Monthly Archives: October 2013

Rising Sun: The Image of the Desired Japanese Part Four

(This post remains incomplete, and will be finished over the next few days. A year later, this post remains unfinished.)

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 found this very thing by following the life of Anthony Pellicano. Rising Sun the book, and to a far lesser degree the movie, present an invasion with the Japanese as alien invader, 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 its 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 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 another 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, this project had the backing and enthusiasm of both 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. This post, over a year after it was written, remains incomplete, as I was never sure how to finish it. On April 13, 2015, it underwent a session of copy editing.)

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, when superagent Ovitz deigned to speak to him. But now, 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 proves 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; it may have gone entirely unnoticed 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 movie 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, which 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 he 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 in Auletta’s “Hollywood Ending” 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 things 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 that 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!” [archive link] 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 wanted to work for her, but didn’t, 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. On April 12, 2015, this post underwent a copy editing session.)

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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“Senator, you can have my answer now if you like.”

Some days this quote is more apt than others.

“Senator, you can have my answer now if you like. My offer is this: nothing. Not even the fee for the gaming license, which I would appreciate if you would put up personally.”

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Rising Sun: The Image of the Desired Japanese Part Two

RISING SUN:

THE IMAGE OF THE DESIRED JAPANESE

PART ONE PART TWO PART THREE PART FOUR

Rising Sun presents an America that has been nearly conquered by a shadow army, able to surveil whoever they wish, abetted by the press, the police, and the government. The idea, repeated over and over in the book, and even a few times in the less reactionary movie adaptation, is that the Japanese look at business as war, and will employ all means necessary for their victory. Rising Sun presents the idea of a malicious force without; I offer a remedy to its paranoia by pointing to a story whose web grows larger and larger, encompassing events of the past two decades, and involving many of the same sinister elements of Rising Sun – surveillance, phone tapping, criminals, extortion, collusion of the press and members of the police – all used for the purposes of business as war, and yet a sprawling web which was entirely of American manufacture, one rooted in the same city of the novel, Los Angeles. I start with a single name, and follow that strand wherever it leads, and that single name is: Anthony Pellicano.

Philip Kaufman's Rising Sun Michael Crichton's Rising Sun

Philip Kaufman's Rising Sun Michael Crichton's Rising Sun

Philip Kaufman's Rising Sun Michael Crichton's Rising Sun

Philip Kaufman's Rising Sun Michael Crichton's Rising Sun

Philip Kaufman's Rising Sun Michael Crichton's Rising Sun

Philip Kaufman's Rising Sun Michael Crichton's Rising Sun

DEAD SHOWMAN

The story would begin with him born in 1944, in Cicero, Illinois, the hometown of Al Capone1. It would end with him still in jail after a decade. Everything in between mingles with speculation and deception. He would drop out of high school, get his GED later, when he was in the Army Signals Corps and where we reach the first ambiguity – that he was trained as a cryptographer, qualified in one profile with “according to his claims”2. He would end up in Hollywood, a place of images, invention, and self-invention; in Chicago, he was already a man who enjoyed image making and self-invention, and I am often unsure what is the actual and what is the wanted to be. “When I got out,” he would say, “the majority of people who were doing crypto work were in cosmetics or toy manufacturing…. It wasn’t all that thrilling to me.”3 He worked as a collections agent tracking down deadbeats for the Spiegel Catalog, the mail order women’s wear company. He would one day open the yellow pages, and notice how many detective agencies there were. “So I called the biggest ad in there and I said, ‘Listen, I’m the best skip tracer there is, I wanna do all your work, give me your hardest case,'” Pellicano would recall. “They had been looking for this (missing) little girl for six weeks and I found her in two days. How? With intelligence, logic, common sense, a tremendous amount of imagination and an acute perception.” No, he was more modest than that: “Actually, I just worked my ass off, that’s all,” he would say with a smile, and at twenty five he started his own agency4. His office was silver walled, with a massive gold zodiac, samurai swords, black furniture, a pet piranha and a waiting room covered in full length mirrors5. He drove two Lincoln Contintentals, and sometimes used the name Tony Fortune6. He was a man of a thousand voices, able to pose as stupid or hysterical with ease – though again, I am unsure if this is solely his claim, or there’s some basis for this7.

He was of Sicilian background, putting back the terminal o on his last name that his grandfather had americanized by slicing it off, and there is the constant question in his life of whether he was connected, how connected he was, and whether these connections were a burden or a work of self-aggrandizement. When a witness who was supposed to testify against mafioso Joseph “Joey the Clown” Lombardo in an embezzlement case was killed, Lombardo would say he was nowhere near where the killing took place, an alibi helpfully backed up by Pellicano8. “Guys who fuck with me get to meet my buddy over there,” Pellicano would say, gesturing towards an aluminum baseball bat. He was supposedly an expert with a knife – “I can shred your face” – and a black belt in karate, though his body was an awesome power he was fearful to use. “If I use martial arts, I might really main somebody,” he has said. “I have, and I don’t want to. I only use intimidation and fear when I absolutely have to.”9 That time when he was knifed in a bar in Mexico, was one of those times: “I went into my kung fu stance and beat the hell out of him”. He avoided guns, however: “A gun is a physical solution to a mental problem”10.

There was some dissent to all this. In “The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick, a profile that dismisses the idea of a close association between Pellicano and Lombardo, there is the quote from former Secret Service agent Joe Paolella: “Pellicano never promoted being connected in Chicago the way he did in L.A.-a place where he could portray himself as some kind of mob guy to an upper-middle-class Hollywood clientele that didn’t know any better, if you’re a real crook in Chicago, you don’t want anybody to know about it.”11 There was no record of Pellicano being arrested or convicted for any crime before he was finally arrested in 2002, nor is there any public or police complaint of his using a baseball bat in an assault. At the time, he couldn’t legally carry a gun because he’d never been employed by a law enforcement agency12. He may well have a black belt, but no profile mentions what dojo he received it at, and I am often confused whether he is an expert in karate, where he is a black belt, or the separate discipline of kung fu, of which he is the supposed master of the praying mantis style13. Whether his body has any trace of the knife wound he received in the showdown in Mexico also gets no mention in any later profiles.

He would soon become a very visible detective, appearing on Chicago TV talking about missing persons, going to Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University where he spoke as “one of the top debugging experts in the United States”, as well as giving lectures at Marquette University Law School, the Maywood Rotary Club, and the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators14. When the House Assassinations Committee looked into audio evidence that there had been a fourth gunshot in the Kennedy assassination, Pellicano would explain that he had performed a complicated mathematical analysis refuting the evidence; the Committee “knows of my findings and somebody is supposed to contact me”, he would declare15. Key to his practice was the Psychological Stress Evaluator, a lie detector that was a controversial rival to the standard polygraph test16. The Illinois Polygraph Society would ultimately bar Pellicano from administering the device, as he lacked the detection-of-deception license the administrator of such a device was supposed to have17. Six years after starting his own agency, his resumé would state that he had a “perfect score” in locating over three thousand missing persons18. This extraordinary success made it all the more surprising when his agency went bankrupt. He would claim he owned over three hundred thousand dollars in electronic equipment, but his bankruptcy listed only fifty dollars in assets19. When he filed Chapter 11, it was discovered that he’d gotten a loan of $30 000 from Paul de Lucia Jr., the son of Paul de Lucia, also known as Felice DeLucia, also known as Paul “The Waiter” Ricca, who had briefly led the Chicago Mob in the 1940s20. Pellicano would deny any connections to the mob, and would deny that de Lucia Jr. had them either21. Pellicano was then serving on the Illinois Law Enforcement Commission, responsible for awarding federal crime funds, and the governor said that he would never have been appointed if they had known about the loan. Pellicano would resign22. Despite these setbacks, Pellicano’s career had barely begun. He would soon achieve a success and prominence that would eclipse just about every private detective in the United States.

On June 25th, 1977, the grave of Mike Todd, Oscar winning producer and third husband of Elizabeth Taylor, had been opened and its casket emptied. Todd had died nineteen years earlier in a plane crash that had reduced his body to ash23. The thieves had moved a three hundred to four hundred pound granite tombstone, dug till they reached the coffin, pried open the lid, then smashed a glass case containing a small bag which held the dust that was Todd’s remains. The bag was now missing. The tombstone was so heavy that the police believed there had to be at least two thieves24. The police searched the entirety of the cemetery and found nothing. Three days later, Pellicano called Bill Kurtis, then Chicago’s WBBM news anchor, with a message: “I got a tip.”25 Pellicano, Kurtis, and a cameraman traveled to the cemetery where the detective then counted off paces from the grave to where his informant had told him the bag had been left under branches and dirt, and there it was. Pellicano believed that the thieves had been looking for a ten carat ring given to Todd, from Taylor. Asked how he got the information, Pellicano would answer, “The information was volunteered to me. I’m a public figure, and I’ve handled many, many missing figures.”26 A 1983 government sentencing report would later allege that a mobster-turned-informant, Salvatore Romano, had told authorities that two other gangsters, Peter Basile and Glen DeVos, were the ones who had committed the act. Another informant, Frank Cullotta, would confirm this story27. Whoever was behind it, there was always a sinister possibility: that Pellicano had somehow orchestrated it all for publicity purposes28.

In 1994, Joseph Byrnes, at the time of the heist a police lieutenant in Forest Park (where the cemetery was located) would tell Los Angeles magazine: “Seven patrolmen and I, walking shoulder to shoulder, searched every inch of that small cemetery, and we found nothing,” he said. “The very next day, Pellicano makes a big deal of finding the remains in a spot we had thoroughly checked.”29 Kurtis was already leery of Pellicano on the day of the discovery, and he would later say “The police had to have gone over that ground”, though he also didn’t think Pellicano had stolen the remains just to find them. “Whoever took [the remains] must have returned them. They were getting too hot to hang on to.”30 In 1983, when the attorneys took the testimony from Romano there was this additional detail: after the robbery, a top boss in the outfit told Peter Basile to draw up a map “identifying the location of the unearthed body, and he gave it to an organized crime leader.”31 Whatever his involvement, the case brought Pellicano greater renown than he’d ever known before. It also gave his enemies and rivals a new nickname by which they would refer to the detective: the grave robber32.

Thanks to the prominence of the case, celebrated attorney Howard Weitzman would bring the detective in to help in the defense of John DeLorean, the carmaker who was being charged with drug trafficking in a desperate bid to get money for his company. Pellicano was responsible for digging up information to damage government witnesses33. During the trial, Pellicano would be accused of making a threatening phone call to the father of a DEA agent involved in the case34. DeLorean would eventually be acquitted and Weitzman would credit Pellicano’s work as being “in large part responsible for my ability to win that case.” Through Weitzman and the efforts of a grateful Elizabeth Taylor, Pellicano gained access to the rich and famous. He left Chicago and moved to Los Angeles.35.

MY DEATH’S IN TURNAROUND

He would help out Kevin Costner, Roseanne Barr, James Woods, and, in one notable case, the late Don Simpson36. Though now perhaps forgotten, Simpson was one of the most successful movie producers of the 1980s, working alongside his partner Jerry Bruckheimer to make Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop, Flashdance, and Days of Thunder; his partner would go on to make The Rock, Con Air, and the Transformers films37. Monica Harmon would work for twenty months as Simpson’s secretary during the production of Top Gun and the pre-production of Beverly Hill Cop II, after which she would sue the partners for five million dollars over emotional distress. She claimed that Simpson yelled at her when she put regular milk in his coffee instead of low-fat milk. She alleged that she was forced to watch him commit illegal acts, like take cocaine. That he had her schedule his appointments with prostitutes. He yelled at her when she put his mother on a list of calls to return when he had no interest in talking to her. She was forced to watch pornography and read pornographic material. He was constantly verbally abusive: “You fucked up again, you dumb bitch.”38

As a witness, however, Harmon already had a few problems. She claimed to have been the executive secretary at her ex-husband’s firm, when she was actually a grocery checkout clerk at the time. She mis-spelled calculator on her job application39. Simpson’s lawyer would be Bert Fields, considered one of the best and toughest lawyers in Los Angeles. Harmon would be represented by a firm based out of Koreatown40. Harmon’s case soon became weaker and weaker. The pornography she was forced to watch was played in another room, and she wouldn’t see it unless she turned around to watch it. When Simpson left his office, she snuck in and watched a few minutes of one such movie. The pornographic material she was forced to read were letters from an aspiring actress that were part of the mail she had to read as part of her work. She had claimed to have never heard the word cunt or known what a donkey show was, but she soon admitted to having tried cocaine and rented pornos on her own time41.

This was before Fields brought in Pellicano, a man he’d often use in the future. The detective was able to track down a Patrick Winberg in Minnesota, a former Paramount employee, who would allege that he had delivered a half gram of cocaine to Harmon every day, and had seen her take the drug a hundred times while she worked for Simpson, and paid for the drugs with money from the production company’s petty cash42. Winberg would allege that she used a limo and messaging service for herself, then billed the production company43. He claimed that she had talked about suing the producers six months before she left her job44. He would allege that another employee, Buddy Brown, was her dealer, a charge that Brown would deny45. Pellicano would lend Winberg four thousand dollars, and give him five hundred dollars for three days of meals while he stayed in Los Angeles for his deposition46. All the details from this incident are from the story “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three” by August West, out of the extinct Spy magazine; while researching the piece, West tried to get Simpson on record, and instead got Pellicano. “Don doesn’t want a story. We don’t want you to do a story,” he warned. West would call other sources, and Pellicano would call West asking why he was contacting that individual. Everyone who had dealt with Pellicano said the same thing: “Don’t fuck with him.”47

It was believed that Pellicano helped Simpson out again at two other critical moments, once after the death of a friend, and once more after the death of Simpson himself. You could find Simpson’s movies terrible, you could find Simpson repellent, and still find him fascinating. He was a passionate reader who made mindless films48. He was born into a strict religious family in Alaska, where he was told that he would be struck down by god for any feelings he might have towards girls, and that if he acted on such feelings, he would live in hell forever49. In Hollywood, he was a heavy coke user, a regular customer of escorts, who, it was said, arranged orgies that were sadistic and humiliating for women50. One potential bed partner said that his preferences seemed to “revolve mainly around turning women over and fucking them in the ass.”51 One call girl, Alexandra Datig, would say of her experiences with the man, “I knew Don Simpson for approximately five years. Of which, I spent about six months around him directly. And the time I spent around him was probably the most insane, wicked, and self-destructive time of my life.”52 He and Bruckheimer had run a very hot streak in the eighties before things went cold with Days of Thunder and The Ref. Then things got better with Bad Boys and Crimson Tide, but Simpson’s drug problems got a lot worse. In addition to cocaine, he used a network of fifteen L.A. doctors and eight pharmacies to get his stuff, and his stuff included Percodan, morphine sulfate, Dexedrine, Seconal, Xanax, Valium, lithium53. He gorged on ice cream and peanut butter and blew up fifty pounds54. He became a recluse, not showing up at studio meetings, never even visiting the set for Crimson Tide55.

It was through Stephen Ammerman that he would try to kick his habit, and one can’t help but see this doctor as a double for the producer. Ammerman was a high school football star until a knee injury put an end to that, and his drive was turned towards medicine instead56. He started out in orthopedics, then went to Los Angeles to practice emergency medicine. He was good at medicine and he was good at the side business he set up as well, a service which contracted out doctors to Los Angeles emergency rooms57. Like Simpson, he was drawn to the visceral and kinetic; a friend said of his skills, “He was very good at trauma.”58 Simpson was obsessed with a youthful ideal, getting a chin implant, face lifts, and placenta injections59. Ammerman got liposuction and a hair transplant. Since college, the doctor had had a problem with prescription drugs like amphetamines and Xanax. The two men would meet in a Santa Monica gym60.

Ammerman had gone into rehab twice, and had managed to stay clean for five years61. He was trying to get Simpson to kick his own habit by prescribing drugs which would help him deal with the symptoms of withdrawal from the other drugs, a strategy considered “dangerously unorthodox” by one expert62. Something, somewhere went very wrong instead: Ammerman’s own habit got worse. It was known he was using Xanax again, even though this was a violation of his rehab program. He was arrested after he crawled naked onto the ledge of his apartment building. He had jumped onto the balcony of his neighbours, yelling, pounding on their walls and screen door63. This story of Ammerman’s relapse, however, is only one version, the one told in the Los Angeles Times story, “Fatal Attraction” by Chuck Philips and Carla Hall; there is a very different one, told in an Associated Press piece, “The doctor, the movie producer, and the big sleep” by Michael Fleeman. In that version, Ammerman never kicks his habit, though he tries to help Simpson kick his. At the gym where Simpson and Ammerman meet, the doctor writes prescriptions for amino acid supplements to any gym rat who asks64. Ammerman later gets his prescription drugs from two psychopharmacologists, Robert Gerner and Nomi Frederick. Gerner had been accused of both fondling a female patient and writing prescriptions for seven thousand pills for one patient over two years65. Both Gerner and Frederick would end up writing prescriptions for Simpson, with Frederick’s prescriptions made out to the pseudonym “Dan Wilson”, who resided at the Simpson address66. Both versions of the Ammerman story end with him at the estate of Don Simpson, where he’d gone to recover from his hair transplant, and where he was discovered on August 15, 1995, dead, in the shower of the pool house67.

The autopsy found the cause of death to be multiple drug intoxication, with cocaine, morphine, Valium, and the antidepressant Venlafaxine in his system. Ammerman had been visiting the Simpson house almost daily in the last three weeks of his life68. Here is where Pellicano may have come in: the coroner’s report included the belief that the house had been sanitized before the police arrived. A syringe and a vial of valium had been found near the body, but though morphine was found in his system, no morphine was found in the house. The detective was there after police arrived. “I didn’t sanitize anything. The police and the paramedics got there before I got there,” insisted Pellicano69. “Ammerman was never Don’s doctor,” he said. “There was no medical treatment going on for drugs or for anything else…Ammerman was a hanger-on, one of many who just wouldn’t leave Don alone.” Records showed that Ammerman had prescribed both dextroamphetamine and morphine for Simpson. There would be contradictions about the events leading up to the death and when the body was discovered. Was there an argument beforehand? Ammerman’s girlfriend, who was at the estate before abruptly leaving in the middle of the night, said there was, without giving mention of who was arguing about what. Simpson’s police statement made no mention of an argument70. Simpson told the writer and director James Toback that he discovered the body at 6 AM, five hours before 911 was called. Simpson told Vanity Fair he found the body at 9 AM71. Pellicano, again: “It’s unfortunate that this guy committed suicide, but honestly, we wish it would’ve happened at someone else’s house.”72 In the Vanity Fair piece, Simpson would say afterwards that he had no knowledge of Ammerman’s addictions, “Pellicano found out that the guy had a history of substance abuse I had no idea of that,” and that they had never done drugs together: “I’ve never done drugs with him in my life.”73

It was over for Ammerman, and it was over for Simpson-Bruckheimer as well: this death was a clear sign to Bruckheimer that his partner’s problem was only getting worse, and the partnership was dissolved on December 19th, 199574. A month later, it was over for Simpson as well, when he collapsed on his toilet in the early morning of January 19th, 1996. In the month before his death, when a doctor had charted his nervous system, he saw a body so messed up by prescription drugs – Percodan, Percocet, and Dexedrine – that it was not simply at risk of heart attack, but abrupt cessation of heartbeat. “What I read from Simpson’s chart,” he’d say, “was like a singing telegram: You are going to die!75. Police discovered over two thousand pills, alphabeticized, in the closet by the bathroom. Of the eighty bottles which contained those pills, sixty three had been prescribed by Ammerman76. Even so, they once again thought the death scene had been sanitized. Pellicano had been acting as Simpson’s spokesman. Though Simpson had a history of cocaine and PCP abuse, and the autopsy report declared that he’d died from prescription meds and cocaine, no cocaine was found anywhere in the house. Among the elements of possible prescription drugs found in his system: Unisom, Atarax, Vistaril, Librium, Valium, Compazine, Xanax, Desyrel, and Tigan77. “I wouldn’t get tangled with Hollywood for all the tea in China,” Ammerman’s father would say afterwards. “I think that’s the screwiest place in the world.”78.

THE MAGICIAN

However, the biggest case of Pellicano’s career was a few years before this, centering around a troubled man who was a great artist and the biggest star in the world. In August 1992, when Michael Jackson was accused by Jordan Chandler and his father, Evan, of child molestation, he brought in his attorney, Bert Fields, to fight it, and Fields, in turn, brought in the detective. Howard Weitzman, who had worked with Pellicano in the DeLorean case, would help in the defense as well79. I gave extensive description of the deaths of Ammerman and Simpson, as well as the accusations of Monica Harmon because they are so little known; I do not go in detail into this infamous scandal, as I thinks its vastness and complexity would overwhelm an already too long post, and I instead concentrate almost entirely on the role of Pellicano.

