profiles and mentions, all excellent, are “Building a Better Mitt Romney-Bot” by Robert Draper, “An Unconventional Strategist Reshaping Romney” by Ashley Parker, “The Coming Tsunami of Slime” by Joe Hagan, and “Mitt Romney’s Dark Knight” by Jason Zengerle.

An example that a political consultant is at heart a mercenary. Like examples can be found on both sides of the aisle. In the current campaign, Stevens, as chief political strategist with a strong background in media, was most likely heavily involved in the creation of these anti-Newt Gingrich ads (here and here) citing the scandals of the Speaker. The book deal discussed in this episode involved a payment of over $4 million dollars to the Speaker for “To Renew America”, which many saw as a possible quid pro quo over Rupert Murdoch’s ownership of TV stations in the United States. A good introductory article on the old case would be “Murdoch, Joined by Lobbyist, Talked of Regulatory Problem at Meeting With Gingrich” by Katherine Q. Seelye (link).

This scandal was not part of the 1997 House reprimand; whose focus was use of tax exempt contributions to political foundations for practical purpose (a good overview is at the Christian Science Monitor) – the common link is receipt of funds that are used for practical purpose and denial of the link. It might be considered the first scandal of Gingrich’s reign as Speaker, anticipating what was to follow.

In this episode of “Charlie Rose”, aired at the time of the scandal (January 19, 1995), Stevens defends the conduct of the Speaker. Again, I do not think it should be surprising or remarkable that he defended then, and is part of the attacks now; the issue, I believe, is not one of principle, but of who is paying at the time. Areas of interest are bolded; I found the last line particularly funny, as well as what’s said about Murdoch and bribes, given his own current scandals.

The entire program can be seen at Charlie Rose’s site here.

CHARLIE ROSE: I begin with you, Bob. Why can’t the Speaker write a book and earn royalties from it in the same way Al Gore and many others have done?

BOB SHRUM: First, I think the Speaker of the House can write a book and he can earn royalties from it but I think he’d better off if he found a publisher who didn’t have actual or potential major business before the government. There was never any suggestion for example, when Senator Gore, then Senator Gore, wrote his book that that was involved. Secondly, I think you’ll find as a political matter that there are an enormous number of Republicans all over this town who are burning up the phone wires, you can’t quote me by name, bu I sure wish he wasn’t doing this. Uh, I think it’s become a distraction for the Republican party from the business they’re trying to conduct. But I also think it’s created this impression that there’s a lot that’s old about Newt. And it looks like old politics, and it looks like an old kind of deal, uh, it has a very very bad appearance, there are Republicans that are saying that. Some of them saying it on the record, very many of them saying it on background or off the record.

ROSE: The notion was that this seemed to be someone who didn’t have a lot of focus on him, once the focus was there he was portrayed as a man of ideas, a political genius, and all of a sudden people are saying he’s just like the rest. Is that the idea?

SHRUM: Well, I think that’s partly what happened to him. But I also think it’s very distracting for the Republican party, I think it’s very distracting for the debate. I was quite amazed yesterday that Carrie Meek’s relatively mild remarks compared to, for example, what Newt Gingrich said about then Speaker Jim Wright, which nobody in the house tried to stop from saying, that the Republicans made this huge brouhaha about those remarks, which made sure that all of them got huge prominent play on the evening news [a contemporary story about Meek's remarks can be found at Google News Archive]. Maybe Stuart could elucidate what the self-interest in the Republican party in going down this line is.

STUART STEVENS: I think…look, I think the whole idea that Newt Gingrich is being accused of being a writer here is preposterous. And the idea that anyone thinks that Rupert Murdoch is going around and handing out four and a half million dollar bribes doesn’t know Rupert Murdoch. I mean, if Charlie Scribner pays the pope eight and a half million dollars, does he think he’s going to get into heaven?
I mean, this is ridiculous. And of course Al Gore’s publisher has business in front of the government. Doesn’t he have an interest in GATT, doesn’t he have an interest in trade agreements, doesn’t he have an interest in royalties? He has a tremendous interest, everybody does.

SHRUM: No one, Stuart, has the kind of interest that Murdoch does where basically his entire television empire is threatened now…he was, for example, today, all over Capitol Hill, seen repeatedly on the Hill: now he could be lobbying, or maybe he’s looking for new authors, or maybe he’s doing both. But I think it would have been a lot better off, and I don’t think this a very controversial point that I’m about to make, for him to find a publisher who did not create this kind of appearance of potential conflict and who did not have this large an issue before the federal government right now.

ROSE: Why shouldn’t he do that?