The detective would be at the front and center of the case, acting as an aggressive spokesman for Jackson. He would frame the case early on as an extortion attempt by Evan Chandler. The first media accounts would carry this imprint, with no reference to molestation, but a quote from Pellicano saying that police were looking into an “extortion attempt gone awry.”80 Pellicano would emphasize again and again that it was an extortion attempt. The detective would allege that the father had demanded $20 million in four movie deals worth $5 million each81. He would invite a reporter into the inner sanctum of his office to hear the evidence. The old Chicago office may or may not have had top of the line audio equipment, but this place was crammed with it. He played an audio tape of a conversation between Pellicano and the Chandlers’ lawyer, where they allegedly haggle over the details of the agreed on deal. While the reporter listened, Pellicano would grip his arm, tight: “It absolutely happened,” he’d say. “I mean, he acknowledges that on the tape.” Pellicano would explain his approach: “I had to lay out the chessboard and say: ‘What does the public think?'”82

Some thought Pellicano was a pretty terrible chess player. The taped conversation was ambiguous, with only Pellicano mentioning extortion. Pellicano would also distribute a tape of a conversation between the father and stepfather of Jordan Chandler, secretly recorded by the stepfather. It would be described by Maureen Orth in her piece, “Nightmare in Neverland”, as crudely edited and full of erasures83. Ernie Rizzo, a veteran detective from Chicago and an enemy of Pellicano’s, would declare that sections of the tape had been deleted. Pellicano and Weitzman would deny editing the tape. Rizzo had been one of those who’d given Pellicano the nickname “the grave robber”. “I’ve called him a fraud since Day 1,” Rizzo said. Pellicano called Rizzo a fruit-fly and an ambulance chaser. That year was the first time in ten years that Rizzo had had a detective license, after he lost it when he got caught wiretapping. Chandlers’ lawyer said Rizzo didn’t work for them. Rizzo would insist that he’d been hired by Evan Chandler, and it didn’t matter what the lawyer said84.

Another tactic Pellicano employed had a more serious critic than Rizzo. The detective let the press have access to two boys, Brett Barnes and Wade Robson, friends of Jackson’s, who described their experiences with him. “He kisses you like you kiss your mother,” said Barnes. “It’s not unusual for him to hug, kiss and nuzzle up to you, and stuff.” Said Robson, “Michael is a very, very kind person, really nice and sweet. Sure, I slept with him on dozens of occasions but the bed was huge.”85 The detective gave his perspective: “If it’s a 35-year-old pedophile, then it’s obvious why he’s sleeping with little boys. But if it’s Michael Jackson, it doesn’t mean anything.” Asked a prominent criminal attorney, “Do you know an adult now who is not absolutely convinced that Michael Jackson did it?” He, along with others, thought the interviews with the boys made things much worse. “Pellicano ruined it.”86 One key figure also had a very negative opinion. “That’s not good,” said Michael Jackson after hearing about it, according to one of his advisers. “That makes me look even worse, I think. It’s not good.”87

A few months later, just days before christmas, Pellicano would be asked to resign. Fields, who also had made a few mis-steps, would be asked to resign as well88. Johnnie Cochran, his defense of O.J. Simpson still a few years away, would be brought in. Jackson would settle for over twenty million. Pellicano was forthright that if it were up to him, he would never have settled with the accusers. From Dish by Jeannette Walls:

Some people close to Jackson were persuading the singer that his lawyers and Pellicano were making mistakes and talking to the press too much. “If it were in my camp, I would get rid of everyone,” said the singer’s brother Jermaine Jackson. “His representatives are just plain stupid.” By then, Jackson was said to have been spending $100,000 a week on his legal defense. Faced with these expenses and with four months of uninterrupted tabloid hysteria, Jackson switched tactics, parting company with Pellicano in December 1993. “I swear on my children [he has nine of them] this decision was not Michael Jackson’s,” said the detective. “If I wanted to, I could be working on this case today.” Pellicano also continued to maintain that Jackson was innocent. Weitzman stayed on the case but Bert Fields also quit and was replaced by Jonnie Cochran, the flamboyant attorney who would later defend O.J. Simpson. The following month, the case was settled for a reported $27 million.

Pellicano claimed he was dead set against paying any money. “There was no way that Bert Fields and I would have settled that case,” Pellicano said. “No chance, no way.” And indeed the settlement, which was publicly viewed as a tacit admission of guilt, effectively crippled Jackson’s career.

I isolate one part of that quote for emphasis:

Pellicano claimed he was dead set against paying any money. “There was no way that Bert Fields and I would have settled that case,” Pellicano said. “No chance, no way.”

I quote Pellicano from an interview given to the Times after his resignation: “In no way, shape or form does (my resignation) indicate that Michael Jackson is guilty,” Pellicano would say. “Michael Jackson is not guilty, and all the things I said in the past I reaffirm.”89

I place next to that a quote from a jailhouse interview with Pellicano conducted in 2011 by Christine Pelisek, “Hollywood Hacker Breaks His Silence”:

Later in the interview, Pellicano reveals that when he agreed to work for Jackson during the star’s 1993 child-molestation case, he warned Jackson that he’d better not be guilty. “I said, ‘You don’t have to worry about cops or lawyers. If I find out anything, I will f–k you over.’ ” The detective took the assignment, but says, “I quit because I found out some truths…He did something far worse to young boys than molest them.”

We see how the story of Anthony Pellicano, though it traverses the American entertainment industry, the most overexplored part of the news world, is full of ambiguities that remain unexamined. Here he is quitting because he found out some truths; then he was fired and would never have settled the case, ever. Though I don’t have a binary sensibility, I think we have an either-or situation here: Pellicano either lied about aspects of the case and why he left it, or he lied when he was in jail.

THE BEAST

It was during the Jackson case that we hear the first disquieting notes which would prove the end of Pellicano’s career. The celebrity and squalor of the case was chum for tabloid reporters, one of whom, Diane Dimond, was a very tenacious digger. The intimidation tactics Pellicano reportedly had used before were now used against people looking into a major crime by a public figure, rather than a questionable suit by a marginal employee. There was intimidation, but there was something else, which would recur again and again through the career of Pellicano: it felt like someone was listening.

I give lengthy excerpt again to Jeanette Walls’ fascinating Dish:

“For months, the Michael Jackson story consumed every waking moment of my life. At every turn, Anthony Pellicano kept popping up,” said Dimond. “I started hearing from friends that Anthony Pellicano had called, asking questions like where does she live? Where did she come from? Does she have any kids?” Other reporters would pass along veiled threats, she said, from Pellicano – which he denied making. “He’d say, “Tell Diane Dimond I’m watching her,” or “Tell her I hope her health is good.”” Dimond became convinced that her phone was tapped. “Paramount was pretty convinced too,” she said. “They got a security expert to come to my house…They found evidence of some weird tampering.” Dimond also believed that her phones at Hard Copy were tapped. She decided to do her own detective work and devised a plot with her husband.

One morning at 9 AM, Dimond’s husband called her at her office: “How’s that special on Anthony Pellicano coming?” he asked.

“Oh, it’s great,” Dimond replied. “We’ve got all sorts of things on him. We’re going to expose everything, including the whole story about Elizabeth Taylor’s husband’s grave.”

At 9:28 AM, Dimond got a call. “What kind of story are you doing on Anthony Pellicano?” someone from Paramount’s legal department wanted to know. Dimond said she wasn’t doing any story on the detective. “I just got a call from Weitzman’s office,” the caller told Dimond. “They were quite sure you are doing a story on Pellicano.”

“After that,” said Dimond, “I never used my desk phone.”

This, however, suggests a binary conflict of celebrities versus tabloids, with the detective on the side of the glitterati, when it was a little more nuanced than that. The various tabloids had a network of insiders, spies, and sources for their stories, and one of their best sources for anything on Jackson was Jackson himself.

Again, from Dish:

Even before the child abuse scandal broke, Jackson and his handlers were masters at manipulating the press. Actual interviews were minimal and were limited to journalists who were bona fide friends or allies. Although articles frequently appeared about Jackson’s bizarre behavior, most of them were amusing tales of Jackson’s wacky eccentricities or stories of his love for stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Diana Ross. Almost all the stories were planted by the singer or at his direct orders. When Jackson and Madonna had a “date” at the Los Angeles restaurant Ivy, paparazzi were waiting by the time they arrived. They had been tipped off by both Jackson’s people and Madonna’s. A similar scene occurred when he had a “date” with Brooke Shields – whose other publicized romances included George Michael, John Travolta, and Dodi Fayed. Some believed that Jackson’s friendship with Elizabeth Taylor was also largely for public consumption. They fed off each other’s fame: she gave him old Hollywood credibility, he gave her cutting-edge hipness. “They rarely saw each other privately,” according to writer Chris Anderson, who said the friendship was both a public relations ploy and a financial arrangement because Jackson was a big investor in Taylor’s various merchandising efforts.

“Jackson would leak stories to us all the time,” says the National Enquirer‘s Mike Walker. “Then he’d do this whole ‘the tabloids lie’ routine.” Jackson regularly planted items that he was feuding with rival singer Prince; one of favorite tabloid stories reported that Prince was using ESP to drive Jackson’s beloved chimp Bubbles crazy. “This is the final straw,” the story quoted Jackson as saying. “What kind of sicko would mess with a monkey?” Jackson personally orchestrated the publication of stories that he wanted to buy the Elephant Man’s bones and that he slept in an hyperbaric oxygen chamber because he wanted to live to be 150. Jackson wanted the hyperbaric chamber story to run on the cover of the National Enquirer – the one condition was that the writer use the word “bizarre” at least three times. “He really liked the word bizarre,” according to Charles Montgomery, the reporter who did the piece. When Jackson was told that the Polaroid that showed him sleeping in the chamber wasn’t good enough quality to run as a cover, he posed for a second photograph. “I did more articles on Jackson than I did on anyone else,” said Montgomery. “Before I ran anything, I would always check with people close to Michael to see how accurate it was. I almost always had full cooperation from his camp.”

Jackson was shocked that the mainstream press, including Time, Newsweek, the AP, and UPI, picked up the oxygen chamber story. “It’s like I can tell the press anything about me and they’ll buy it,” Jackson said. “We can actually control the press. I think this is an important breakthrough for us.”

It was not just Jackson who gave material to the Enquirer and others, but Pellicano who gave out information as well, sometimes working both sides of the fence. He would leak something to the tabloids, then let the celebrity know that the Enquirer or whoever was working on a story, after which he was paid to kill it90. This was often easy to do, because the very source who Pellicano had paid to give the story to the Enquirer was now paid again by the detective to quit leaking91. Sometimes he would trade one celeb’s secret to kill a story about another. This was all made obvious when Jim Mitteager, a reporter for the Globe and the Enquirer, died of cancer in 1997, and he gave tapes he’d made of conversations with Pellicano over to Paul Barresi, a former porn star and unlicensed private investigator who occasionally did legwork for Pellicano as well. The conversations have Mitteager, Pellicano, and a Globe reporter named Cliff Dunn, swapping what can go in the tabloids and what needs to be killed92.

One of the best pieces on Pellicano, “The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick, provides an excerpt:

During a 1994 conversation, Mitteager, Dunn, and Pellicano agree to get together the following Tuesday, and Pellicano, who was working for Michael Jackson, promises to find out for them what’s happening with the L.A. grand jury’s looking into child molestation accusations against the star. The reporters then inform Pellicano that actress Whoopi Goldberg, a friend and client of his, went to Saint John’s Hospital for a mammogram and that Dunn was tipped off by a hospital source that she had breast cancer (a rumor unconfirmed by Los Angeles). “I want that source,” Pellicano tells Dunn. “For how much?” replies Dunn. “What the fuck kind of question is that?” Pellicano shoots back. “You can’t say, ‘How much?’ to me. You have to give me a price and say, ‘This is what I want!'” Dunn answers, “I want five grand. Then you blow him out of the water [i.e., expose him as a source], and he’s used on every celebrity story [at the hospital].”

They next turn to Elizabeth Taylor.

Pellicano: Now let me ask you a question on Liz Taylor. You say that they are going after her?

Mitteager: Well, of course. She’s in the hospital. Liz Taylor sells goddamn books.

Pellicano: Because I don’t care what you do with her. As a matter of fact, if I can help you with her, I will…. What do you want to know on her?

Mitteager: Any story that would make the front page.

Pellicano: I know that she is fucking drinking again. That’s a fact.

Dunn: That’s something. If we can confirm that.

Pellicano: I just told you!

Dunn: I can’t say to [the Globe] lawyers that my source is Anthony Pellicano.

Mitteager: We need to work together to get some sort of network of people.

Pellicano: We’ll go further on that. But you guys are guaranteed the three grand on Tuesday.

Pellicano would not just pass the tabloids information, he would fight hard for them as well. When reporter Rod Lurie researched a piece on tabloids for Los Angeles magazine, he had managed to put together a list of all the sources the tabloids used. If published, it would cripple them, cutting off their access to information. Pellicano was reportedly paid half a million dollars to kill the story93. “There was consistent cultlike phone intimidation from Pellicano,” said Lurie. “He would call my friends and family and editors I worked for at other magazines saying I was through in this town.” Lurie alleged that the detective would tail him, call up Lurie’s sources and smear him. Pellicano got access to his credit record, found out his unlisted number and called him. He allegedly threatened to sue Lurie and paid the reporter’s research assistant to steal his notes94. Lurie would describe him this way: “For those who don’t know better, he’s an intimidating character. He’s a classic movie goon.” After the story was printed in the magazine (unfortunately, I have been unable to find a copy online), Lurie went biking and broke a few bones; he was knocked down in what seemed like a hit and run accident. The reporter, however, was certain it was no accident95.

The methods of the tabloids of that era to get their stories were ruthless, nasty, often illegal, and very effective, very similar to the methods of a spy or a certain private detective. Stuart Goldman would gain some insight into these techniques when he went undercover as a reporter for The National Enquirer, The Globe, The Star and Hard Copy (a now extinct tabloid TV program that boasted such news features as “Celebrity Stalker”, “Drano Killer”, “Bodybuilding Sex Slave”, and “Hot Cream Wrestling”), for a story for the now extinct Spy Magazine, “Spy vs Spies” 96. There were the legal and borderline legal means of getting what they wanted. The tabloids, he found out, have sources everywhere: bodyguards, hairdressers, bartenders, hospitals, courthouses, the DMV97. Then there were the illegal means. He watched as one reporter stole mail out of mailboxes. Another source hacked someone’s answering machine so they could listen to the messages. He saw another tap into a TransUnion database to get credit information. He was told that one reporter paid bribes at the social security office in order to get celebrity social security numbers. They employed methods of extortion, a more forceful variation of the Mitteager tape, where a celeb was forced to give up info on another celeb in return for the paper killing a hurtful story on them98. When the tabloids couldn’t get a story, they would create one. Goldman looked on as a reporter would call up Child Protective Services, posing as the mother of a girl who was going to the same school as the daughter of Roseanne Barr (then the star of the top rated sitcom), and accuse Barr of abusing her child. CPS would investigate the charges of abuse, and the tabloid would have a story99.

Pellicano employed many of the same legal and quasi-legal methods, and he would be intertwined in both sides of these tabloid stories. He would locate a child Roseanne Barr had given up for adoption, and then would be cussed out by Barr after she suspected he gave details on the child and the reunion to the tabloids100. The tabloid press used extortion to get what it wanted, and Pellicano used extortion to get what he wanted as well: if a troublesome ex-wife of a celeb asked for alimony, he would dig up enough embarrassing dirt to force her to settle her claim101. A Hollywood madam of the time, Heid Fleiss, who provided prostitutes to Don Simpson as well as other celebrities and studio executives, would accuse the tabloids of paying prostitutes to defame her102. Pellicano would show up to help out Columbia Pictures executive Michael Nathanson get out of the Fleiss scandal, and he then made the kind of error that suggested he was not quite the detective mastermind he thought he was: Pellicano made a public statement denying that Nathanson had ever used Fleiss’s girls, even though no one had yet reported such a thing. A Variety columnist, with no double entendre intended, gave it his “PR Boner Award”103. Later, on an audio tape of Pellicano in conversation that was played at his court case, the detective would say of Nathanson, now at MGM, “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.” He continued: “Let me tell you, Michael fucking owes me.”104

THE STRONG MAN

The stakes would be higher in a later intersection of the tabloids and Pellicano, one which astonishes me at how little it was reported. Paul Barresi, the former porn star and Pellicano associate who would release transcripts of phone call conversations between the detective and Globe reporters, was brought in to help in a thorough investigation of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s past. This inquiry was not being conducted by the star’s enemies, but initiated by the star himself, to see what would could be dredged up were he to run in the 2002 California governor’s race105. Barresi would turn in a twenty seven page report, of which Barresi gave out no details, except to say that it covered the personal, professional, and business lives of Schwarzenegger106. The investigation was begun after an incredibly damaging article, “Arnold the Barbarian” by John Connolly was published in Premiere magazine, alleging, among other things, that the star had sexually harassed and groped women on numerous occasions107. Barresi, a former porn star, was like Pellicano, working both sides of the tabloid fence. The Enquirer had once published a story where he’d claimed to have been John Travolta’s lover for two years. He later retracted his claims108. He went on to become a fitness trainer, then a private investigator; the investigative work he was probably best known was for the quelling of the tabloid story about Eddie Murphy picking up Atisone Kenneth Seiuli, a transsexual prostitute109. According to Barresi, he reached out to Marty Singer, Murphy’s lawyer, to help out, then located various transsexual prostitutes, including Seiuli, and paid them off to recant their stories. When Barresi felt Singer didn’t give him the proper respect, he told his story to Mark Ebner, providing proofs such as copies of paychecks from Singer’s firm to Barresi and memos from Barresi to Singer detailing his investigation110. This might suggest that Barresi would be in permanent exile from Hollywood, when he wasn’t – in 2012, he was the driver for Ron Tutor, the new head of Miramax. This position is actually understandable, since if you’re the new head of a studio, you’d want someone with intimate access to all the secrets of the town111.

Paul Barresi in a dialogue scene from the adult movie Too Naughty To Say No.

That Schwarzenegger would run into greater scrutiny when he ran for public office was anticipated in a scathing Spy story, “Arnie’s Army”, by Charles Fleming: “if Arnold does indeed go into electoral politics, his relationship with the press will change from The Silence of the Lambs to Dances With Wolves.” (I’m guessing these references were a little less musty in 1992)112 But it didn’t. Part of this was due to the short time frame of the California election period (one which was short because it was prompted by a recall petition of the sitting governor, Gray Davis), but it also had to do with another detail in this old piece. He may make stupid movies, but Schwarzenegger is very smart, and he had been excellent at controlling the press as a movie star, and both despite these recent disruptions as well as in reaction to them, he demonstrated his cunning and control of the press once again113. Schwarzenegger would go on to run in the 2002 recall election anyway, anticipating the tabloid attacks, and employing the pre-emptive strategy that I think has been too little reported on. I first came across it in the Los Angeles magazine piece, “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, which carries the subhead, “Exclusive! The hush-hush deal that made Arnold Schwarzenegger governor”. After the Premiere story, the Enquirer published two pieces on Schwarzenegger’s infidelities, one involving a seven year affair114. The tabloids were a major problem for Schwarzenegger in two ways: they could hit you with scandal every week (2002 is still before the prevalence of the internet, where gossip blogs could hit you every hour, every minute, every second) and that the tabloids were a toxin lab where such stories could be reported, sourced through the dubious legal and illegal means already mentioned, and then re-reported by the non-tabloid press115.

Almost all the name tabloids in 2002 – the Enquirer, The Globe, The Star – were owned by American Media, Inc., or AMI, and in 2002, AMI was in a lot of trouble. They’d just had anthrax sent to their offices in Florida, killing an employee and turning the whole place toxic. This forced them to sell their new multimillion dollar glass and steel Boca Raton headquarters for forty grand. On top of that, the tabloid press had become a cannibal’s feast, with glossies like People and Us Weekly, along with bottom feeder websites like The Drudge Report and TV shows like Access Hollywood, killing the business. In the past decade, the name tabloids had lost half their newsstand sales116. AMI would try to perform triage by buying up Weider Publications, a publisher that specialized in health and bodybuilding magazines, putting out titles like Muscle & Fitness, Flex, Shape, and Men’s Fitness. They managed to keep up ad revenue through the supplement business, which paid for over seventy percent of the ads in the magazines of Weider Publications. The owners of Weider Publications may have been worried about increasing scrutiny by the FDA into such supplements, the effects it would have on advertising, and that may be why they were trying to sell the publications in 2002. Weider Publications were owned by Joe and Ben Weider, who were heavily involved in the bodybuilding world, as well as the promotion of the career of an Austrian bodybuilder who would go on to be an incredibly profitable film star, one of the most famous men in the world, and the governor of California. Schwarzenegger was in turn heavily involved with Weider Publications, his name bylining a ghostwritten bodybuilding advice column, as well as being heavily involved in promotion of its magazines at various events. He was arguably crucial to the continued success of the magazines of Weider Publications, and with the buying of the publisher by AMI, the parent company of the tabloids, we might have the answer for why their scandal coverage of the candidate suddenly ceased during the recall race117.

In November 2002, AMI would buy Weider Publications for over three hundred million dollars118. The next month, Joe Weider would have dinner with David Pecker, the head of AMI. Weider would recommend that Schwarzenegger become part of AMI, perhaps be given a ten percent stake in exchange for his publicity work. However, Weider was worried about all the scandal stuff in the AMI press. Pecker would allay the man’s fears, assuring him that they didn’t rehash old news119. During the recall election, the New York Daily News would get an even stronger quote from Weider about what Pecker said to him: “We’re not going to pull up any dirt on him.”120 Weider would slightly alter what Pecker had told him: “I want you to know that we’re not going to bring up or print the old stuff. Only new.”121

Whatever the assurance, the effect was the same. The AMI tabloids stopped airing Schwarzenegger stories. Four sources in AMI would claim that this was the result of orders from the top. “When Weider was being bought,” said one of the sources, “the edict came down: No more Arnold stories.”122 In July 2003, Pecker would meet with Schwarzenegger to ask him to stay on the board and play a bigger role with the Weider magazines, specifically Muscle & Fitness and Flex123. Three weeks after this meeting, Schwarzenegger would announce his candidacy on The Tonight Show124. The AMI tabloids not only stopped reporting on the scandals, the infamously cynical press started rah-rahing his campaign.

“Pecker ordered [National Enquirer editor] David Perel to commission a series of brownnosing stories on Arnold” for the campaign, said one ex-staffer. Perel would deny the charge125. “Vote Schwarzenegger!” was a full page story that ran in August in The Star. Follow-up stores in The Star were “Arnold and Maria’s Family Life” and “Arnold: A New American Patriot”, where the future governor was compared to George Washington. AMI would also put out a glossy special edition called Arnold, The American Dream126. The now extinct Weekly World News, which specialized in ridiculous stories involving martians and the undead, gave out an endorsement in distinctly Weekly World News style, a story headlined “Alien Backs Arnold for Governor.”127

The major tabloid story of the election was not broken in a tabloid, but the Los Angeles Times, with a collection of sixteen women testifying that Schwarzenegger had groped or otherwise harassed them128. Another story, dealing with the illegitimate son of the candidate, was published in the Enquirer two days before the election, but was mostly a re-print of a story that had already been broken in the Daily Mail129. Sources say that the story was brought to the Enquirer in May, but was emphatically turned down by Pecker, who said, according to the source: “We’re not doing the story. In fact, we’re not doing any more Schwarzenegger stories.”130

Two weeks after the election, Pecker would join Schwarzenegger at a press conference during his Arnold Classic bodybuilding competition. They announced that the new governor would serve as executive editor of Muscle & Fitness and Flex, to be paid $1.25 million over five years, which would go to the Governor’s Counsel on Physical Fitness, plus a quarter million dollars per year from AMI. The publishing company would also buy a fifty percent stake in Mr. Olympia, the bodybuilding competition owned by the Weiders131. Since Schwarzenegger’s electoral victory, the tabloids had continued to run positive stories, such as “Make Arnie President” (subtitled, “All We Have to Do Is Change One Stupid Law”), “Wisdom of Arnie”, “Maria & Arnie: White House Bound?”, “The Governator”, “American Dream: Arnold & Maria’s New Life”, and “Arnie’s Accent Will Soon Be All the Rage”132.

A year after the “Carnivorous Beast” story broke, the Los Angeles Times, would publish the details of Schwarzenegger’s contract with AMI. He would receive an annual sum that was either 1% of the magazines’ annual advertising revenue, or a million dollars a year. Most of this revenue, as already said, came from supplement advertising; a year before the story broke, the governor had just vetoed legislation regulating the supplement industry. Larry Noble, of the Center for Responsive Politics, would say “This is one of the most egregious apparent conflicts of interest that I have seen.”133. A second story from the Times would reveal that AMI had cut a deal with the woman who’d alleged a seven year affair with Schwarzenegger, Gigi Goyette, as well as her friend, Judy Mora134. It was either a very strange deal, or one that made great sense given the context. Two days after Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy, AMI paid Goyette twenty thousand dollars and Mora one thousand dollars forbidding either woman from speaking about Goyette’s dealings with the governor to anyone else. Despite the exclusive contract, no AMI tabloid would ever publish a Goyette related story. This despite the fact that there was a surge of interest in Goyette and her story when Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy, with reporters at her house, school, and local coffee shop. The contracts are in perpetuity, forbidding the women from ever sharing their story. “AMI systematically bought the silence,” said an AMI employee. The governor “was a de facto employee and he was important to their bottom line.” Goyette thought that the contract was the beginning of a book deal; instead, there was nothing135.

What looks very much like a deal to insure the silence of the tabloids, and to actively use them to quiet someone, Gigi Goyette, to other sources, was a story that made little or no circulation. It got no mention in later profiles of the Enquirer during the avalanche of publicity the paper received when it broke the scandal of John Edwards, whether it be the pathetically fawning “All The Dirt That’s Fit To Print” by Alex Pappademas in GQ, or the more critical “Going Respectable?” by Paul Farhi, in American Journalism Review. You could, however, fit it with the past actions of AMI head David Pecker. Before AMI, he had been the chief financial officer of Hachette, a company that produced such things as Elle magazine and Exocet missiles. After they bought up a bunch of U.S. titles, like Women’s Wear Daily, Car and Driver, and Premiere, the management team of those titles left, and Pecker got to take over136. His focus, however, remained entirely on the dollars and cents of an operation, with all other things exploited and crippled to that end. He hacked the staff of Premiere from 80 to 38, and Mirabella‘s from 80 to 20. “Pecker is a financial guy,” said one source who worked for him. “He doesn’t understand publishing…He never worked on a magazine…He interferes with editorial integrity.”137

When Corie Brown at Premiere magazine was putting together a story on tensions over the management of Planet Hollywood (the father of Sylvester Stallone, Anthony Filiti, would eventually sue both Stallone and Robert Earl, an executive and key developer of the Planet Hollywood chain), it conflicted with the interests of Ron Perelman, the CEO of Revlon, a co-investor in Premiere, and most pertinently, someone who wanted to work with Planet Hollywood to set up a chain restaurant built around the theme of Marvel superheroes. Pecker killed the story138. “The last time I looked I am CEO of the company,” was a Pecker statement that reflected what took place: le journal, c’est moi. The two top editors at Premiere, Chris Connelly and Nancy Griffin, would resign in protest immediately afterwards139. Later, The National Enquirer would have solid evidence that Tiger Woods was having an affair, then allegedly kill the story in return for his appearing on the cover of AMI’s Men’s Fitness – even though Woods had an exclusive contract to do covers for only Condé Nast magazines. Pecker knew about the Woods affair, but “traded silence for a Men’s Fitness cover”, alleged the magazine’s former editor-in-chief. Pecker denied the charge140. When AMI’s Florida headquarters was hit with anthrax, there were strong rumors that the state’s governor, Jeb Bush, had had an affair. There were excellent leads and a reporter eager to look into the story, but there was a problem: after the attack, AMI was pleading with the state for some kind of relief. The reporter says that he was told emphatically by his editor, “We’re not writing about Jeb.” As long as AMI was based in Florida, staffers believed, Jeb Bush was off-limits141.

In the aftermath, all these deals and all these alleged cover-ups involving Schwarzenegger seemed like a pointless failure. He would end his governorship as someone looked on as weak and a turncoat by fellow Republicans, with no one still putting forth the idea that the constitution be changed so he might run for president. When Premiere had published “Arnold the Barbarian”, it had resulted in an angry backlash and the editor being fired142. After the Los Angeles Times put out its story alleging sexual harassment, “Women Say Schwarzenegger Groped, Humiliated Them”, there were thousands of cancelled subscriptions143. When there was the ignominious revelation upon his exit of the governorship that Schwarzenegger had fathered a child with his family’s housekeeper (this child was a different one from the paternity scandal reported by the Daily Mail in the recall election), it triggered no such reaction144. The man who’d been a heroic ideal, an embodiment of strength and power, was no longer anything of the kind, and people invested no hope in him, and felt no besmirchment if these accusations were true. The FDA would outlaw a good chunk of supplements. AMI would declare bankruptcy, and then two years later, would be back on the edge of default. After ending his contract with AMI following the hostile coverage during his governorship, Schwarzenegger would renew the contract in March, 2013. Though mention was made of the past conflict of interest over supplements, none was made about the abrupt end in negative Schwarzenegger tabloid stories during the recall election145. “Is a Revolt Brewing at AMI?” [archive link] asked a piece in Gawker following the bankruptcy, as massive staff cuts took place while top executives got bonuses. “Everybody believes the company would be better off without David Pecker,” said one source146. “His mismanagement, dishonesty and incompetence drove the company into bankruptcy.” A follow-up piece, “AMI Executives Agree: Everything’s Fine at AMI” [archive link] would include emails from top executives denying these assertions. “David Pecker is a great CEO and leader. Check your sources!” said one such email. Among the emails from supportive execs was one missive from an anonymous employee: “AMI is just a bad, poorly run company and has been for several years now.”147 When AMI first got its new CEO, a prescient observer would say, “Pecker is a big thinker”, then: “and he has got big plans for that place.”148

THE GANGSTER SAMURAI

Pellicano might have been involved in the first self-investigation by Schwarzenegger, but when these stories broke on the compacts made between Schwarzenegger and the parent company of the National Enquirer, he had already served several years in jail. Before that took place, however, the nineties were a very good decade for him. His Los Angeles office was a variation on his Chicago one, with walls of whorehouse red velvet and black leather furniture. “Anthony,” according to his fourth and sixth wife, Kat Pellicano, was “the only man I ever met that could make a silk shirt look like polyester.” In his Chicago headquarters, he sometimes wore a labcoat with his agency’s symbol, an eye surrounded by concentric circles. His place in Los Angeles had oak finished doors with “Pellicano Investigative Agency Ltd./Forensic Audio Lab/Syllogistic Research Group” in gold lettering. Cappuccinos were offered in the waiting room and there was the intermezzo from “Cavallieri Rusticana” that played on the phone while you waited. His assistants were often female, young, and beautiful149. The detective firm’s executive vice president, Tarita Virtue, appeared in Maxim dressed in lingerie. Pellicano thought about putting together a “Girls of Pellicano” spread for Playboy, featuring his employees150.

He presented a hypervivid image of a detective agency to a town that produced and consumed such hypervivid images. The images overwhelmed the dysfunction underneath. He received two million dollars for his work on the Michael Jackson case, of which he reported only one million to the IRS as income, the other half labeled as a loan. The day he received a letter from the IRS afterwards was a dramatic one, as related by an ex-employee: “I remember one morning when he opened his mail with the letter from the I.R.S., he jumped on his desk and started screaming, ‘Abandon ship! Abandon ship! We’re out of business!’ Women were crying and screaming in the office.” Pellicano would be constantly yelling and screaming. One long time employee would constantly ask new hires, “Are you on Prozac yet?” It seemed like everyone in the office was on anti-anxiety or anti-depression medicine151. Despite this, it was a successful business, and though Pellicano could be very talky, much of the business with his Hollywood clientele would remain secret. There were so many interesting stories that never hit the news, and his job to make sure they never made the news, said Kat Pellicano152. “You know an awful lot about this business,” laughs Pellicano during one of his taped calls with John McTiernan, the director of Die Hard and Predator, and the knowledge, it is implied, has nothing to do with film stock or lenses, but the undertow of financial and sexual dirt. Pellicano knew quite a lot about the business as well. “Boy, could we cause some chaos,” the detective would continue, “Do you realize that? I think…we could cause chaos like you have no idea.”153 And boy oh boy, would Pellicano end up causing chaos.

“I read about him in Vanity Fair. Guy seemed like a real nut job,” said the head of one detective agency. “I never took the guy seriously. The way he bragged openly about wiretaps and baseball bats, I mean, I just thought it wasn’t real,” said San Francisco private investigator Jack Palladino154. That he was a man of illusion, or more bluntly, a bullshit artist, only made his act more coveted. Movies, for the simple reason of the limited running time, gravitate towards an economy of narrative where every word and every gesture conveys something specific of the character. In simple, often bad, movie writing what is conveyed is one principle, in every word and gesture. This person is a killer for hire. This person is a spy. This person is a detective. This person is a mobster. In this way, Pellicano’s image resembles bad movie writing, where words and gestures make clear in the most thuddingly obvious manner that he is a private eye, that he is a gangster. “I didn’t understand,” said Palladino, “that his Hollywood clientele lived in that same film noir world and accepted it as real.” The only place where Pellicano’s illusions might have worked was in the rarefied air of the Hollywood elite. “I mean, this is not how anyone else in this business does business. It’s the way it is in the movies,” said Palladino. The movie elite, “they don’t know much about the real world. They don’t know much about boundaries or rules. They’re rich and spoiled and out of touch. And this was a guy who reflected their reality, which was the reality in films.”155 Pellicano was a man of colorful illusions and his downfall was due to another man of equally captivating illusions.

Just as almost everything about Pellicano was open to question, a mix of what was possible and what was a put-on, so every fact about Steven Seagal’s life was a mystery or ridiculous joke. He spoke like an Italian-American born and bred out of New York City, but he was half Irish and half Jewish, born in Detroit, Michigan before moving to California when he was five156. His last name was pronounced the same way the last names of Bugsy Siegel, Beanie Siegel, or George Segal were pronounced, but after he saw a Marc Chagall exhibit, he started saying “Seagal” in a way no one else ever had or ever will, and managed to get everyone to go along with it157. He supposedly was a CIA associate, doing very important top secret work, which the CIA didn’t deny, but anybody could say the same thing and the agency wouldn’t deny it either – the agency prizes such secrecy and never issues such denials158. Perhaps the best example of this mythmaking that I have yet come across is from the very beginning of his career, before the release of his first movie, Above The Law, the piece “Steven Seagal Gets a Shot at Stardom” by Patrick Goldstein. Seagal speaks of his time in Japan, and how he was recruited by the CIA while teaching aikido:

“In Asia, you’d be amazed how many people are connected with the agency,” Seagal explained one night on the film set in Chicago, where he was fighting off a migraine headache. “A lot of the American military has been over there since the occupation and they’ve become very connected to the intelligence community.

“These guys were my students. They saw my abilities, both with martial arts and with the language. My CIA godfather told me he’d never heard any American speak Japanese so well. I would say I was a prime candidate to be recruited.”

Did Seagal actually work for the CIA? He offered a qualified admission–or perhaps a qualified denial.

“You can say that I lived in Asia for a long time and in Japan I became close to several CIA agents,” he said, choosing his words carefully. “And you could say that I became an adviser to several CIA agents in the field and, through my friends in the CIA, met many powerful people and did special works and special favors.”

Seagal declined to offer many details, refusing to cite specific missions or locales. However, when asked about the authenticity of a scene in “Above the Law” that shows an intelligence operative injecting a rival with a deadly chemical truth serum, Seagal said: “That’s not made up. That’s something that really happened.”

However, Seagal spoke freely about his involvement in security operations for the Shah of Iran when he was deposed in 1979: “We helped set up safe houses in London and Paris so the Shah and his family could flee the country. We also were aiding members of the Shah’s family, who were under the threat of death from Kakahili, Ayatollah Khomeini’s killing judge.

“It was incredibly barbaric–they were randomly executing people. It was like something out of the Hitler era. One of the Shah’s nephews wouldn’t leave, so we had to hit him over the head and try to take him out unconscious. But he insisted on going free, so we finally had to let him go. We warned him what would happen. But he left. Later the same day, he got shot in the back of the head.”

Seagal said he has done more recent security work, including work for South African Bishop Desmond Tutu and late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, but only jobs for people who are “special” to him. “My wife and I just had a baby girl, so I’m trying to stay semi-retired and away from a lot of these things.”

“I did some work for the White House recently, for a committee where everybody had top-security clearance. And when they checked up on me, they couldn’t find any data on me. They asked the agency, who refused to confirm or deny who works for them.

“That’s why I see no reason to go public with any details I might or might not know. But I could tell you stories. . . .”

Like Pellicano, he also muttered darkly about being connected with those guys, youknowwhoimtalkinabout? In Out for Justice, he played Gino Felino, a guy with mobster friends. In Above the Law, he’s Nico Toscani, a Sicilian and a CIA agent involved in top secret covert ops – because his other fetish, besides playing Italians, was playing Special Ops guys. In Under Siege and its sequel, Seagal plays a former Navy SEAL. He hinted in real life that he’d been a Navy SEAL as well, then got invited on a treasure hunt off Barbados with an actual Navy SEAL, and had to move equipment to a raft amidst rough, violent, choppy water. It was lousy conditions, but nothing a SEAL wouldn’t have faced in training. Seagal reacted like Pellicano when he got his letter from the IRS: “He started screaming and panicking and was sure he was going to die and all that crap.” He had to be helped onto the raft, one man pulling his hair, and another pushing his ass. Despite Seagal’s extensive experience in secret covert operations, he couldn’t read either a compass or a map159.

This would suggest he was entirely a ridiculous joke, when he wasn’t. Stories like the Barbados tale and others portraying Seagal as an incompetent clown without covert ops or SEAL experience were told by his former business partner Gary Goldman, after a falling out over screenplay credits and movie profits. The action star would allegedly present an actual former CIA agent, Robert Strickland, with a file on Goldman and a briefcase with fifty thousand dollars. “I’d like you to do me a favor,” Seagal allegedly said, in a manner we can imagine from his movies. “I’d like you to kill Gary Goldman.” “You’re crazy”, replied Strickland, again, according to his version of events. “If you won’t do it,” replied Seagal, allegedly, “get someone who will. Pay him what you want and keep the rest.” Strickland refused again160. A second source, a security level consultant and actual veteran of an intelligence agency would fly to New York, where he claims Seagal would ask him to whack someone in Chicago. When you say “whack”, he asked, does that mean “whack dead”? “Of course,” says Seagal. The man refused the offer. “You’re crazy,” he replied. Seagal would also ask that a writer who’d just written a hostile cover profile of him for GQ, Alan Richman, be set up, with pictures taken of Richman going down on another man. “This guy is, like, a five foot two fat little male impersonator,” Seagal would say of the five foot nine Richman on The Arsenio Hall show (this segment is on youtube: part one and part two; Seagal’s complaining about Richman is in the first part)161. Richman is a fag, Seagal tells the security consultant, though Richman is heterosexual. Richman is also a former Army captain, a recipient of the bronze star, and a Viet Nam veteran. Seagal, whatever his claims, has no military experience whatsoever. Seagal was upset at Richman for supposedly misquoting him in the profile, though GQ and Richman had, out of a misguided sense of mercy, left out a few things. That his hair looked like it was soaked in shoe polish, that he wore a hairnet, that his face was thick with make-up, that he felt most directors were incompetent, and that he complained that Hollywood was controlled by Jews, a strange complaint for someone who’d had both an incredibly rapid rise to stardom and a Jewish father162. In August of 1993, Seagal would be deposed in a civil suit filed against him by a parking lot attendant who claimed the action star had assaulted him. While on the stand, Seagal would be asked if he’d ever solicited a murder. An agitated Seagal took the Fifth163.

With the exception of some details on Alan Richman’s military experience and Seagal taking the Fifth about soliciting a murder, all details from the previous two paragraphs come from the Spy article “Man of Dishonor” by John Connolly. Before it was even published, Seagal’s attorney, Martin Singer, would file slander and libel suits against Connolly, alleging that the claims made that Seagal associated with killers, that Seagal associated with mobsters, that Seagal had solicited murder were false. Upon publication, the suits were withdrawn164. Connolly was also the writer behind “Arnold the Barbarian”; after that article was published, Garry South, the campaign manager for Gray Davis, Schwarzenegger’s competitor in the governor’s race, sent out the article to fifty or eighty reporters along with a small note: “Arnold’s piggish behavior with women – is it the pig valve?” Singer sent a letter to South threatening to sue for libel – because South had emailed out an article published in the free press, in a magazine that could be bought in any part of the country. Singer’s letter also stated that the letter itself was copyrighted, and its contents could not be published anywhere without violating the copyright165. Singer, of course, was also the man who Paul Barresi alleges paid him to quiet the episode involving Eddie Murphy and transsexuals. Murphy is another Singer client, and Pellicano was often hired by Singer166.

Seagal’s hubris got worse and his movies became unwatchable. His physical qualities, the essence of almost all movie stars, soon rapidly diminished. He lost his hair, and though his acting was never called Brandoesque, his stomach soon was. Before his first movie was released, he was described as a man who was tall and lean, having the rough, good looks of a daredevil jet pilot, catlike movement and an amazing presence. The presence is perhaps best described by Trevor Gilks on his site Every Steven Seagal Movie in his overview of “Out for Justice (1991)”: “He’s a festering ball of anger and threats, yet he rarely raises his voice above a whisper; he’s spewing pure machismo extract, yet the way he moves, talks and looks is strangely feminine” – though perhaps the reason he never speaks above a whisper, we learn from “Man of Dishonor”, is that his actual voice is very squeaky. He soon became the thing described in John Krewson’s review of Fire Down Below: “Steven Seagal, the uncharismatic stack of puffy, aging flesh”167. The studio tried to get him to lose weight, and they ended up finding cookie crumbs on the stairmaster168. He was a guy who soon became defined for being paunchy and utterly nauseating. When Jenny McCarthy auditioned for a part, he asked her to take off all her clothes, though the movie had no nude scenes. When he hosted SNL, he suggested a sketch where he’d play a psychiatrist who tries to have sex with a rape victim169. “Gee, Raeanne,” he said to his personal assistant, Raeanne Malone, when she was brushing her teeth, “You look like that when I come in your mouth.” She and three other personal assistants successfully sued him for sexual harassment170. In 2000, well after people had gotten royally sick of his shit, Warner Brothers, his longtime studio, ended their relationship with him171.