STEVENS: I don’t think it matters. If he wants to switch publishers he wouldn’t be the first author to do it, but I don’t think this is what this is about. This is about a misconception that the Democrats have that they can blow up Newt, and therefore stop Republicans. I think that’s totally missing the point here because I don’t think what happened in November really had much to do with Newt Gingrich’s popularity. Nobody voted against Dan Rostenkowski because they liked Newt Gingrich. It was a much larger thing that was happening…and Newt has been a tremendous supporter and putter out of ideas here, but it’s not a personality driven phenomenon.

ROSE: Do you agree with what Bob Novak said in his column that was quoted by Newt Gingrich at a press conference earlier today, he talked about how the mean-spirited assault on Newt Gingrich by House Democratic leaders is not reviving their troubled party…it has reached the point where it is districting the speaker from his formidable task of enacting the Republican agenda. He ends by saying that the challenge to respond be given not to him, but they pass it on to me. He’s still a relatively young man with enough years ahead of him to defer gratification and to use his fame for private gain in the future. Now is the time for larger pursuits by Newt Gingrich. Do you agree, essentially with what Novak is saying?

STEVENS: I think it’s always easy for the other person to say they shouldn’t make four and a half million dollars. And first of all, you don’t know he’s gonna make four and a half million dollars. And he’s actually, I think, taken a big risk here.

ROSE: I hear a figure of ten million because of all the (inaudible)

STEVENS: Well, I hope so. I always think writers should make more money. I mean, Bob Shrum’s a wonderful writer, I want Bob to make lots of money.

SHRUM: Stuart, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t say that there’s no attempt to have any influence on this guy, and then that he might make as much as ten million dollars, why should he give up ten million dollars? I think people with that much money put in front of them are at least susceptible to the argument that some appearance has been created, especially when the person giving them the money shows up to see them with his lobbyist, his professional lobbyist in tow. I think Novak, who is no Democrat, in fact, he’s a friend of mine, but he’s a fan of Newt, and he knows mean-spirited when he sees it, by the way, I think Bob Novak has it exactly right. It’s not a good idea for the Republican party to go through this. Especially, when they’re running into some legislative problems.

ROSE: Wait a minute. If he walks away from this, does it look like he’s been rolled by the Democrats, as, I think, Rush Limbaugh is saying, you better stand up, don’t let them do this, they do this to you on the book deal, they’ll try some other thing to get you.

STEVENS: Let me ask you this, Bob. Do you think Al Gore should give back the half million more he got put in his pocket?

SHRUM: Who was his publisher and what was the issue his publisher had?

STEVENS: I’m not sure.

SHRUM: Well, that’s the point. And the Republicans, let me tell you, would have been very quick to leap if there was a conflict of interest. Jim Wright got driven from office, and driven from the Speakership over a sum of money that was not in the six figures, was below five figures, for a book he wrote. I mean, it is preposterous to suggest that these are parallel cases. I think Gingrich would be smarter, and listen, any advice I give would be suspect and they’re not going to take it, but Gingrich would be a lot smarter to get out of this thing now. The worst advice you get in politics is when you’re in a difficult position or you’ve made a mistake, don’t ever back down because that shows weakness.

ROSE: Bob, speak to the point that I raised that this looks like he gets rolled by the House democrats if he backs down from this now. I mean, he came out and said this is the way it is, does it look like he’s been rolled?

SHRUM: Well, like I said, I don’t think any advice I give him would be taken very seriously. Frankly, they’d be better off living with that as a one day story than having this come back in one permutation or another over a period of time. I think it’s gonna come back.

STEVENS: Bob, let me ask you a question. If Murdoch passed on the deal, but say Scribner or Random House calls up Newt and says, listen, “I’ll give you ten million for this book”, would that bother you?

SHRUM: I would think at that point you’re talking about a straight commercial deal, unless somebody had some reason to suggest something else.

STEVENS: But isn’t there a reality when someone writes books? I mean, all of these publishing houses, almost all of them are owned by large corporations now. They’re all at some level have some influence before (inaudible)

ROSE: Yeah, but there’s more of a direct relationship here, clearly. Murdoch is there, clearly. And everyone knows what he wants from the Congress, I assume. The question is does he want legislation or not, or at least, Gingrich was making that point.

SHRUM: Well, he certainly wants legislation, Charlie, if he loses the legal battle. He’s not going to say, “Gee, sorry I lost in the courts, sorry I lost in the regulatory process, now I’m just gonna walk away after giving out hundreds of millions of dollars.”