THE PHARMACIST

That Seagal was a ridiculous man didn’t mean he couldn’t also be dangerous or frightening. Pellicano was also both things. The devastating Spy piece, “Man of Dishonor” suggested there must have been some power behind the throne. When Strickland, the former intelligence agent, got into a legal hassle with Seagal over the action star taking Strickland’s stories of working with the CIA and presenting them as experiences of his own, Seagal would declare in front of Strickland and his attorney, “If anybody from the CIA fucks with me, they will be hurt”, and claimed that he was backed by very powerful people172. When “Man of Dishonor” was published, the text was accompanied by two striking photographs: an unsinister and warm faced Seagal in his high school photo, and, more importantly, the neighboring houses of Seagal and his former associate, Jules Nasso. On the left is an elegant medium sized house, that of one of the biggest movie stars in the world at the time. Next to it is a sprawling, eight thousand acre estate, the property of Nasso173. He was a pharmacist who ran Universal Marine Medical Supply, stocking ships with their medicines. He would say in “Man of Dishonor” that he and Seagal were related, and, at the time, Seagal told people that Nasso was his cousin174. In a later profile, “Seagal under Siege” (from Vanity Fair, now hosted at the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club) by Ned Zeman (with additional reporting by Connolly), it would be said that Nasso and Seagal met in Madeo, an Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills, in part because Nasso knew Kelly LeBrock, Seagal’s then wife, through a friend175. A casual reader asks themselves a question unanswered by the article: what is a New York pharmacist doing in Beverly Hills?

Nasso was best man at Seagal’s wedding to LeBrock, godfather to two of their children, and he co-held the deed to the house Seagal owned next door to his. Warner Bros. did not have a contract with Seagal, but with Steamroller Productions, formerly Seagal/Nasso Productions. Robert Strickland, the intelligence agent who Seagal had allegedly solicited to kill someone, had been paid an advance to have Seagal adapt his life story into a movie; when their relationship fell apart, the advance which had come from Seagal’s personal account was to be repaid to Nasso’s176. You would find possible answers to Nasso’s wealth in an early profile, “His Two Worlds Are Worlds Apart” by Barnaby J. Feder in The New York Times, which came out after the release of Seagal’s Out for Justice. Nasso had a score of successful businesses: he’d founded and currently ran Universal Marine Medical Supplies, the world’s largest distributor of pharmaceuticals to ships, which he’d started as an undergraduate at St. John’s University, and which grossed $30 million a year; he’d founded Tishcon, a company that made over the counter drugs which drugstores and supermarkets sold under their own labels; at the height of the Cabbage Patch doll craze, he’d owned a Baby Land General Hospital outlet in New York City, where people came to adopt their dolls. He owned and ran four pharmacies in New York City under the Bi-Wise name. He was in Beverly Hills because his involvement in Universal Marine Medical Supplies often brought him out to their branch office in San Pedro. This same profile lists Seagal and Nasso as cousins177.

Seagal wanted to be seen as an Italian with mob connections. Nasso wanted to be seen as an Italian without them. Both men had difficulty being seen as they wished. Nasso’s uncle, also named Julius Nasso, was the owner of the Julius Nasso Concrete Corporation, one of several companies that Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno and others had extorted money from in a bid rigging scheme. Salerno had gotten a century in prison in part due to the testimony of employees of Julius Nasso Concrete. This same uncle was described by federal authorities as having connections with organized crime. The uncle had attended a meeting with the Gambino crime family about the contract for the Jacob Javits Convention Center178. Nasso’s brother married a daughter of Johnny Gambino, an imprisoned captain of the crime family of the same name; at the wedding, Seagal walked Nasso’s mother up the aisle. In the most famous scene from Out for Justice, perhaps the most famous scene in Seagal’s career, he goes to a bar owned by an adversary, disturbs the patrons, breaks stuff, causes a nuisance, and provokes things till people start attacking him and he takes them all on. One bar patron, however, he never hits, and that’s Benny the Book, played by Jerry Ciauri (currently, in IMDb’s credits for Out for Justice, his name is mis-spelled as Jerry Clauri). “No way Seagal was going to take a swing at Bobby Zam’s kid,” says one source in “Man of Dishonor”179.

The scene (“Anybody seen Richie?” on youtube) has a brief dialogue segment between Ciauri and Seagal. Later, Seagal beats the shit out of everybody in the pool room around Ciauri, but strikingly, leaves Benny the Book alone in his chair.

FELINO
Benny the Book…hey, how’re ya. [bounces cue ball twice on the floor hard enough that it bounces back to his hand] Benny, you wouldn’t be over here using Ma Bell for illegal means, wouldsyou?

BENNY
Bookmaking’s an illegal activity, Gino.

FELINO
You also would not know that Richie owns this place and that he sells narcotics here because he’s a fuckin puke, and he likes to pervert kids and stuff, huh?

BENNY
Drugs. Nobody uses drugs around here.

FELINO
Yeah? [bounces cue ball again] You don’t know nothin, do ya? (Sicilian dialogue)

Steven Seagal Anybody Seen Richie Out for Justice

Steven Seagal Anybody Seen Richie Out for Justice

Steven Seagal Anybody Seen Richie Out for Justice

Out for Justice - Jerry Ciauri in the chair, Gino pushes somone around - URL if gif doesn't load: http://gfycat.com/ThirdFondEft

Bobby Zam is Robert Zambardi, Ciauri is his stepson, and allegedly, Ciauri got the part because Zambardi asked. At the time, the Colombo mafia was at war with itself, split between two leaders, Carmine Persico, who was in jail, and Vic Orena, the acting head. Both Ciauri and Zambardi would be indicted for separate attempts on the life of Orena. Ciauri and a co-conspirator would be successfully convicted for extortion, robbery, and enterprise corruption in their shakedown of a local grocery. They were also convicted for a failed attempt on the life on Orena, a few months before Out for Justice was released, for which they were still serving time as the new century began. Zambardi was charged with RICO violations, loan-sharking conspiracy, and conspiracy to murder Orena. He would plead guilty to a racketeering charge and a fifteen year sentence; he would eventually plead guilty to committing four murders180. Nasso would often dismiss accusations of association with organized crime as something thrown at all Italians. “On my block, there’s a judge and a gangster,” the gangster being Tommy Bilotti, who was killed alongside Paul Castellano when John Gotti took over the Gambino crime family. Bilotti’s brother, Joseph, was indicted alongside Zambardi in the attempt on Orena’s life181.

Though Nasso was often written about, there remained mysteries and contradictions in his life. In the Zeman piece, Nasso said he’d met Seagal for the first time in Los Angeles, at Madeo’s. In a 1999 interview for the Friars Club, as well as other profiles, he said they’d met for the first time in Kobe, Japan182. In “His Two Worlds”, he said he visited childhood acquaintance Tony Danza while visiting Los Angeles, and that it was Danza who’d helped get him into the movie business. The often congenial Danza was emphatic in his denial of this in “Man of Dishonor”: “I know Nasso, but he’s no friend of mine. I didn’t introduce him to Seagal.”183 He was a man who headed up a multi-million dollar international business, something that should focus his attention entirely, yet he’d attempted to break into the movie business by working as a gofer for Sergio Leone, when he directed Once Upon a Time in America, something that would require him on location and away from the office his entire day184. “Seagal Under Siege” would have him with two doctorates, one from St. John’s and another from the University of Connecticut. “Between Two Worlds” would have him in his office, with a wall behind him covered in degrees and certificates. “When Life Imitates a B-Movie” by Paul Lieberman, however, would point out that Nasso considers a 1979 testimonial dinner at Fordham University as the equivalent of an honorary degree, and considers the membership certificate from the Connecticut Pharmaceutical Association as equivalent to a doctorate185. He was, according to “Two Worlds”, the owner of the Baby Land General Hospital in New York City, where families came to “adopt” Cabbage Patch dolls. We are told he owned in it during the early days of the Cabbage Patch craze, but this is an unusual statement – the peak of the craze was the christmas of 1983, and the Babyland adoption center on Fifth Avenue (something distinct from the Baby Land General Hospital, the headquarters of the Cabbage Patch dolls) only opened in 1985186.

Julius Nasso Out for Justice group shot

Julius Nasso Out for Justice looking at angle

Julius Nasso Out for Justice looking directly

Julius Nasso in his brief appearance in Out for Justice, as “Tony Felino”, who must be a relative of Seagal’s “Gino Felino”, though it’s never said in the movie.

There was another strange episode involving Nasso, but one that took place years after the lives of Pellicano, Seagal, and Nasso had already converged, a convergence that resulted in jail time for Nasso and Pellicano. “Operation Which Doctor” was an attempt to shut down a network of doctors and pharmacies which prescribed steroids to athletes and emergency responders, such as police and firefighters, as well as corrections officers. The steroids may have affected the temperament of the police officers, with one, Victor Vargas, allegedly arriving at an emergency call and then beating without mercy the very man who’d made the call. Two major points of steroid use were the police departments of New York City and Jersey City. Two doctors identified as the major writers of false prescriptions so that their patients could obtain steroids were Richard Lucente and Joseph Colao187. Lucente would plead guilty to conspiracy and lose his medical license, Colao would collapse, after years of using human growth hormones, from a heart attack. The source for much of the human growth hormones was the drugstore Lowen’s. Victor Vargas had gotten some of his HGH from Lowen’s. Both Colao and Lucente would allege that they got kickbacks from Lowen’s for steering clients there. Over nine thousand prescriptions over eighteen months throughout the country were filled out for steroids at the pharmacy. When narcotics investigators raided the store, they took away over seven million dollars in human growth hormone, illegally imported from China. The owner of the building that housed Lowen’s was Julius Nasso188.

The pharmacist at Lowen’s, John Rossi, would tell investigators that Nasso was also a silent partner in the business189. Rossi would write two letters to the local paper, the Brooklyn Eagle, insisting that neither he nor the store had done anything wrong. “Lowen’s and its pharmacists and employees have done nothing improper,” he wrote, and taped both letters in the glass of the store’s front door. On January 28th, a week before Rossi was to have a formal discussion with investigators, he was found dead in his store office. He had been shot in the right side of the chest and the right side of his head. Investigators ruled the death a suicide. Richard Signorelli, his attorney, declared, “I had no sign that anything like this was going to happen.” In the neighborhood, there was the obvious question following Rossi’s death: if a pharmacist wanted to kill himself, wouldn’t he do it with pills, instead of a gun? Nasso’s lawyer would insist that he had no ownership stake in the pharmacy, and that he had no connection with steroids or the mafia. “I think you take any Italian born in a neighborhood that has … a variety of people of different types, it is kind of hard to escape allegations that you are somehow involved with these people. Because they’re your neighbors,” said Nasso’s lawyer, Robert Hantman. “My family is my life,” said one of Rossi’s letters to the Eagle.190

This was all still in the future. After the collapse of the relationship between Warners and Seagal, Nasso still had several projects he wanted to make with his partner, including a bio-pic of Genghis Khan which he advertised with a full page ad in Variety. Seagal dropped out of those pictures, and his relationship with Nasso fell apart as well. According to Nasso, the terminal conversation was on July 5, 2001, and it ended with him saying to Seagal, “You’ll never hear from me again. Go fuck yourself.”191 In March of the next year, Nasso would hit Seagal with a $60 million breach of contract suit. In June, seventeen men would be arrested on a variety of charges, including Peter Gotti, acting head of the Gambino crime family and older brother of I-think-you-can-guess, Anthony “Sonny” Ciccone, and Primo Cassarinio. They would be charged with, among other things, extortion, loan sharking, and racketeering. Among the seventeen arrested was Julius Nasso, charged with conspiracy to commit extortion and extortion of an individual in the film industry. This individual in the film industry, the man behind Nico Toscani and Gino Felini, was being asked to pay out $150,000 per movie to Nasso and his associates, or else192.

A lengthy excerpt from “Seagal Under Siege” by Zeman and Connolly captures well how these threats took place:

On February 2, 2001, according to just one of the government’s 2,200 tapes, Seagal sat down in a Brooklyn restaurant with Jules and Vincent Nasso. Before they got down to business, though, Jules decided to switch locations–to Gage & Tollner, the venerable steak house near, of all places, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in downtown Brooklyn. On the way over, perhaps so they couldn’t be tailed, they also all switched cars. Once ensconced in a back room, they were joined by Ciccone and Cassarinio.

The action star was “petrified” by the location switch, Ciccone recalls after the meeting was over.

“I wish we had a gun on us,” Cassarinio adds. “That would have been funny.”

To which Vincent Nasso replies, “It was like right out of the movies.”

On February 14, in a bugged Brooklyn restaurant, Ciccone asks a guy who sounds a lot like Jules Nasso whether he has asked Seagal for the $150,000 per movie.

“And did you do it? Did you carry it out?” asks Ciccone.

“Oh, I’ll take care of it. I’ll take care of it,” says Nasso.

“We said that day that we were gonna tell him that every movie he makes, we want $150,000.”

“Right… a hundred, and I said I want to get more for you.”

In this same conversation, the guy who sounds a lot like Nasso encourages Ciccone to be even more forceful than he was at Gage & Tollner. “I think the first meeting that we had was a nice initial meeting to break the ice,” Nasso says. “But the next one, you gotta get…you really gotta get down on him. ‘Cause I know this animal. I know this beast. You know, unless there’s a fire under his ass…”

The Vincent Nasso here is the brother of Jules. This was not the brother who’d married a daughter of Johnny Gambino, jailed mob captain, but a fascinating character in his own right, and one given too little attention. The most noteworthy fact about him, which occasionally got mentioned in the articles on Jules Nasso and Seagal, was that he was convicted of paying the mob four hundred grand in return for handling a union’s drug prescription plan193.

Vincent Nasso in Out for Justice

Vincent Nasso in Out for Justice

Vincent Nasso in his brief role as a cop in Out for Justice. He says “Get the son-of-a-bitch”, at about 10:55 in the movie.

Vincent Nasso owned Value Integrated Pharmacy (VIP). General Prescription Programs Inc. (GPP) owned eighty percent of VIP. It’s believed that the money which Nasso gave to Peter Gotti resulted in GPP winning the contract to handle the drug program for the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), even though the GPP was rated fifth out of five finalists for the contract. GPP also handled the multimillion dollar drug plans for at least five major public-employee unions, representing firefighters, police sergeants, corrections officers, Teamsters, and transit workers. “It’s not my company,” said Joel Gordman, the nominal head of GPP/VIP. “Basically I was acting as a subcontractor.”194 The evidence that Nasso and the mob were heavily involved in the GPP contract for the ILA was gained through wiretaps. Some of the discussion of the contract is excerpted in the indictment, “459 F.3d 296: United States of America v. Peter Gotti, Anthony Ciccone, et al.”, such as when Anthony “Sonny” Ciccone and Vincent Nasso discuss the fact that Gordman wants to raise the GPP contract fees charged to the Longshoremen’s union:

On Wednesday, April 18, 2001, Ciccone and Nasso spoke again about the MILA contract. Nasso noted that “the Jew [Joel Grodman, co-principal of GPP/VIP] wants to raise the rate.” Gov’t Exh. TR-178N. Ciccone responded, “Tell him to go fuck himself. Tell him you do what I tell you to do.” Id. Ciccone added, “I’m calling the shots over here, not you. And tell him, the day you don’t like it, I got another guy to replace you. You’re only here on account of me. Fuck him.” Id. Nasso agreed, stating, “All right. That’s what I’m gonna say today.” Id. Ciccone also asked about receiving his check, to which Nasso responded, “The Jew’s gotta send me the money.”

Joel Gordman would also join up with another entity owned by Nasso, Pharmaceutical Consultants & Administrators Inc. (PCAI), to handle the drug plan of Local 6, a hotel and restaurant workers union. Nasso also worked for Bio Reference Laboratories, Inc. (BRLI), headed up by Dr. Marc Gordman, Joel’s younger brother. BRLI had the contract for blood and physical tests at firehouses and detention facilities. In a lawsuit, two former employees would charge the company management with extorting employees, where expenses weren’t reimbursed unless an executive was given a Rolex watch or enevelopes of cash. BRLI would get financing from a mafia associate, a company involved in a legendary ponzi scheme, and a notorious penny stock broker that was the inspiration for the film Boiler Room195. These, and other seamy points, were all detailed in the heavily documented Streetsweeper profile of the company, “Bio-Reference (BRLI): Loads of Dirty Laundry”. Nasso had owned Bio-Dynamics, Inc., which had handled blood laboratory and diagnostic work for the Longshoremen’s Union; BRLI had gotten those accounts when they purchased Bio-Dynamics, Inc. in 1989, and that’s how Nasso had come to work for BRLI. After Nasso’s conviction, BRLI would terminate him, and Nasso would sue. Following the indictments of Vincent Nasso, Ciccone, Peter Gotti, and the others in the waterfront arrests, the various unions would end their contracts with GPP196.

The threats made against Seagal were captured accidentally, as part of these wiretaps in the racketeering probe of the waterfront and the Longshoremen’s union. “I don’t think it’s Jules at all,” said Jules Nasso’s lawyer, Robert Hantman. “I think that’s all they have. I think that what they’ve played–Sonny Ciccone berating or yelling at somebody, assuming he’s yelling at somebody–is not Jules.” Nasso would eventually plea bargain the charges, and get a year, less two months for good behavior197. He would try again as a producer, pointing again and again to his credit on the distinguished and high profile film, Narc, made before the trial. “You wanna know which one of us was the brains? Seagal’s making straight-to-videos in fuckin’ Bulgaria,” he’d say. “I’ve been making big-time movies.”198 This, however, was a more complicated story than it appeared. Narc was a very, very low budget movie and a week into shooting, it ran out of money. The principal people behind the project – actor Ray Liotta, director Joe Carnahan, and producer Diane Nabatoff – scrambled to find new money, picking up investors the principal people had never even met. Nasso put in a share, “not off the street, not gangster money,” he insisted – somewhat redundantly, given his denial of any association with the mafia – and got a credit. The film ended up with four listed producers, nine executive producers, five co-executive producers, and a line producer. “We bummed a cigarette off some guy — he got an E.P. [executive producer] credit,” said Liotta. When the movie was submitted for Academy Award consideration, which restricts you to three producers per picture, the producer names submitted were Liotta, his wife (his partner in his production company), and Nabatoff. Nasso would tell people that he’d helped edit the film and gave Liotta ideas on how to play the character. “Never saw him. None of those producers ever spent a day [on set],” said Liotta of Nasso. After Liotta’s production company took out a “For Your Consideration” ad in Variety, Nasso took out his own Narc ad, thanking the cast and crew, on behalf of Julius R. Nasso Productions199.

Since breaking with Seagal, Nasso would go on to co-found Manhattan Pictures International (with Paul Cohen), which distributed Enigma and Jean-Luc Godard’s In Praise of Love. In 2012, he’d co-found Wakefield International Pictures with Todd Moyer. The Legend of William Tell: 3D, one of the first films of Wakefield International Pictures would result in star Brendan Fraser suing the company because they didn’t have the financing for the project, followed by a countersuit by producer Moyer, alleging that Fraser had assualted him when drunk. “This is a ridiculous and absurd claim by Mr. Moyer,” said Fraser’s lawyer, Marty Singer200. In 2005, Nasso announced the creation of Cinema Nasso Film Studios on Staten Island, with the groundbreaking taking place on September 8th with fireworks on the beach and Kylie Minogue expected to attend. This last detail might be added to the pile of Nasso’s mysteries: this announcement for the studio groundbreaking in the Times (“A Producer Is Back on Location and Ready to Celebrate”) was August 29th. Minogue had already revealed that she was afflicted with breast cancer, had cancelled the Australian leg of her world tour, and was undergoing intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy for a prolonged period, treatment that she likened to being hit by an atomic bomb201. In 2007, Seagal and Nasso allegedly reached a secret settlement where the action star would pay him $500 000, and sign off on a presidential pardon for Nasso. In 2012, Nasso would sue Seagal for breaking the terms of the settlement. In January of 2013, Seagal would send a letter to the justice department backing such a pardon: “I have no objections to and would support the application (when it is timely) of Julius R. Nasso for a Presidential pardon.” During his stay in prison, Nasso would insist: “I am NOT an associate of organized crime.”202

It was because of the coverage of the extortion plot that Anthony Pellicano would end up in prison for over a decade.

THE PELICAN PART ONE

The coverage of the extortion of Seagal by Nasso, Ciccone and Cassarinio, in the Los Angeles Times was by two reporters, Anita Busch and Paul Lieberman – examples, in chronological sequence, would be: “N.Y. Arrests Have Ties to Hollywood” (Busch and Lieberman, June 5 2002), “Claims Seagal Started FBI Probe Called ‘Absurd'” (Busch, June 6 2002), “Mob Said to Have Threatened Actor” (Lieberman and Busch, June 12, 2002), “When Life Imitates a B-Movie” (Lieberman, July 12 2002), “Alleged Extortion of Actor Detailed” (Lieberman, July 17, 2002), “Seagal Sought Rival Mob’s Help, Feds Say” (Lieberman, February 8, 2003), “Brother of Late Mob Boss Convicted of Racketeering” (Lieberman, March 18, 2003), “Former Seagal Associate Plea-Bargains in Plot to Extort Actor” (Lieberman, August 7, 2003).

That Busch leaves the bylines is because of what took place on June 20th. It is best conveyed by the police report describing the incident, listed under the “probable cause” section, the basis for the FBI raiding Anthony Pellicano’s offices203:

D. PROBABLE CAUSE

9. On June 20, 2002, I interviewed Anita Busch (“Busch”), who told me the following:

a. Busch was working as a contract employee for the Los Angeles Times.

b. Bush arrived at home at approximately 8:45 p.m. on June 19, 2002, and parked her car across the street from her residence.

c. At approximately 8:00 a.m. on June 20, 2002, Busch was informed by her neighbor that her car window had been “punctured.” (1) a note taped to the windshield which said “STOP”; (2) a shatter mark just below the note; and (3) a tin foil baking tray turned upside down on the windshield. Busch called the LAPD, which treated the baking tray as a suspicious package. After rendering the package safe, the LAPD determined that it contained a dead fish and a rose.

d. Busch believed that the incident was related to her investigative work for the Los Angeles Times on an as-yet unpublished article regarding Julius Nasso and actor Steven Seagal. Busch began her work for the Times on June 3, 2002, and was contracted through October 15, 2002.

The next day, Daniel Patterson, a senior citizen and grandfather of eleven would leave several messages on Busch’s answering machine that were serious warnings. Daniel Patterson is the “CW” in the FBI report.

The relevant excerpt is below:

10. On June 21, 2002, I again interviewed Busch, who told me the following:

a. An individual, whose name Busch provided me and who shall be referred to herein as “CW,” had left her six messages on her voice mail at her Los Angeles Times office during the morning hours of June 21, 2002. CW had indicated that it was “urgent” that he speak to Busch in person concerning the article she was writing about actor Steven Seagal.

b. At approximately 11:45 a.m. on June 21, 2002, Busch telephoned CW. CW stated that he had run into a guy a few days ago by the name of “Alex,” and that Alex had told CW that he had been hired by a detective agency to blow up Busch’s car. Alex was aware that Busch had been doing a series of articles concerning actor Steven Seagal.

11. On June 21, 2002, I interviewed CW, who told me the following:

a. He had left messages for Busch because he did not want to see anyone get hurt.

b. He has known an individual named “Alex” for approximately a year. Approximately four or five days earlier, CW met Alex at a car repair business. Alex told CW met Alex at a car repair business. Alex told CW that he had been recently hired by a detective agency that had been contacted by “some people back east” to set fire to the car of a female reporter who had written a series of articles concerning actor Steven Seagal. Alex said that this was to serve as a warning because “they” wanted the reporter to stop writing the article. Alex stated that he had been by the reporter’s residence and noted the difficulty in setting her car on fire because of the close proximity of an apartment building. Alex was also concerned about an individual who lived in an apartment above the reporter’s parked vehicle who stayed up late at night walking from room to room. Alex said that this was going to be a “tough job.” Alex told CW that he was going to decline the job, but that the people back east were “ruthless” and would “get somebody to do it.”

Patterson was a long-time con man who had led an interesting life, or at least told an interesting story about that life. He’d gone to college for a semester, dropped out, worked salvage in Hawaii, gotten a degree at Ball State University, taught at West Texas, got shot in the stomach by drunk joyriding teens, taught high school after he was able to walk again, extorted money from an employer, got involved in some insurance fraud, founded a hazardous waste transportation business, got involved in mining in Mexico, was abducted at gunpoint by “the Secret Service of Mexico”, before finally being rescued by members of the FBI disguised as doctors and nuns. The reporter who relayed the story expressed some skepticism about its veracity204.

He would engage in a series of phony investment schemes, convincing a businessman to sell him his yacht if the businessman in turn invested in some of his businesses. The promissory notes Patterson gave the businessmen all defaulted. Patterson went on to use the yacht to lure investors to put some money into an offshore sports book. Other investments Patterson was involved in were an unspecified project in the United Arab Emirates, something that involved the leasing of foreign satellites, and a package delivery service superior to Federal Express. He conned manufacturing firms out of their industrial gold and silver by posing as a representative of Sun Microsystems or Ball University205.

Patterson then posed as Sergeant Michael Jeffries, a man badly in need of over a million dollars in gold for scientific purposes. He called a Massachusetts company from a Pasadena hotel room, and arranged a shipment of gold that was needed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratories, which was developing a neutron accelerator for the shuttle. The gold was to be shipped to a Pasadena warehouse that was also a JPL facility. An armored car arrived at the warehouse on December 19, 2000, the deliverymen were met by a Dr. Charles Schultz. You could tell he was a doctor because he wore a white lab coat with a label that said “Charles Schultz, PhD.” Charles Schultz PhD. was actually Aleksandr Drabkin, no PhD. Drabkin was an associate of Patterson, and Patterson’s partner in this con scheme. The deliverymen were actually FBI agents. Patterson was hit with a federal fraud charge, and after that, he agreed to provide the FBI with information on his precious metal scams, as well as any other cases and investigations he could help out with. Months later, he would get involved in dealings with Alex Proctor, a heroin, cocaine, and X trafficker. It was in the midst of these dealings that Patterson heard from Proctor that he’d been hired by a detective agency to intimidate Busch by blowing up her car. Patterson, worried, tried to warn Busch by leaving messages on her machine. Proctor decided to just leave a dead fish on the windshield instead. The L.A. district attorney’s office would find out about Patterson through the messages. Why did you warn Ms. Busch, they asked, What did you want? Nothing, said Patterson, he had a daughter about the reporter’s age. Patterson told them he just didn’t want to see anyone get hurt. They asked Patterson to wear a wire for his meetings with Proctor. Patterson agreed206.

Excerpts from the police report, the information from the Proctor meeting a result of the hidden recorder:

13. I learned from CW and from Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Saunders that CW is currently under indictment for conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, uttering forged securities and interstate transportation of stolen property in a case pending in the Central District of California.

14. On July 3, 2002, CW met with Proctor at CW’s residence. CW recorded the conversation with a digital recording device that I provided to him. I have reviewed the recording of the conversation, which revealed the following:

a. Proctor stated that actor Steven Seagal had hired a private investigative firm to threaten the reporter who was preparing an article on Seagal. Proctor said that the private investigator is very famous and a big investigator in Los Angeles. Proctor identified the investigator as “Anthony” and Seagal as Anthony’s “client.”

b. Proctor acknowledged that he had been hired to set the reporter’s car on fire. Uncomfortable with that idea, Proctor had purchased a fish and a rose and placed them on the reporter’s car. Proctor stated that he also placed a cardboard sign on the windshield with the word “stop” and put a bullet hole in the windshield. Proctor emphasized that “They wanted…he wanted to make it look like the Italians were putting the hit on her so it wouldn’t reflect on Seagal.”

16. On July 30, 2002, I and other FBI SAs [special agents] conducted surveillance of Proctor. We followed Proctor from Santa Fe Springs, California, to a residence at 10620 Wellworth Avenue, West Los Angeles, California. After Proctor exited his vehicle, the surveillance team observed him walking down the driveway to the rear of the residence, in the area of the garage. A second-story living quarters was observed located above the garage.

17. On August 13, 2002, CW met with Proctor at CW’s residence. CW recorded the conversation with a digital recording device that I provided to him. I have reviewed the recording of the conversation, which revealed the following:

a. Proctor acknowledged that the “Anthony” who had hired him was private investigator Anthony Pellicano.

b. Proctor stated that he had owed Pellicano $14,000 as a debt. Proctor further stated that “they” had agreed to pay Proctor $10,000 for the job involving the reporter, but that “they” were so pleased with Proctor’s work that Pellicano wiped out the entire debt and told Proctor they were even. Proctor stated that Pellicano had also said he would have another job upcoming for Proctor.

In August, Ned Zeman, the writer of the essential “Seagal Under Siege”, was driving through Laurel Canyon at night when a Mercedes with a flashing light drove up towards him. Zeman lowered his window. Someone in the passenger side of the Mercedes rolled down their window as well. The unknown passenger rapped a pistol against the side of Zeman’s car, then pointed the pistol directly at Zeman, and said “Stop.” The unknown passenger pulled the trigger, but there was nothing in the chamber. “Bang,” the unknown passenger said. The Mercedes drove on. After a long period of constant arguing, Anthony and Kat Pellicano had had a trial separation that lasted two months, broken by one night that August. Kat let Anthony back one Sunday, and he left again that night. They got divorced that month.207.

In November 21, 2002, a team of FBI agents went into Pellicano’s offices. There were two loaded handguns in Pellicano’s desk. There were two safes with two hundred thousand dollars in cash. The safes contained boxes of jewelry. The safes contained C-4 plastic explosive and two grenades that had been doctored to spray massive amounts of shrapnel. Useful for blowing up a car, the agents thought. After the first raid, the FBI would return eight days later with another warrant, and got to his trove of recordings, some encrypted some not, and transcripts of recordings, some encrypted some not. A year later, on November 16, 2003, Pellicano married his fifth wife, Teresa Ann DeLucio, two days before going to prison for possessing explosives. At the time of this posting, on October 10th, 2013, it would be the last time Anthony Pellicano was a free man208.

(On October 11th and 12th, material on Michael Jackson and Vincent Nasso was added. As always, this ended up a longer, more complicated posting than I expected. Additional material on Schwarzenegger as well as related footnotes 112 and 113 were added on October 12th, 2013. On October 15, 2014, the video clip of Paul Barresi in Too Naughty to Say No was added. On April 12, 2015, this post underwent a session of copy editing. On April 14, 2015, stills from Out for Justice featuring Julius Nasso were added. On April 14, 2015, higher quality images from Out for Justice were embedded.)

RISING SUN:

THE IMAGE OF THE DESIRED JAPANESE

PART ONE PART TWO PART THREE PART FOUR

FOOTNOTES

(Images from Out for Justice copyright Warner Bros.; images from Rising Sun copyright Twentieth Century Fox.)

1 From “Streetwise Gumshoe to the Stars: When Hollywood’s A-list wants protection from gossip and lawsuits, they put Anthony Pellicano on the case. Some see him as a pushy showoff, but he says he likes to play hardball.” by Shawn Hubler and James Bates:

Profile: Anthony J. Pellicano Jr.

* Born: March 22, 1944.

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

For the Pellicanos, a pleasant evening might mean watching The Sopranos or one of the Godfather movies. Mafia rituals fascinated Pellicano, who grew up in Al Capone’s hometown of Cicero, Illinois, and once listed the son of a reputed Chicago Mob boss as a creditor.

2 A profile, “Talk of the Town” by Bryan Burrough and John Connolly, with the claim without qualifier:

The grandson of Sicilian immigrants, Pellicano was born in 1944. His grandfather Americanized the family name, Pellicano, to Pellican, but Anthony, proud of his roots, restored the name to Pellicano as an adult. A self-described “young tough” on the streets of Cicero, he was kicked out of high school for fighting. He joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps, where he was trained as a cryptographer.

A profile, “How a Chicago Detective Found the Stolen Body of Elizabeth Taylor’s Third Husband, Mike Todd” by Geoffrey Johnson, with the qualified claim:

On the day Michael Todd died, Anthony Pellican celebrated his 14th birthday in Cicero. Around two years later, having blossomed (by his own admission) into a street tough, he dropped out of high school, though he would earn his GED during a stint with the U.S. Army Signal Corps, where, he claims, he was trained as a cryptographer.

3 From “The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick:

In the early ’60s, he joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps and received his GED while serving as a cryptographer, coding and decoding messages. “When I got out,” he told Playboy magazine, “the majority of people who were doing crypto work were in cosmetics or toy manufacturing…. It wasn’t all that thrilling to me.”

4 From “Streetwise Gumshoe to the Stars” by Shawn Hubler and James Bates:

Back in Chicago, he became a bill collector for the Spiegel catalogue. Working under the pseudonym Tony Fortune, he traced people who had skipped out on debts. One day he was scanning the Yellow Pages when he noticed how many ads there were for detective agencies.

“So I called the biggest ad in there and I said, ‘Listen, I’m the best skip tracer there is, I wanna do all your work, give me your hardest case,’ ” Pellicano said. “They had been looking for this (missing) little girl for six weeks and I found her in two days. How? With intelligence, logic, common sense, a tremendous amount of imagination and an acute perception.”

He cracked a smile.

“Actually, I just worked my ass off, that’s all.”

5 From “The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick:

At the same time, he was playing footsie with seemingly every reporter in Chicago. They gushed over his plush office, with its silver walls, black furniture, and full-length mirrors in the waiting room. They marveled over the mammoth gold zodiac that dominated his office-beneath which hung samurai swords and two nunchaku sticks, which he’d take off the wall to demonstrate how he could kill a reporter, while his pet piranha looked on.

6 From “How a Chicago Detective Found the Stolen Body of Elizabeth Taylor’s Third Husband, Mike Todd” by Geoffrey Johnson:

On the day Michael Todd died, Anthony Pellican celebrated his 14th birthday in Cicero. Around two years later, having blossomed (by his own admission) into a street tough, he dropped out of high school, though he would earn his GED during a stint with the U.S. Army Signal Corps, where, he claims, he was trained as a cryptographer. Following his discharge, he got a job as a skip-tracer with the Spiegel Company-tracking down people who had not paid their bills. In 1969, he established his own detective agency. Around this time, he restored the “o” at the end of the family name; his Sicilian grandfather had dropped that final vowel after emigrating to the United States.

7 From “How a Chicago Detective Found the Stolen Body of Elizabeth Taylor’s Third Husband, Mike Todd” by Geoffrey Johnson:

Pellicano had several strengths as a private investigator. Known early on as “the man of a thousand voices,” he could easily assume whatever character the situation called for. “I’m an actor,” he told the Tribune in 1978. “I let people underestimate me. I will act stupid, ignorant, emotional, but I never am.” Pellicano was also an expert in what he called “forensic audio”: voice identification, electronic surveillance, detecting eavesdropping devices. He exhibited the kind of flair usually seen in a Hollywood film noir. He owned twin Lincoln Continentals and decorated his office with samurai swords. For a time he employed the pulp-fiction nom de guerre of Tony Fortune.

8 From “How a Chicago Detective Found the Stolen Body of Elizabeth Taylor’s Third Husband, Mike Todd” by Geoffrey Johnson:

Testimony in the ongoing Family Secrets trial suggests that Pellicano may have had closer links with the Mob-especially with Joseph “Joey the Clown” Lombardo. Among other things, prosecutors have alleged that Lombardo was behind the 1974 murder of Daniel Seifert, who had been scheduled to testify against Lombardo in an embezzlement case. Lombardo’s lawyers claim he has a “rock-solid” alibi-provided, as it turns out, by Pellicano, who collected evidence demonstrating that Lombardo was having breakfast in a Chicago pancake house at the time two gunmen shot Seifert outside his Bensenville plastics company.

9 From Dish by Jeannette Walls:

“I can’t do everything by the book,” Pellicano once admitted. “I bend the law to death in gaining information.” Pellicano would sometimes remind people that he carries an aluminum baseball bat in the trunk of his black Nexus. “Guys who fuck with me get to meet my buddy over there,” he once told a reporter, gesturing toward the bat. Pellicano also tells people that he is an expert with a knife – “I can shred your face” – he has said – and that he has a blackbelt in karate.

10 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 “The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick:

He didn’t carry a gun, he told Oui magazine, “because my hands are lethal weapons.” In fact, he couldn’t legally carry a gun because he’d never been employed by a law enforcement agency. He recounted how he was knifed in a Mexican bar while working on a kidnapping case but “went into my kung fu stance and beat the hell out of him.”

11 From “The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick:

A recent story from the Chicago Sun-Times alleges, with little evidence, that Pellicano was once a member of Chicago gangster Joseph “Joey the Clown” Lombardo’s crew and had done investigative work for Lombardo in 1974, helping clear him as a suspect in a murder case. But as Joe Paolella, a former Secret Service agent from Chicago says, “Pellicano never promoted being connected in Chicago the way he did in L.A.-a place where he could portray himself as some kind of mob guy to an upper-middle-class Hollywood clientele that didn’t know any better, if you’re a real crook in Chicago, you don’t want anybody to know about it.”

From “How a Chicago Detective Found the Stolen Body of Elizabeth Taylor’s Third Husband, Mike Todd” by Geoffrey Johnson:

A slight man who eschewed firearms-“A gun is a physical solution to a mental problem,” he told the Tribune-he had a black belt in karate and was known sometimes to brandish a Louisville Slugger. “I can’t do everything by the book,” he insisted. “I bend the law to death in gaining information.”

12 From “The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick:

He didn’t carry a gun, he told Oui magazine, “because my hands are lethal weapons.” In fact, he couldn’t legally carry a gun because he’d never been employed by a law enforcement agency.

13 The references to Pellicano’s black belt are many, here is one from “How a Chicago Detective Found the Stolen Body of Elizabeth Taylor’s Third Husband, Mike Todd” by Geoffrey Johnson:

A slight man who eschewed firearms-“A gun is a physical solution to a mental problem,” he told the Tribune-he had a black belt in karate and was known sometimes to brandish a Louisville Slugger.

From “The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick:

Throughout the mid-1970s, he sold the legend of “Tony” Pellicano to anyone who would listen. His message was simple: He was the baddest, sagest practitioner of the “praying mantis style of kung fu.”

14 From “The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick:

There he was on Channel 7 talking about runaway teens, on WBBM radio discussing “the families of missing persons,” flying to New York to appear on To Tell the Truth, and then back to Chicago to do Friday Night with Steve Edwards. Then it was over to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University to speak as “one of the top debugging experts in the United States” and off to lecture at the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity at Chicago-Kent College. He went to Marquette University Law School to make a presentation on the “psychological stress evaluator,” then to the Maywood Rotary Club, then to the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators.

15 From “Police tape site disputed” by Earl Golz, a re-posting from the alt.conspiracy.jfk, originally appearing in The Dallas Morning News (9-13-78):

The Dallas police open microphone thought to have picked up the sounds of four shots when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 “was nowhere near Dealey Plaza,” says an acoustical expert whose Chicago firm made its own analysis of the tape recording.

Anthony Pellicano said the sound of sirens heard on the tape after Kennedy was shot was “the most devastating” to the finding of the Cambridge, Mass. firm that presented its analysis of the tape Monday to the House Assassinations Committee.

The firm of Bolt, Beranek & Newman said the tape revealed four shots may have been fired during the 6-second period in which the president was assassinated in Dealey Plaza.

Pellicano was an expert witness in connection with the 18-minute gap in President Richard Nixon’s White House tape recordings in the Watergate case. He challenged the Cambridge firm’s analysis that the gap was intentional. His firm, Voice Analysis and Interpretation, also has acquired a national reputation for analysis of electronic evidence in plane crashes and wiretap cases.

The background noises during the six seconds “just do not dictate that it (open microphone) was in the motorcade,” Pellicano said.

Spectators cheering the president along Houston and Elm streets in Dealey Plaza could not be heard during the six seconds, he said, but the noise of heavy traffic and police sirens – not present in the plaza at the time – could be heard.

Using a computer, Pellicano said he determined how far away from the open microphone the motorcade sirens would have been at certain speeds.

“At the rate they were traveling, you can hear that they start off softly when they come into range of the microphone, get louder and then start to get softer again as they go off in the distance,” he said.

“It is nowhere near Dealey Plaza. And the most conclusive evidence was the sound of the sirens. The sirens – if you clock them – came after the time the president was shot, just about a minute or two after….You can hear sirens coming down Stemmons Freeway somewhere (after the presidential limousine left Dealey Plaza and started towards Parkland Memorial Hospital). So, whoever he was, he was somewhere along Stemmons or somewhere in that area in range of hearing those sirens go by.”

“There are a lot of noises in there (entire police radio tape available for Nov. 22, 1963) that sound like gunshots,” Pellicano said. “A lot of it is flaws in the original Dictabelt which caused the absence of noise which sounds like gunshots.

“The impulses that the man (Dr. James Barger, chief scientist for the Cambridge firm) was talking about could have been a million and one things, not necessarily gunshots.

“The correlation studies I used is a mathematical correlation; it’s not a hearing correlation. And we can find a lot of noises that sound and correlate like gunshots but are not.”

Pellicano said the police Dictabelt was worn and had many scratches on it which made “all kinds of sounds on the tape that sounded like gunshots” at points other than the six seconds when Kennedy was shot to death.

“You can use your imagination,” he said.

The noises the Cambridge firm said were motorcycles also could have been a bus running alongside a police car with the car’s window down and its microphone open, he said.

On the other hand, the open microphone didn’t have to be a policeman’s and could have been held open intentionally, he said.

“In other words, let’s say the assassin wanted to try to jam the communications, but he didn’t really know too much about it,” Pellicano said. “But he thought if he could get a radio transmitter and get a crystal for the same frequency and held that button open and generate some noise over that thing he would be able to mask a lot of the communications. It all depends on how close he was to the receiver.”

“I’m sure there was a conspiracy,” said the electronics investigator. “And I would love to say there were four or five shots but I can’t say it was based on any of my findings. I can’t say there were any more than three shots.”

Pellicano said his firm used $300,000 in sophisticated equipment for three weeks of acoustical analysis of an excellent copy of the tape obtained from a Dallas resident. He said the House Assassinations Committee “knows of my findings and somebody is supposed to contact me.”