STEVENS: Bob, you’re a really smart guy. You don’t really believe Murdoch thought a) this would never come out, and b) that he was going to go in there and bribe Newt with this? There’s a whole “how stupid do you think they are?” question here.

SHRUM: Stuart, you can put these questions different ways. The question that can be asked on the other side is: “Do you think it’s really rational to believe this doesn’t create some appearance of impropriety or conflict, that it is not a good situation for the Republican party, that it was not a smart thing for Newt Gingrich to do?”, I think, you were talking about the meaning of last November, I think the last thing you want to do, Stuart, is be on television talking about this, instead of talking about the changes the Republican party would apparently like to enact once they can agree on (inaudible)

ROSE: Isn’t that the reality, Stuart, of where we are and therefore, Novak, who makes that point, Newt is being distracted from what are more important goals?

STEVENS: I think there is a period here of sniping that is inevitable, and if the worst thing we’re accusing Newt Gingrich of, is being a potentially successful writer, I don’t think this is a horrible event.

SHRUM: That’s not the accusation. The accusation is that he has received a contract that can make him an enormous amount of money who actually has issues involving hundreds of millions dollars before the federal government, who went to see him with his lobbyist in tow. Now, when you put all of that set of circumstances together, it sure sounds like what Newt claimed to be running against, not what he was running for.

ROSE: Yeah, but we both know Bob, when these corporate guys go down to Washington they generally go down with their lobbyist, because he or she is their Washington representative who stays in Washington and generally takes them around town and takes them to meet whoever they want to meet. Right?

STEVENS: A good way to get out of this, is Newt could just vote against whatever Murdoch wants!

SHRUM: That too would create the following problem if it passed, people would say, first of all, he doesn’t have to vote, because he’s Speaker, if he got out of the chair and it was gonna pass anyway, to vote against it, it would like he was doing it just for token reasons.

ROSE: I want to bring this out to a wider scale. Is there some effort, do you think, both of you, that the Democrats are smarting from Gingrich has done and they know what he did to Speaker Wright, and this is the first, or the second, or the third salvo, of many to try to give him the same medicine he gave the Democrats when he was a back bench grenade thrower.

STEVENS: This is a classic case of life imitating high school. And they have a perfect chance to gang up Newt, Newt ganged up Wright, and they’re gonna do it.

SHRUM: Let the record show that Stuart just referred to Newt as high school. I think Democrats are simply saying there can’t be a double standard. The rules that applied, or that Newt wanted applied, are gonna be applied to him. Frankly, I think, the Democrats would be a lot better off debating some of these questions about the balanced budget amendment, except the Republicans can’t agree on a balanced budget amendment to bring to the floor. They can’t agree on what tax provision it should have, they don’t want to have an open rule, because then the Democrats are gonna say let’s exempt social security and medicare, the Republicans don’t want to put that in the balanced budget amendment. They don’t want the country to put it in the balanced budget amendment. So, what really happened, is that the House has ground to a halt, because of this enormous internal division within the Republican party about how to structure the balanced budget amendment. I look forward to that debate, I think that would be a good debate for Democrats to have.

ROSE: Last word, Stuart.

STEVENS: There’s a hundred day clock ticking here. I think we’ll declare victory or defeat after the hundred days. Republicans will have to deliver. If they let this distract them, and they don’t deliver, it will be a major defeat for Republicans. I don’t think they will.

ROSE: Let me do one more question for you, Bob, since you’re there watching this closely. Give me a sense of how you think Gingrich is surviving this, beyond the book deal, how he’s handling this as Speaker, how smart he is, how savvy he’s been about the accumulation of power in terms of appointing Committee chairs and the like.

SHRUM: I think he’s the most powerful Speaker in modern history. I think he’s extraordinarily smart and going beyond this issue, I think he talks too much. He’ll talk about anything at the drop of a hat without a text, it’s intellectually interesting sometime, sometime it’s rather odd, for example, when he says that men want to go out and hunt giraffes and women get infections if they stay in foxholes for thirty days. But I do think that tendency to talk and talk and talk is probably going to get him in trouble.

ROSE: Robert, is this the same speech where he said men like to be piglets in foxholes?

SHRUM: Yeah, they like to do that and hunt giraffes. Speaker is the right title to give Gingrich.

ROSE: Does it remind you of any president you know?

SHRUM: Well, he makes the president look positively laconic.

STEVENS: Writers should be allowed a certain eccentricity, and Newt looks to become a very successful writer.

ROSE: How successful a Speaker?

STEVENS: I think he’s going to be the most successful Speaker in our lifetime.

(thank yous)

All images and quotes copyright Rose Communications Inc.

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