16 From “The moment of truth – It’s all in the voice” by Chicago Daily News Service:

CHICAGO – Finding an honest man has never been easy. Diogenes, the ancient Greek philosopher, carried a lantern on his quest. Tony Pellicano, the Sicilian private eye, carries a briefcase.

But the briefcase has fired more controversy than a lantern ever could, for it contains a compact new instrument called the psychological-stress evaluator (PSE), the first competitor of the polygraph for truth verification in 50 years.

Invented five years ago by three ex-Army sleuths, the PSE is used by 100 police departments, several major retail organizations and private investigators such as Pellicano. Many use the instrument as a lie detector in lieu of the more common polygraph.

Unlike the polygraphy, which charts a subject’s respiration, pulse, blood pressure and skin response while the subject answers questions, the PSE registers stress by measuring certain inaudible modulation in the voice, Pellicano explained.

Once the subject’s answers are recorded, the tape is played at slow speed on the special tape recorder, which is wired to the PSE. A heat stylus charts the subject’s speech pattern in a merry zigzag on a roll of treated graph paper, Pellicano explained.

“It measures the muscular microtremor in the voice,” he said. “Everybody has this tremor,” which in an unstressed situation shows up as an unclipped hedge on the graph.

Many involved in the polygraph industry are very upset with the psychological-stress evaluator. An examiner with John Reid & Associates, a well-known polygraph firm, said that while the firm hadn’t worked with a PSE, “We tested a similar device and our office found it unreliable.”

“But we have no objection to its use as a fifth parameter (reaction to be checked) with the polygraph,” said James Bobal of the firm.

Legally, the PSE is in limbo, according to one of its inventors. “Our only legal hurdle was some state laws,” according to Allan Bell, president of Dektor Counterintelligence and Security, Springfield, Va., which manufactures the instrument.

17 From “ILLINOIS POLYGRAPH SOCIETY v. PELLICANO”, a ruling in favor of the polygraph society, reversing an earlier, successful appeal by Pellicano of the ruling:

Reversed and remanded.

MR. JUSTICE CLARK delivered the opinion of the court:

The plaintiffs, Illinois Polygraph Society, an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, Carl S. Klump and Richard Needham, brought an injunctive action in the circuit court of Cook County. The plaintiffs sought to enjoin the defendant, Anthony Pellicano, from administering detection-of-deception examinations or from holding himself out as a detection-of-deception examiner since the defendant was not licensed under “An Act to provide for licensing and regulating detection of deception examiners * * *” (the Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 202-1 et seq., now Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 111, par. 2401 et seq.). The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, alleging that the Act is unconstitutional and that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue. After a hearing the circuit court denied the motion and certified that there was no just reason to delay an appeal from its order. The appellate court reversed, deciding that section 3 of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 202-3, now Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 111, par. 2403) is special legislation in violation of article IV, section 13, of the 1970 Illinois Constitution. (78 Ill.App.3d 340.) We allowed the plaintiffs’ petition for leave to appeal. (73 Ill.2d R. 315.) We reverse.

18 From “Streetwise Gumshoe to the Stars” by Shawn Hubler and James Bates:

But what really set Pellicano apart, colleagues said, was his hyperbole. A copy of his resume, circa 1975, describes his company as an agency “whose services are as diverse as its director’s talents” and claims a “perfect score” in locating 3,964 missing persons.

“The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick has a slightly different number:

Throughout the mid-1970s, he sold the legend of “Tony” Pellicano to anyone who would listen. His message was simple: He was the baddest, sagest practitioner of the “praying mantis style of kung fu.” He had a “100 percent success rate” in tracking down exactly 3,968 missing persons. Most amazingly, they were all “cases other people couldn’t solve.”

19 From “The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick:

In 1969, he opened his own private-eye firm, focusing on collections and the removal of secretly placed surveillance equipment. He liked to wear huge, amber-tinted aviator glasses and three-piece jeans suits with foot-long collars and huge knotted ties; in repose he was almost handsome, with curly dark hair, large, heavy-lidded, expressive eyes, and full lips-the effect broken only when he smiled and revealed large, uneven buckteeth. On occasion he wore a white lab smock embroidered with an eye surrounded by concentric circles, the symbol of his detective agency, Fortune Enterprises. In 1974, he filed for bankruptcy, a setback he blithely ignored as he hired a press agent and launched an all-out assault on the gullibility of the Chicago press.

He boasted of having $300,000 worth of electronic equipment, an unlikely possibility given that in his bankruptcy he’d listed his assets as $50 in clothes and $28 in cash.

20 From “The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick:

Even his bankruptcy fed the Pellicano myth, for it revealed that he’d received a $30,000 loan from a friend, Paul DeLucia Jr., the son of mobster Felice DeLucia (aka Paul “the Waiter” Ricca). He was also a pallbearer at the eider DeLucia’s 1972 funeral and named DeLucia Jr. the godfather of one of his daughters. He claimed that the younger DeLucia “was just like any guy in the neighborhood.” From then on he both denied and promoted his mob connections as it served his purposes. The governor of Illinois took the loan seriously enough, however, to force Pellicano to resign from a state law enforcement advisory board.

From “Streetwise Gumshoe to the Stars” by Shawn Hubler and James Bates:

Things took a downward turn the following year when he filed for bankruptcy protection. During that process, Pellicano admitted he had borrowed $30,000 from Paul DeLucia Jr., the son of Paul “the Waiter” Ricca, who had briefly led the Chicago Mob in the 1940s. Pellicano insisted that DeLucia, his daughter’s godfather, was “just like any other guy in the neighborhood,” but the information was enough to force Pellicano to resign from the commission.

21 From “Streetwise Gumshoe to the Stars” by Shawn Hubler and James Bates:

But not all his publicity was the kind he liked. In 1976, he resigned under pressure from the Illinois Law Enforcement Commission after news reports that he accepted a $30,000 loan from the son of underworld figure Paul de Lucia, also known as Paul (the Waiter) Ricca.

Then-Gov. Dan Walker said Pellicano did not mention the loan on an ethics statement he was required to file. Walker told reporters that if Pellicano had done so, he would never have been appointed to the panel, which is responsible for awarding federal crime funds.

Pellicano said that Ricca’s son, Paul de Lucia Jr., was a childhood friend and that he borrowed the money because the cost of starting his agency had driven him into bankruptcy. He denied having underworld connections, and said he did not believe the younger Lucia had them either.

“Paul de Lucia is my daughter’s godfather,” Pellicano said. “He’s just like any other guy in the neighborhood.”

22 From “Streetwise Gumshoe to the Stars” by Shawn Hubler and James Bates:

Then-Gov. Dan Walker said Pellicano did not mention the loan on an ethics statement he was required to file. Walker told reporters that if Pellicano had done so, he would never have been appointed to the panel, which is responsible for awarding federal crime funds.

23 From “How a Chicago Detective Found the Stolen Body of Elizabeth Taylor’s Third Husband, Mike Todd” by Geoffrey Johnson:

It had been years since the dark-haired woman with the violet eyes had visited her husband’s grave. But with a stopover at O’Hare International Airport on this early summer day, she finally had her chance. On Friday, June 24, 1977, the actress Elizabeth Taylor, one of the most recognizable people in the world, slipped unnoticed into a suburban Chicago cemetery and left a dozen long-stemmed roses and an American flag at the tombstone of her third husband, the Oscar-winning movie producer Michael Todd, killed 19 years earlier in a fiery plane crash.

One day after Taylor’s surreptitious appearance, Todd’s grave had other visitors, though their presence went unreported until shortly after noon on Sunday, June 26th. That’s when an elderly woman visiting a nearby gravesite noticed Todd’s toppled tombstone-inscribed with his given name, Avrom Hirsch Goldbogen-and his unearthed and emptied casket. She called police, and on Monday morning, the case of Mike Todd’s missing remains made headlines nationwide. Through a spokesperson, Taylor, then the wife of John Warner, the future U.S. senator from Virginia, said she was “very upset and as baffled as anyone over the motive.”

When officials retrieved the remains of Mike Todd from the wreckage of the Lucky Liz in 1958, they didn’t come away with much. Todd was charred beyond recognition, and officials could identify him only through dental records. His wedding ring survived, and police returned it to Taylor. The rest-basically a handful of dust and what was likely part of a nylon seat belt-was scooped into a rubber bag and buried in Forest Park’s Waldheim Cemetery. There it rested until the weekend of June 25, 1977, a few days after what would have been Todd’s 68th or 70th birthday.

24 From “How a Chicago Detective Found the Stolen Body of Elizabeth Taylor’s Third Husband, Mike Todd” by Geoffrey Johnson:

When officials retrieved the remains of Mike Todd from the wreckage of the Lucky Liz in 1958, they didn’t come away with much. Todd was charred beyond recognition, and officials could identify him only through dental records. His wedding ring survived, and police returned it to Taylor. The rest-basically a handful of dust and what was likely part of a nylon seat belt-was scooped into a rubber bag and buried in Forest Park’s Waldheim Cemetery. There it rested until the weekend of June 25, 1977, a few days after what would have been Todd’s 68th or 70th birthday.

To get to Todd’s remains, thieves first had to move a 300- to 400-pound granite tombstone about ten feet. They then dug a four-and-a-half-foot-deep hole and unearthed the bronze coffin. They pried open the coffin’s lid, smashed a glass case, and extracted the rubber bag containing Todd’s remains. Police, who estimated the entire operation took at least five hours, said that the thieves-because the tombstone was so heavy, there had to be at least two-had dragged some tree branches around the grave to shield themselves. A search of the cemetery later turned up a shovel likely used by the thieves. There were no other clues.

25 From “How a Chicago Detective Found the Stolen Body of Elizabeth Taylor’s Third Husband, Mike Todd” by Geoffrey Johnson:

For a couple of days, police remained stymied, while the media speculated about the who, what, and why of the whole affair. That’s when Anthony Pellicano showed up with some of the answers. On the morning of June 28th, he called Bill Kurtis, then the popular TV news anchor at WBBM/ Channel 2. Pellicano’s company-Voice Interpretation & Analysis-had recently performed some acoustical studies for a U.S. House of Representatives committee investigating the John F. Kennedy assassination, and Kurtis had reported that story. Now, over the telephone, Pellicano told Kurtis he thought he knew the location of Todd’s remains. “I got a tip,” he said (as Kurtis remembers the conversation). “Want to go out and look?”

26 From “How a Chicago Detective Found the Stolen Body of Elizabeth Taylor’s Third Husband, Mike Todd” by Geoffrey Johnson:

Kurtis grabbed a cameraman and rushed out to Forest Park. At some point-he can’t recall exactly when-he also called police. At the cemetery (which Kurtis describes as resembling a savanna, with thickets of ash and oak trees and only a few graves), Pellicano and Kurtis headed for Todd’s grave. Pellicano recited aloud the instructions he had received and began pacing off distances from the grave. Finally, when he had walked about 75 yards, he cried out. “He yelled, ‘I think this is it!'” recalls Kurtis. “I came running over, and sure enough, it was.”

According to news stories at the time, Pellicano found a rubber bag containing the remains beneath a pile of branches, leaves, and dirt. He told the Sun-Times he had relied on a tip he had received from someone likely acting on behalf of the thieves. “I think they felt they made a tremendous mistake,” he said. “The information was volunteered to me. I’m a public figure, and I’ve handled many, many missing figures.”

27 From “Streetwise Gumshoe to the Stars” by Shawn Hubler and James Bates:

A 1983 government sentencing report maintains that a mobster-turned-informant told authorities that two mob figures were the ones who exhumed Todd.

From “Unearthing of Taylor’s 3rd husband’s grave still a Chicago mystery” by John Kass:

Then in 1983, the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago identified two Outfit hoods as the grave robbers who stole Todd’s body: Peter Basile and Glen DeVos. But they weren’t charged with the crime.

One of the federal informants in the Todd case was Outfit figure Salvatore Romano.

Romano claimed Basile told him he’d dug up the bag containing Todd’s remains and dragged it into some bushes. Later, the hit man and government informant Frank Cullotta told authorities the same story. In each account, the ring was not found.

28 From “Streetwise Gumshoe to the Stars” by Shawn Hubler and James Bates:

A 1983 government sentencing report maintains that a mobster-turned-informant told authorities that two mob figures were the ones who exhumed Todd. But the story making the rounds in Chicago even today is that Pellicano orchestrated the event to gain publicity in hopes of being hired to help find Chicago candy heiress Helen Brach, who disappeared in 1977.

“I’ve been hearing that story for years. It’s a great story, but there’s no way I would know if it’s true. The guy is a legend here,” said lawyer Glen Crick, former director of enforcement for the state agency governing private investigators.

29 From “How a Chicago Detective Found the Stolen Body of Elizabeth Taylor’s Third Husband, Mike Todd” by Geoffrey Johnson:

As to the local investigation, Pellicano insisted police might easily have missed the bag containing Todd’s remains on their sweep of the cemetery. “You couldn’t see it coming up on it,” he said. Sgt. Richard Archambault, head of the Forest Park police investigators, concurred, pointing out that, in the wooded cemetery, “it would be possible to miss [the bag] on the first search.”

But in 1994, Joseph Byrnes, a Forest Park police lieutenant, told Los Angeles magazine a different story. “Seven patrolmen and I, walking shoulder to shoulder, searched every inch of that small cemetery, and we found nothing,” he said. “The very next day, Pellicano makes a big deal of finding the remains in a spot we had thoroughly checked.”

30 From “How a Chicago Detective Found the Stolen Body of Elizabeth Taylor’s Third Husband, Mike Todd” by Geoffrey Johnson:

Kurtis, too, thinks it unlikely that police could have missed Todd’s remains. “The police had to have gone over that ground,” he says. “Whoever took [the remains] must have returned them. They were getting too hot to hang on to.”

That doesn’t mean Kurtis thinks Pellicano was the thief, although he hasn’t entirely dismissed that possibility. But he has difficulty accepting a scenario that involves Pellicano stealing Todd’s remains with the intent of later returning them to the cemetery where he could dramatically “find” them. To Kurtis, that just seems like too much work.

31 From “Unearthing of Taylor’s 3rd husband’s grave still a Chicago mystery” by John Kass:

Romano claimed Basile told him he’d dug up the bag containing Todd’s remains and dragged it into some bushes. Later, the hit man and government informant Frank Cullotta told authorities the same story. In each account, the ring was not found.

Prosecutors said that shortly after the grave robbery, an Outfit boss ordered Basile to draw a map “identifying the location of the unearthed body, and he gave it to an organized crime leader.”

32 From “Streetwise Gumshoe to the Stars” by Shawn Hubler and James Bates:

But Pellicano’s critics–Chicago archrival Ernie Rizzo among them–gleefully refer to him as “the grave robber.” And police say the story has become part of the city’s detective lore although there is no evidence linking Pellicano to the disappearance.

Pellicano–along with his defenders in Chicago–says the tale is fueled by professional jealousy.

“Ernie Rizzo is a fruit fly,” Pellicano said in one of his more printable comments about the man.

33 From “The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick:

The incident caught the attention of defense attorney Howard Weitzman, who brought Pellicano to Los Angeles. (He left his wife and five kids in Chicago.) Together they would work on the case that made both their careers: the 1983 drug-entrapment trial of automaker John DeLorean. Desperately trying to raise money to save his company from bankruptcy, DeLorean ran into a government sting fueled by a paid informant and ambitious federal prosecutors. DeLorean was acquitted, and Weitzman gave Pellicano a large share of the credit for tarnishing the informant.

From “Streetwise Gumshoe to the Stars” by Shawn Hubler and James Bates:

In 1983, Pellicano moved to L.A. His first assignment was helping the John Z. DeLorean defense. Pellicano was hired by attorney Howard Weitzman to help the former auto executive beat drug selling charges. Pellicano dissected key government tapes and dug up information that helped undermine prosecution witnesses.

34 From “Delorean defense protests inquiry” by Judith Cummings:

The telephone records of a private investigator working for John Z. DeLorean were subpoenaed by the Government in connection with a purportedly threatening telephone call that the investigator made to the father of a narcotics agent on the DeLorean case, it was disclosed in court today.

This disclosure led to an exchange of charges of threats and intimidation between the defense and the prosecution at the automaker’s trial on charges of cocaine trafficking.

Mr. DeLorean’s lawyers said the investigation of the investigator, Anthony J. Pellicano, was started in June a year ago without their knowledge when the Drug Enforcement Administration obtained six months of Mr. Pellicano’s telephone records on a subpoena. Donald M. Re, a DeLorean lawyer, called this an illegitimate tool being used by drug agency to obtain details of their defense.

On the telephone records subpoena, Mr. Pellicano in an interview, denied that his call to the father of a narcotics agent, John Valestra, had been threatening. Mr. Pellicano, who has worked on the case analyzing the Government’s audio and videotapes for the defense, said he had called a number of ”Valestras” in the United States at random, hoping to find someone able to provide background information on Mr. Valestra.

35 From “Streetwise Gumshoe to the Stars” by Shawn Hubler and James Bates:

Weitzman said Pellicano’s work was “in large part responsible for my ability to win that case.” It was also the start of a profitable friendship. Pellicano will not say how much his Sunset Boulevard firm takes in each year or how much he personally makes. But Pellicano acknowledges that through Weitzman and entertainment lawyer Bertram Fields, he gained entree into the Hollywood A-list. Soon, his clientele included Kevin Costner, Roseanne Arnold, Jackson, [Don] Simpson and other celebrities.

From Dish by Jeannette Walls:

The recovery of Todd’s body made headlines, and a grateful Elizabeth Taylor introduced Pellicano to her Hollywood friends. Los Angeles criminal attorney Howard Weitzman hired Pellicano to work with him, and the pair successfully defended auto executive John DeLorean in a cocaine-trafficking case – even though the FBI caught DeLorean on videotape selling cocaine to an undercover agent. In 1983, Pellicano left Chicago and opened an office on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. There, sources say, he was coached by the notorious Fred Otash, the private investigator for Confidential. In Hollywood, Pellicano quickly became what he calls “the ultimate problem solver.”

36 From “The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick:

His specialty was unique for a private eye: protecting the image of stars. That’s why Michael Jackson, Roseanne Barr, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, James Woods, Farrah Fawcett, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Chris Rock sought him out. Just how much they valued his protection was demonstrated by a phone call from Rock to Pellicano in 2001, asking for help in neutralizing an accusation that he’d had sex with a woman without her consent. “I’m better off getting caught with … needles in my arms,” he told Pellicano in a tape leaked to The New York Times. “Needles with pictures [saying,] ‘Here’s Chris Rock shooting heroin: [That would be] a much [lesser] blow to the career.” No charges were filed.

37 The filmographies on IMDB of Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer.

38 From “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three” by August West, specific page “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three (page 92)”:

Harmon got the job, all right, and the privilege of working for Simpson while he was producing Top Gun and preparing Beverly Hills Cop II. But on October 12, 1988 – a year after leaving the position – she filed a complaint against Don Simpson; Jerry Bruckheimer and S-B [Simpson-Bruckheimer, the production company of the partners] asking $5 million for the emotional distress she suffered during her 20 months of employment. That comes out to $11,500 per working day, which would seem to be more than adequate recompense for a secretary who misspelled calculator on her application.

From “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three” by August West; the sections in quotes are from Harmon’s deposition, where she refers to herself in the third person, specific page “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three (page 92)”:

He repeatedly abused her in front of her co-workers and others. “Every day that Mr. Simpson had come into the office ever since I was employed there, I always serve him his coffee and club soda the minute he hits the door or he starts screaming. On this one particular day, he yelled to me, ‘Monica, get your ass in here,’ so I went to the main office and he accused me of using the wrong type of milk in his coffee. He said that I was using regular milk instead of low-fat milk and I just could not believe it…

“I said, ‘Don, for the past two years I have been putting low-fat milk in your coffee. What you talking about?’

“He starts yelling I am getting him fat and he starts yelling, get him the carton…I went to the refrigerator and got the carton and said, ‘Don, see, it is low-fat…’

“He started screaming that I was lying to him. I am trying to get him fat, and don’t ever put milk in his coffee again from now on. So I got back to my desk and started crying and said, ‘Ginger, I cannot believe this. I cannot believe he is yelling at me for stupid milk.'”

He required her to watch and tolerate illegal and immoral acts. “I have testified that Mr. Simpson used cocaine in his office; that he had others, including Bruckheimer, present when he was doing it; that on at least two occasions he left a pile of cocaine in his office and in his office bathroom and ordered me to clean it up before it was discovered by others.”

Harmon says that in June of 1987 she saw Simpson take “a vial out of his pocket and [he] proceeded to snort in the inside office.” She also claims she was told that Simpson did coke off his desk with Richard Tienken, Eddie Murphy’s agent at the time and an executive producer of Beverly Hills Cop II.

“Simpson maintained lists of girls he used as prostitutes and he required me to keep and update these lists. Periodically he required me to schedule he appointments with some of the prostitutes,” Harmon claims. She complaints that hookers would call the office all the time, and Simpson would not want to talk with them. (Harmon says she once got yelled at, ironically enough, because she put Simpson’s mother on his list of phone calls to return, and he didn’t want to talk to her either. In one deposition Harmon claims that Simpson hadn’t talked to his mother for six years.)

He exposed her to a variety of pornographic and obscene events, documents and statements. “On more than one occasion Simpson played pornographic videotapes in the office in such a way that I and other members of the staff could not help but see it…As a condition of my employment I was required to read lurid and pornographic material.” She also claims she heard that Simpson and members of his staff had appeared in porn films.

39 From “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three” by August West, specific page “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three (page 92)”:

Harmon, a woman of Mexican heritage in her mid-thirties who looks like a dark Stefanie Powers, claims to have worked as an executive secretary at Tilden Specialties, her ex-husband’s now-defunct manufacturing firm. In fact, she never worked for the company, and for much of the time she claims to have been there she was employed as a supermarket clerk.

A section on how much Harmon was suing for:

That comes out to $11,500 per working day, which would seem to be more than adequate recompense for a secretary who misspelled calculator on her application.

40 From “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three” by August West, specific pages “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three (page 93)” and “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three (page 94)”:

The 60-year-old partner in the firm Greenberg, Glusker, Fields, Claman & Machtinger was recently named “the toughest attorney in Hollywood” by American Film. While most entertainment lawyers are content with quietly negotiating deals and taking their cut, Fields actually goes to court, where he has fought for Hoffman, the Beatles, Warren Beatty, Mario Puzo, 20th Century Fox, Gore Vidal and Isabelle Adjani.

Representing Harmon is the firm of Mathews and Evans, which has fewer attorneys in all (four) than Fields’s firm has in its name (five). While Fields works his legal legerdemain out of a plush Century City office, Charles Mathews and William D. Evans are based in Koreatown.

41 From “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three” by August West, specific pages “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three (page 94)”:

For example, the pornographic films that Harmon “could not help but see” really existed. However, they were played in Simpson and Bruckheimer’s office with the door closed and were projected on a monitor in a different office, which Harmon could see from her desk – but only if she turned to her right and looked over her shoulder about 20 feet. If she had been looking straight ahead or down at her work, she could not have seen the picture on the monitor.

Harmon also admitted to stealing into Simpson’s private office the next day and playing the first two minutes of the video: “I wanted to see if that was the tape that they were looking at.” When asked by Bert Fields why she had done this, she answered simply, “Because it was pornographic.”

The obscene documents Harmon complained about are six letters to Simpson written by an aspiring actress. Harmon was obliged to read Simpson’s mail, but it’s tough to sue a guy for receiving dirty letters. She said that one she realized a letter was pornographic, she would stop reading it. But later she admitted to having taken these personal letters out of Simpson’s trash and reread them, naughty words and all.

She confessed to having rented adult movies to watch at home, having attended Chippendales twice and having voluntarily arranged for a male stripper to perform at the office.

42 From “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three” by August West, specific pages “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three (page 95)”:

In an unsigned deposition to Fields, Winberg said that during the time of Harmon’s employment at S-B he had delivered a half gram of cocaine to her pretty much every day. Winberg said he had seen her do cocaine 100 times during her tenure at S-B and afterward. He also said Harmon had told him she was paying for her drugs out of S-B petty cash.

43 From “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three” by August West, specific pages “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three (page 95)”:

The more Winberg talked, the less plausible Harmon’s already dubious shy-girl image became.

He said she had hired limousines and a messenger service for her private use and billed the company, and that she had once ordered a Paramount truck to move her cocaine deliverer’s mother’s furniture out of state.

44 From “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three” by August West, specific pages “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three (page 95)”:

According to Winberg, Harmon started discussing the possibility of suing S-B in early 1987, about six months before she left her job. “She was pretty much upset all the time,” said Winberg. “She said that they were rich, and that she was going to get them. You know, they didn’t deserve it, to have that much money…She said that [Simpson] called her a cunt all the time.”

45 From “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three” by August West, specific pages “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three (page 96)”:

Winberg, who wouldn’t talk without Pellicano’s permission, said only that he regretted that he had named Buddy Brown as Monica’s drug dealer. But not half as much as Brown did.

“I’m no drug dealer,” fumes Brown, Simpson’s imprudent racquetball opponent [an earlier part of the piece deals with Brown not letting Simpson win at the game when they play together]. “But I’ve sure been treated like one. I’ve lost my job, I’ve lost my apartment, and I’m two months behind on my car payments.”

Brown, half black, half Greek and 34 years old, spent 7 years at Paramount, the last few working alongside Winberg. “I don’t know why he’d name me. That guy was a life abuser, a suicidal crack addict. I felt sorry for him. I gave him my old clothes. My wife cooked dinner for him. I just don’t understand it,” says Brown.

46 From “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three” by August West, specific pages “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three (page 95)”:

Why would Winberg confess to delivering cocaine – a felony – merely to help in a stranger’s civil lawsuit? Possibly because of the $4,000 that Pellicano lent him. Or the $500 Pellicano provided for meals during his three-day stay in L.A.

47 From “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three” by August West, specific pages “Mr. Simpson, your slut is on line three (page 95)”:

When I first tried to contact Don Simpson about his legal troubles, it was Pellicano who returned the call. “Don doesn’t want a story. We don’t want you to do a story,” he told me. When I called Simpson, Pellicano would phone me and ask why I was calling them. He did his best to let me know he was out there. When I talked to people who had had run-ins with Pellicano, they all said the same thing: “Don’t fuck with him.”

48 From “I’m Don Simpson; And you’re not” by David Thomson:

He didn’t walk out of Alaska as a child. The walk is too long, and Don always wanted such staples as functional bathrooms. That he was a very bad boy in Anchorage is not in doubt. But he left at the requisite age to attend the University of Oregon, where he was a prize student. Although his subsequent films give no hint of this, Don was a bit of an intellectual: indeed, he would sometimes say that he hired in call girls for the weekend so as to discuss Dostoevsky – once the formalities had been transacted.

So he is out of university some time in the late Sixties, which is about as close to the Baptist hell as we’re going to get – unless there’s a meltdown in every last vestige of order. He had reached San Francisco, where the attempt at meltdown was being earnestly pursued. He was working for a showbusiness advertising agency and running publicity for the First International Erotic Film Festival. This is important, because – despite the Dostoevsky – Don had a very basic attitude to the movies: he was for sensation, speed, violence, nudity, getting the point straightaway, and things the public had never seen or done before.

49 From “Simpson Unplugged”, a series of excerpts of interview answers he gave in the documentary The Big Bang, made by his friend James Toback:

It’s really tough to escape early conditioning. I mean, I was brainwashed. I came from a family that was – and is – extremely religious. Southern Baptist, fundamentalist Christians who hit you in the head in the morning and made you pray at night. Went to church three times a week. Thanked God for the fact that He didn’t kill you that day. Because we were all born evil, nasty, dirty people. Except if we hung on long enough in this life, God would give it all back to us in the next.

A pastor on a prayer-meeting night had gotten me in the corner of this cold, dank basement. He had become aware that I had been looking at the ladies in church – not the girls but the mothers. There was a particular woman, and he made a comment that I was apparently lusting after her. Mind you, I was 10 years old. And this is a man who, my whole life, had been my mentor and moral benefactor. So I said, “Minister Culley, I have these thoughts, and I have these feelings.” He said, “If you think about it beyond this moment, God will strike you. And if you do anything about it, you will live in hell forever.”

At that moment, I said, “This is bullshit. I’m gonna play Little League and get laid.” I knew then that I would leave and never go back. I didn’t escape my roots, I ran away from them – eternally.

50 From “I’m Don Simpson; And you’re not” by David Thomson:

For years, Don Simpson had been a cocaine freak, without apparent problems. He had it under control. The blow just kept him firing and moving. But years of cocaine can often lead to paranoia, delusions and depression. More to the point, in 1990, Don was 45. For 20 years he had worked very hard, which in Hollywood is often a matter of keeping up the show of work, of meetings, taking calls, making deals, when lesser people are dropping. Don didn’t drop; he was always there, still grinning, in the poker of business. He might be down on someone and still haggling over points. He ate – ice cream, peanut butter, junk food – and he did cocaine; and he screwed hookers. He was never married, or close to it. But he had a well-earned reputation for funding orgies, and word got out – it’s a word-of-mouth town – that the orgies were sado-masochistic. He liked to impose pain, indignity and humiliation on women; and then he liked to go away as their friends.

51 From “I’m Don Simpson; And you’re not” by David Thomson:

He helped to write and played a small part in the action movie Cannonball, but he was more importantly a thrusting new executive, becoming more powerful at Paramount with every quarter. He figures occasionally in Julia Phillips’s book, You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again. She sees him as a relentless, ape-like, funny, attractive and avid cocaine-user, a weird mix of stupid and smart, right brain and left so at war you could see the zip in the middle of his head. They sort of have sex in the way of people who are talking dirty to feel out the chance of doing business:

“When we get back to the hotel, Don is still wired from the Redford evening, so we have a nightcap in my room. We get into some heavy necking, but he is very uptight about my married status. I say something corny, `Don’t make me beg,’ but the farthest he ever goes is down on me … After this quasi-sexual encounter, he feels very free about expressing his preferences, which seem to revolve mainly around turning women over and fucking them in the ass. He talks about angry fucking, and I am grateful we never get to intercourse, because I don’t think I’d like it very much his way. We stay tight friends, but it is by silent mutual agreement that there will be no more sex.”

52 This quote is from the BBC documentary devoted to Simpson, “A Death in Hollywood”. It can currently be found in youtube, transferred from an old videotape copy, in five parts: part one, part two, part three, part four, part five.

Alexandra Datig

53 From “Don Simpson’s Death Showed Depth of Abuse” by Chuck Philips:

By visiting multiple doctors and pharmacies, Simpson was able to conceal the vast quantity and array of drugs prescribed to him, as well as the frequency with which he procured them. In many cases, the famous 52-year-old producer also masked his identity by having prescriptions illegally written for him under a pseudonym.

Simpson had no difficulty getting such dangerous and addictive narcotics as morphine sulfate and Percodan, which require federally regulated triplicate prescriptions. (When a triplicate is issued, a copy goes to the doctor, the pharmacy and the state agency that monitors controlled substances.) Simpson also had acquired a significant stash of Dexedrine, Seconal, Xanax, lithium and other controlled substances.

54 From “I’m Don Simpson; And you’re not” by David Thomson:

For 20 years he had worked very hard, which in Hollywood is often a matter of keeping up the show of work, of meetings, taking calls, making deals, when lesser people are dropping. Don didn’t drop; he was always there, still grinning, in the poker of business. He might be down on someone and still haggling over points. He ate – ice cream, peanut butter, junk food – and he did cocaine; and he screwed hookers.

From “Don Simpson’s Death Showed Depth of Abuse” by Chuck Philips:

Despite a comeback last spring with “Crimson Tide” and “Dangerous Minds,” the producer’s weight had ballooned 50 pounds and he was succumbing to serious addiction. Associates say he became reclusive, rarely leaving his mansion even to visit the sets of his movies.

55 From Fatal Attraction: How Sex and Drugs Brutally Ripped Apart Hot Hollywood Team” by Thomas R. King and John Lippman:

But even as the hits were opening, the partnership was quietly crumbling. Disney executives say they began to see less and less of Mr. Simpson, who was working out of his home or spending time at Canyon Ranch to fight his constant weight problem. Mr. Bruckheimer seemed to be carrying the load. Mr. Simpson never even visited the set of “Crimson Tide.”

But Mr. Bruckheimer remained loyal to his erratic partner. At studio meetings, Mr. Bruckheimer would sometimes show up alone. “Is Don coming?” one executive says they would ask Mr. Bruckheimer. “I don’t know,” was his frequent response. But Kathy Nelson, Disney’s president of music and a friend of the producing duo, says Mr. Simpson “would respond in writing or sometimes with a phone call to every single memo I sent him.”

56 From “Fatal Attraction” by Chuck Philips And Carla Hall:

Steve Ammerman was adept at reinventing himself. At Washington State, when a knee injury sidelined the former high school football star from Sandpoint, Ida., Ammerman said goodby to football dreams and lackluster grades. He transferred to the University of Oregon, turned himself into a high achiever and was admitted to medical school at the Oregon Health Sciences University.

57 From “Fatal Attraction” by Chuck Philips And Carla Hall:

Ammerman pursued a residency in orthopedics in Washington, but tired of that and moved to Los Angeles 12 years ago to practice emergency medicine. “He liked the challenge of all the different cases,” Capri recalled. “He was very good at trauma.”

And he was good at business. He started a company that contracted doctors out to emergency rooms and he created a billing service for hospital emergency rooms. Operating out of an office in Paramount, Ammerman’s firm provided emergency room services to the Beverly Hills Medical Center, the Santa Ana-based Coastal Community Hospital and the El Monte Community Hospital, among others.

58 From “Fatal Attraction” by Chuck Philips And Carla Hall:

Ammerman pursued a residency in orthopedics in Washington, but tired of that and moved to Los Angeles 12 years ago to practice emergency medicine. “He liked the challenge of all the different cases,” Capri recalled. “He was very good at trauma.”

59 From Fatal Attraction: How Sex and Drugs Brutally Ripped Apart Hot Hollywood Team” by Thomas R. King and John Lippman:

Friends noticed that Mr. Simpson, who had a weight problem and a penchant for yo-yo dieting, seemed increasingly determined to reinvent himself. He underwent a series of plastic-surgery operations; one friend says that among the procedures he had were a chin implant, several face lifts, and placenta injections. He began disappearing for months at a time, telling friends he was at Canyon Ranch, where most visitors stay only a few days. And he began talking about finding new projects in which he could appear as an actor.

60 From “Fatal Attraction” by Chuck Philips And Carla Hall:

And he struggled to look the part. Always interested in bodybuilding and health food diets, he continued his search for self-perfection with liposuction and, less than two weeks before his death, a hair transplant.

He had a natural ease that he used to ingratiate himself. “He sought out certain people he thought would help him,” Capri said.

Simpson was one of those people. Ammerman met the producer at a Santa Monica gym more than five years ago.

But he couldn’t solve his own drug problem. His tools of abuse were prescription drugs–“amphetamines and anxiety drugs like Xanax,” said Capri, who watched Ammerman’s problem grow from seemingly casual use in medical school to problematic use in the mid-’80s.

61 From “Fatal Attraction” by Chuck Philips And Carla Hall:

As he struggled for recognition, Ammerman brought along his demons–an addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol that dogged him for years. He checked into rehabilitation facilities twice and stayed clean for five years. Confident of his ability to fight his own battle, he even fashioned himself into something of an expert on drugs, friends say.

But in the months before his death, he had begun to slip again. In April, Santa Monica police arrested Ammerman after finding him in a drug-induced trance, standing naked on the ninth-floor ledge of an oceanfront apartment building.

62 From Fatal Attraction: How Sex and Drugs Brutally Ripped Apart Hot Hollywood Team” by Thomas R. King and John Lippman:

Ammerman believed that, for Simpson to become clean, it was necessary to prescribe drugs that would ease the painful withdrawal symptoms of other medications that he was taking–a “dangerously unorthodox” regimen, according to a government pharmacist interviewed for this article.

63 From “Fatal Attraction” by Chuck Philips And Carla Hall:

But in the months before his death, he had begun to slip again. In April, Santa Monica police arrested Ammerman after finding him in a drug-induced trance, standing naked on the ninth-floor ledge of an oceanfront apartment building.

64 From “The doctor, the movie producer, and the big sleep” by Michael Fleeman:

Cut to Ammerman pumping iron in the mid-1980s at a gym in Santa Monica. The gym rats are Hollywood players. Ammerman wants to play too.

The gym rats ask if Ammerman can get them amino acid supplements so they can build big muscles. Ammerman starts writing prescriptions.

65 From “The doctor, the movie producer, and the big sleep” by Michael Fleeman:

By 1993, Ammerman can’t keep still. Literally.

He sees a Dr. Robert H. Gerner at the Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder and Child Adolescent Psychopharmacology Institute and is diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.

Gerner is a well-known practitioner of psychopharmacology, identified in print as an “expert.”

He is also being investigated by the state Medical Board.

He has been accused, according to board records, of fondling a female patient as part of something he called “rubbing therapy.”

He also allegedly prescribed about 7,000 pills to the same patient, a drug addict, from 1988 to 1990. The pills include amphetamines and antidepressants.

Gerner treats Ammerman for four months in 1993, medical records show, and writes prescriptions for five different medications. They amount to 700 pills including amphetamines, an anti-hyperactivity drug and a potent stimulant known as methamphetamine.

Within months, Ammerman switches doctors. He chooses Nomi Frederick, also a psychopharmacologist who studied under Gerner at UCLA.

Ammerman apparently lies to his new doctor. Her notes indicate he “denies current substance abuse” and incorrectly describe him as a “Harvard grad.”

Frederick first prescribes a new antidepressant, then switches Ammerman to Ritalin, Prozac and Dexedrine. Ammerman prescribes himself sleeping pills.

Sometime in the early 90s, the Medical Board gets wind of Ammerman’s problems. The state gets him into detox twice.

It doesn’t work.

66 From “The doctor, the movie producer, and the big sleep” by Michael Fleeman:

To maintain confidentiality, Ammerman thinks up a pseudonym for Simpson: Dan Wilson.

“Dan Wilson,” says Capri, “is Don Simpson.”

To help with the treatment, Ammerman recruits his own doctor, Frederick.

A record from the Brent Air Pharmacy in Brentwood shows that on July 22, 1995, Frederick prescribes Vistaril, an anti-anxiety medication, to a Dan Wilson at Simpson’s address. Writing prescriptions to a phony person is illegal in California.

Then, in August alone, sources say, Frederick prescribes about 800 pills for Simpson. Records show prescriptions for Dexadrine, Percocet, Valium, Seconal and morphine sulfate.

From “Don Simpson’s Death Showed Depth of Abuse” by Chuck Philips:

On Friday, authorities armed with warrants raided the offices of two Westside psychiatrists–Robert Hugh Gerner and Nomi J. Fredrick–in connection with the probe. Fredrick’s home also was searched.

Gerner, who treated Simpson in 1993 and 1994, is on probation for overprescribing controlled substances to another patient with whom he had sex, according to the California Medical Board.

Fredrick, according to records obtained by The Times, dispensed large amounts of addictive drugs to Simpson and other wealthy Los Angeles residents, including oil heiress Aileen Getty, who obtained more than 4,000 pills from Fredrick over the last year.

Many of the drugs at the heart of the probe were prescribed last summer while Simpson was undergoing detoxification at his home by friend Stephen Ammerman, a Pacific Palisades physician with a long history of substance abuse.

67 From “Fatal Attraction” by Chuck Philips And Carla Hall:

A few minutes later, Michelle D. McElroy, a personal assistant to Simpson and the woman who made the 911 call, directs paramedics to the pool house.

Ammerman is nude and slumped against the shower door, his long legs stretched out in front of him, blood dripping from his nose. Just 10 days earlier, his head had been reforested with a hair transplant.

If his dreams had come true, he would have become a successful Hollywood filmmaker–powerful, respected, earning millions. Instead, Steve Ammerman’s life and long quest for success as a movie maker came to an abrupt end two months ago in the pool house shower at prominent film producer Don Simpson’s Bel-Air home. An assistant to Simpson found Ammerman dead of a drug overdose on the morning of Aug. 15.

From “The doctor, the movie producer, and the big sleep” by Michael Fleeman:

68 From “Fatal Attraction” by Chuck Philips And Carla Hall:

Ammerman was at Simpson’s house almost daily during the last three weeks of his life. Ammerman told friends he was acting as Simpson’s doctor. His screenwriting collaborators say that Simpson, meanwhile, was advising the fledgling filmmaker.

From “Producer’s house sanitized before investigators arrived” by The Associated Press:

A toxicology report said Ammerman, 44, died of a drug overdose, with a large amount of morphine in his system. He was staying at Simpson’s home after undergoing a hair transplant.

From Fatal Attraction: How Sex and Drugs Brutally Ripped Apart Hot Hollywood Team” by Thomas R. King and John Lippman:

Mr. Toback, the screenwriter, says that Dr. Ammerman’s death was a major shock for Mr. Simpson. An autopsy found cocaine, morphine, Valium and the antidepressant drug Venlafaxine in Dr. Ammerman’s system. Police ruled the death an accidental drug overdose.

69 From “Producer’s house sanitized before investigators arrived” by The Associated Press:

The areas in movie producer Don Simpson’s house where he and a friend died from drug overdoses appear to have been cleaned up before investigators arrived, authorities said.

A coroner’s report, attached to Simpson’s autopsy and toxicology analysis, described the Ammerman scene in fractured English: “Investigators impression the scene had been sanitized.”

Simpson’s private investigator, Anthony Pellicano, was at Simpson’s house after Ammerman’s body was found.

“I didn’t sanitize anything. The police and the paramedics got there before I got there,” Pellicano said.

One coroner’s document said Ammerman had a “drug background” and noted the fatal level of morphine in his system. It made no reference to police finding any morphine or heroin in the guest house. The only drugs found at the scene was a vial of Valium and a small syringe, documents said.

From “The doctor, the movie producer, and the big sleep” by Michael Fleeman:

The coroner determines Ammerman died of a mixture of Valium, speed, cocaine and enough morphine to knock out a horse.

That much is certain, but conflicting statements, questionable police work and the possibility of missing evidence plague the investigation.

For one thing, the drugs police find on the estate don’t match the drugs in Ammerman’s body.

A coroner’s investigator finds a vial of Valium and a syringe in the pocket of a pair of Ammerman’s shorts. The Valium has been prescribed by Ammerman two weeks earlier to the nonexistent Dan Wilson [a pseudonym used by Simpson].

But what he cannot find, and what no one else can find, is any trace of morphine on the estate. Police reports also make no mention of finding speed or cocaine there.

A coroner’s report quotes police as saying the scene appeared to have been “sanitized.” Another coroner’s document says police had trouble “getting information from people present.”

70 From “Fatal Attraction” by Chuck Philips And Carla Hall:

Anthony Pellicano, a private investigator who has worked for the film producer since 1989, acknowledged that Ammerman was often at Simpson’s house during July and August, but denied that Ammerman ever treated Simpson.

“Ammerman was never Don’s doctor,” Pellicano said. “There was no medical treatment going on for drugs or for anything else . . . Ammerman was a hanger-on, one of many who just wouldn’t leave Don alone. It’s unfortunate that this guy committed suicide, but honestly, we wish it would’ve happened at someone else’s house.”

According to government sources, records indicate that Ammerman prescribed dextroamphetamine in 1990 and morphine in 1993 for Simpson.

71 From “The doctor, the movie producer, and the big sleep” by Michael Fleeman:

[Ammerman] walks into the pool house of the Simpson estate, where his girlfriend is sleeping. He complains about being too hot. He takes a shower. He goes swimming naked. He does exercises. He crawls into his girlfriend’s bed wearing a wet towel. He makes growling noises.

The girlfriend, a flight attendant, suspects the doctor’s been taking wrong doses of his medicine again.

The doctor doesn’t want to talk about it. The girlfriend bolts, pulling out of the mansion’s driveway about 1:30 a.m.

Was there an argument on the estate the night Ammerman died? Police reports say his girlfriend overheard an argument, but there is no mention of who is arguing or about what.

Simpson also gives police a statement and makes no mention of an argument. Police apparently don’t follow up.

Who found the body – and when – is never resolved.

Police reports say McElroy reported finding the body about 11:10 a.m. when she walked into the pool house to get some sausages.

Simpson later tells screenwriter James Toback he found Ammerman’s body “out by the pool” about 6 a.m. – about five hours before the 911 call. Simpson tells Vanity Fair magazine he found the body at 9 a.m.

Simpson and his friends can’t even agree on who Ammerman was and what his relationship was to the famous producer.

72 From “Fatal Attraction” by Chuck Philips And Carla Hall:

“Ammerman was never Don’s doctor,” Pellicano said. “There was no medical treatment going on for drugs or for anything else . . . Ammerman was a hanger-on, one of many who just wouldn’t leave Don alone. It’s unfortunate that this guy committed suicide, but honestly, we wish it would’ve happened at someone else’s house.”

73 From “The doctor, the movie producer, and the big sleep” by Michael Fleeman:

To Vanity Fair, Simpson describes Ammerman as a Harvard graduate and a former football All-American. He was neither.

“Pellicano found out that the guy had a history of substance abuse I had no idea of that,” Simpson tells the magazine. “I’ve never done drugs with him in my life.”

Simpson’s friends find this last part hard to believe.

74 From Fatal Attraction: How Sex and Drugs Brutally Ripped Apart Hot Hollywood Team” by Thomas R. King and John Lippman:

After the body was discovered, one of the first calls Mr. Simpson made was to Mr. Bruckheimer, an associate says. By this point, according to friends, Mr. Bruckheimer’s wife was encouraging him to end the partnership. The doctor’s death, they say, finally pushed him to the point of no return.

Over the next four months the pair worked out the details of their separation. The finale came on Dec. 19, when they announced their professional divorce.

75 From “The doctor, the movie producer, and the big sleep” by Michael Fleeman:

On the last night of his life, Don Simpson can’t stop talking about his big plans for the future.

The next day, Jan. 19, 1996, Simpson’s body is found slumped by his toilet, a biography of filmmaker Oliver Stone at his side.

From “Amorality Tale: The Last Days of Don Simpson” by Richard Natale, specifically “Amorality Tale: The Last Days of Don Simpson (page 103)”:

[Gastroentrologist Dr. William Stuppy] charted Simpson’s autonomic nervous system over a 24-hour period and was alarmed by his findings. Simpson’s overdependence on uppers and downers – Percodan, Percocet and Dexedrine – placed him at high risk of “sudden death” for not a heart attack but a sudden cessation of his heartbeat. Stuppy says, “What I read from Simpson’s chart was like a singing telegram: You are going to die!” He told Simpson death “would most likely happen either at the dinner table, on the can or when waking up.”

76 From “Don Simpson’s Death Showed Depth of Abuse” by Chuck Philips:

It was no secret in Hollywood that producer Don Simpson had a drug problem. But the depth of his addiction was not revealed until the night he died.

On Jan. 19, police discovered more than 2,200 pills and tablets stockpiled in alphabetical order in a bedroom closet next to the bathroom where Simpson’s body was found.

From “The doctor, the movie producer, and the big sleep” by Michael Fleeman:

When paramedics arrive, they find a house that looks like a pharmacy. Scattered about are more than 80 bottles of prescription medication containing some 2,000 pills. Sixty-three of the bottles were prescribed by one man, Dr. Stephen Ammerman.

77 From “Producer’s house sanitized before investigators arrived” by The Associated Press:

Coroner’s reports obtained Friday by The Associated Press suggest that police failed to find the drugs that killed Simpson and Dr. Stephen Ammerman.

Simpson, who teamed up with Jerry Bruckheimer to produce such hits as “Flashdance,” “Beverly Hills Cop” and “Top Gun,” was found dead Jan. 19. Ammerman was found dead in the guest house at Simpson’s Bel-Air estate five months earlier, on Aug. 10.

A coroner’s report, attached to Simpson’s autopsy and toxicology analysis, described the Ammerman scene in fractured English: “Investigators impression the scene had been sanitized.”

Referring to the scene after Simpson’s death, the report said: “At scene police suspect the same in this case.”

One coroner’s document said Ammerman had a “drug background” and noted the fatal level of morphine in his system. It made no reference to police finding any morphine or heroin in the guest house. The only drugs found at the scene was a vial of Valium and a small syringe, documents said.

The report said Simpson was “said to have histories of PCP and cocaine abuse” and his death was linked to cocaine use. Yet police reported they found only prescription medication in Simpson’s house after his death.

From “The doctor, the movie producer, and the big sleep” by Michael Fleeman:

When the toxicology report comes in, it is longer than the credits on some of Simpson’s movies. His blood contains the chemicals that make up Uniso, Atarax, Vistaril, Librium, Valium, Compazine, Xanax, Desyrel and Tigan. Cocaine is also detected.

The official cause of death: massive amounts of drugs assaulting Simpson’s fibrous heart.

78 From Fatal Attraction: How Sex and Drugs Brutally Ripped Apart Hot Hollywood Team” by Thomas R. King and John Lippman:

But Mr. Simpson then disappeared for weeks and seemed to be in hiding shortly after Stephen W. Ammerman was found dead in his pool house on Aug. 15. Some friends say that Dr. Ammerman, 44, had been hired to help direct Mr. Simpson’s detoxification program. But he also was an aspiring screenwriter who had sought Mr. Simpson’s advice.

Rumors began to swirl that the Simpson and Bruckheimer partnership was on the rocks. Anthony Pellicano, a well-known private investigator, started acting as Mr. Simpson’s spokesman, and adamantly denied that a breakup was near. Yesterday, he said that Dr. Ammerman wasn’t treating Mr. Simpson and that he was simply a “hanger on.”

From “Fatal Attraction” by Chuck Philips and Carla Hall:

“I wouldn’t get tangled with Hollywood for all the tea in China,” his father said. “I think that’s the screwiest place in the world. I could never understand his infatuation with all that stuff.”

79 From “Nightmare in Neverland” by Maureen Orth:

When the father became more and more irate and demanded a meeting, the mother confided in Jackson, who in turn called his lawyer, Bertram Fields, to intervene. Fields did so aggressively, even though minor custody disputes are hardly what he, as one of show business’s most visible litigators, normally gets paid $500 an hour for. Fields called in private investigator/negotiator/forensic audio specialist Anthony Pellicano.

From Michael Jackson: The Magic, The Madness, The Whole Story, 1958-2009 by J. Randy Taraborelli:

Michael’s camp hired high-powered criminal defence attorney Howard Weitzman to represent him; he read a statement prepared by his client: ‘I am confident the department will conduct a fair and thorough investigation and that its results will demonstrate that there was no wrong-doing on my part. I intend to continue with my world tour.’

80 From “Gloves Come Off in Damage Control by Jackson Camp” by David Ferrell and Chuck Philips:

As the Aug. 21 police raid threatened to spill the accusations into the public realm, Pellicano sought to act quickly, enlisting Weitzman’s services before flying from Bangkok, Thailand, to Los Angeles.

Even the first sketchy media accounts of the investigation, which surfaced a few days later, contained Pellicano’s spin on the case. Initial reports contained no reference to molestation, but quoted the investigator saying police were acting on “an extortion attempt gone awry.”

81 From “Gloves Come Off in Damage Control by Jackson Camp” by David Ferrell and Chuck Philips:

Pellicano followed by giving previously undisclosed details of the alleged extortion attempt. In phone calls and meetings spanning six weeks, Pellicano alleged during interviews, the boy’s father had threatened to ruin Jackson’s career unless Jackson paid $20 million in a series of movie development deals.

From “Nightmare in Neverland” by Maureen Orth:

He called Barry Rothman and told him what had happened. They arranged a meeting immediately in Rothman’s office.

“The doctor wants to close down his dental practice and he wants to write full-time, and what he wants is this,” Rothman supposedly tells Pellicano: “Four movie deals, $5 million each.”

“And I look at him like he’s absolutely crazy. You want $20 million? There’s no fucking way that’s going to happen. I’m not going to pay $20 million and for what?” Once again, Pellicano says, his mind races: Maybe Rothman is lying how do I get this on tape? Later, they go back and forth on the telephone and arrange another meeting with the father at Rothman’s office for August 9.

82 From “Trouble Shooter” by Bill Hewitt:

Anthony Pellicano, Hollywood’s most famous private investigator, ushers a visitor into his inner sanctum, a room in his Los Angeles office crammed with enough computers and electronic gear to make a cyberpunk swoon. Pellicano, 49, has something he wants to share a tape, he says, that will show that the allegations of child molestation leveled against his client Michael Jackson are nothing more than an extortion plot gone bad. Mostly the recording sounds like two guys haggling over business. A former lawyer for the father of the 13-year-old accuser tells Pellicano that the father, ostensibly negotiating a screenwriting gig with Jackson, wanted more than the $350,000 deal that had been offered. Aired earlier at a press conference, the tape is suggestive but far from conclusive. Listening to the conversation yet again, Pellicano can scarcely contain himself, at one point excitedly grabbing a visitor’s arm in a viselike grip. “It absolutely happened,” says Pellicano of the alleged extortion attempt. “I mean, he acknowledges that on the tape.”

From “Gloves Come Off in Damage Control by Jackson Camp” by David Ferrell and Chuck Philips:

The private eye also tracked down child friends of Jackson who might help paint a positive image of the singer. In one of several interviews with The Times, the investigator described his role as that of a far-ranging problem-solver: “I had to lay out the chessboard and say: ‘What does the public think? How will this affect Michael and all of the other deals that are in the works for him? And the sponsors involved?’

83 On the tape Pellicano made, from “Gloves Come Off in Damage Control by Jackson Camp” by David Ferrell and Chuck Philips:

Pellicano appeared at a news conference with Weitzman on Wednesday and released a tape, one Pellicano said he made just before the scandal broke. In the 23-minute tape, he said, he was talking to the father’s attorney about the demands–but no demands were stated explicitly on the tape.

“We didn’t release the tape earlier because we didn’t think it was necessary,” Weitzman said. “It was just a strategy we employed.”

From “Nightmare in Neverland” by Maureen Orth:

Later that day or the next, the stepfather, in an effort to help his wife, secretly recorded three long phone conversations with the father and reported back to Fields and Pellicano. (Ironically, Pellicano distributed the tape to the media to bolster his side, but the tape is crudely edited, full of erasures, and at times actually seems to help the father’s case.) From Jackson’s point of view, the tape would have been deeply disturbing, not only because on it the father threatens to “ruin Michael’s career” and bring him down, but also because he implies that he has the proof to do so: “When the facts are put together, it’s going to be bigger than all of us put together, and the whole thing is going to crash down on everybody and destroy everybody in sight.” Jamie’s father says Michael “is an evil guy. He’s worse than bad, and I have the evidence to prove it.”

84 From “Jackson Aides Go Back on the Offensive” by Amy Wallace and Jim Newton:

Shortly after that tape was obtained by CBS News and The Times, Rizzo, the private investigator who said he represented the family of the boy, declared that Pellicano had deleted sections of the tape.

“In the part he cuts out, the father says: ‘I want Jackson in jail, and I want my child in therapy,'” Rizzo said. “Does that sound like extortion?”

From “3 More Players Emerge in the Jackson Case” by Jim Newton and Jim Newton:

Late in the day, Hirsch, the lawyer for the boy’s father, disavowed the private investigator and said Rizzo did not speak for the family. Doubts about Rizzo mounted further when he could not produce evidence that he worked for the boy’s mother, as he had claimed.

“I wasn’t hired by Hirsch,” Rizzo said. “I was hired by (the boy’s father). Hirsch can’t fire me. He didn’t hire me…Until (the boy’s father) tells me different, that’s where it’s at.”

In Chicago, colleagues of the investigator described him as a colorful private eye who lost his professional license after being forced into a hiatus by a conviction for illegal wiretapping.

“Ernie isn’t well liked, possibly because his colleagues are jealous, possibly because he does not always do things within the law,” said Richard Fries, a veteran investigator who has practiced in Chicago for 20 years and who sits on the state licensing board. “He had lost his license for almost 10 years, and he just got it back, let’s see, in January or December.”

Fries said Rizzo failed the test for reinstatement the first time he took it but passed it on the second try.

The bad blood between Rizzo and Pellicano dates back years to when both worked as private investigators in Chicago. On Tuesdays, they gave no indications that a truce is in the offing.

“I’ve called him a fraud since Day 1,” Rizzo said.

For his part, Pellicano dismissed Rizzo as “an ambulance chaser” from Chicago drawn to the case by the prospects of getting publicity.

From “How a Chicago Detective Found the Stolen Body of Elizabeth Taylor’s Third Husband, Mike Todd” by Geoffrey Johnson:

So exactly who looted Mike Todd’s grave? And how could Forest Park police have overlooked the remains? A 1993 profile of Pellicano in the Los Angeles Times cited a 1983 government sentencing report that claimed a mobster-turned-informant told authorities that two Mob figures were the ones who exhumed Todd.

But, the article went on, the story making the rounds in Chicago even today is that Pellicano orchestrated the event to gain publicity in hopes of being hired to help find Chicago candy heiress Helen Brach, who disappeared in 1977. According to the Times, the PI’s critics including Ernie Rizzo, another colorful Chicago private eye gleefully referred to Pellicano as the grave robber. Pellicano, reported the Times, dismissed Rizzo as a fruit fly. (Rizzo died in 2006.)

85 From Michael Jackson: The Magic, The Madness, The Whole Story, 1958-2009 by J. Randy Taraborelli:

On 25 August, in an effort to do more so-called ‘damage control’, the day after Michael performed his first show in Bangkok, Anthony Pellicano arranged that the media have access to two young friends of Michael’s, Brett Barnes and Wade Robson. In front of lights, cameras and microphones from news outlets around the world, Brett admitted that he and Michael had slept together on many occasions, but with no sexual overtones. ‘He kisses you like you kiss your mother,’ said the eleven-year-old. ‘It’s not unusual for him to hug, kiss and nuzzle up to you, and stuff.’

Wade, who was ten, also said he had slept in the same bed as Michael, but ‘just as a friend’. He said, ‘Michael is a very, very kind person, really nice and sweet. Sure, I slept with him on dozens of occasions but the bed was huge.’

Anthony Pellicano’s offering of Wade and Brett to the press did little to help Michael’s case: in fact, it was thought by many observers to have made things worse.

From “Nightmare in Neverland” by Maureen Orth:

Michael Jackson’s defense: “If it’s a 35-year-old pedophile, then it’s obvious why he’s sleeping with little boys. But if it’s Michael Jackson, it doesn’t mean anything,” says Anthony Pellicano. “You could say it’s strange, it’s inappropriate, it’s weird. You can use all the adjectives you want to. But is it criminal? No. Is it immoral? No.”

86 From “Nightmare in Neverland” by Maureen Orth:

As much as in any political campaign, media manipulation and spin are crucial in a volatile case like this. Pellicano worked tirelessly to shape the coverage, with mixed results. Early on, in his most controversial action, Pellicano introduced to the TV news cameras two young boys who said that they were close friends of Michael Jackson’s and had shared the same bed with him, but that he had never done anything to them. Many people then thought that Pellicano’s effort to clear Jackson had backfired. “Do you know an adult now who is not absolutely convinced that Michael Jackson did it?” said a prominent criminal attorney. “Pellicano ruined it.”

87 From Michael Jackson: The Magic, The Madness, The Whole Story, 1958-2009 by J. Randy Taraborelli:

Anthony Pellicano’s offering of Wade and Brett to the press did little to help Michael’s case: in fact, it was thought by many observers to have made things worse. Michael was actually unhappy about Anthony’s decision to put the boys forth when he heard about it in Thailand. ‘That’s not good,’ he said according to an adviser of his at the time. ‘That makes me look even worse, I think. It’s not good.’

88 From “Investigator, Lawyer Quit Jackson’s Defense Team” by Jim Newton and Sonia Nazario, published on December 22, 1993:

Two controversial members of Michael Jackson’s defense team–a lawyer who blundered in court and a private investigator whose tactics and public comments drew fire–have resigned from the case as Jackson continues to battle allegations that he sexually molested a young boy.

Meanwhile, new details emerged Tuesday about a potential second child molestation victim who has been interviewed by police and social service workers during the last two months. The child and his parent, a former Jackson employee, were interviewed jointly by investigators and told them that Jackson fondled the boy’s buttocks on several occasions, according to a source close to the investigation.

The new allegations come amid news of the shake-up in the Jackson camp. Private investigator Anthony Pellicano and lawyer Bertram Fields, one of Jackson’s team of legal advisers, resigned privately in recent weeks–Pellicano quit last Wednesday and Fields quit Dec. 3–sources close to the entertainer said.

On the mistakes of Bert Fields, during the Jackson case, from “Nightmare in Neverland” by Maureen Orth:

In the course of the hearing, Bert Fields, Jackson’s own lawyer, misinterpreting information hastily given to him by Jackson’s criminal attorney, Howard Weitzman, told the judge that a grand jury in Santa Barbara had issued two subpoenas for witnesses, adding, “You can’t get closer to an indictment than that.” Weitzman appeared amazed at this disclosure; he later contradicted Fields, and within 48 hours Fields was no longer solely in charge of the civil case. Fields has always maintained that a criminal trial for Jackson could be fatal: “The stakes are going to jail and ruining his life, and his life is essentially over if he’s charged and convicted.”

Those in law-enforcement circles had long believed that there would be no indictment without an airtight case. As evidence piled up, the L.A. District Attorney’s Office informed Weitzman that it wanted to question Jackson. Fields, meanwhile, antagonized authorities by sending a letter to the police commissioner claiming that police were using intimidation and scare tactics with children they were questioning.

89 From “Investigator, Lawyer Quit Jackson’s Defense Team” by Jim Newton and Sonia Nazario:

In the interview Tuesday, Pellicano continued to stand behind Jackson.

“In no way, shape or form does (my resignation) indicate that Michael Jackson is guilty,” Pellicano said. “Michael Jackson is not guilty, and all the things I said in the past I reaffirm.”

Pellicano insisted that he pulled out of the case because it was taking too much of his time and because his investigation was essentially complete. “The investigation has all been done and is now in the hands of the lawyers,” he said.

90 Paul Barresi, the sometime private investigator who occasionally worked for Pellicano discussing this approach, from “The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick:

“If you find dirt on a celebrity, then you go to the attorney, or directly to the client, and say, ‘Hey, there’s a story brewing with the tabs, we need to quash it: Most celebrities are not gonna hesitate, because a celebrity is the most naive, infantile person in the world. They get preferential treatment, but if boulders fall on their head in real life, they don’t know what to do, other than dig deep into their pockets,” says Barresi. “Pellicano was the master of getting them to do that-the celebrity never knew how simple it was to put a fire out, or that sometimes there was never really a fire in the first place. There would be a story brewing, but the reporter couldn’t nail it down. So Pellicano would light the fire. He was the arsonist-and then he’d come back and put the fire out.”

91 From “The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick:

Often, says private investigator Bill Pavelic, who worked for the defense on the O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, and Phil Spector cases, “Pellicano would have the source in his hip pocket and be able to pay him right off the bat to kill the story or rumor. But he wouldn’t tell his clients that. He’d simply say, ‘I can make the problem go away.'” That fed right into the Pellicano mystique. If you’re a magician, you don’t tell the audience how you do your tricks.

92 From “The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick:

By the late ’80s, Pellicano had become involved in a far more complex dance with the tabloids. In 1997, Jim Mitteager, a reporter for the National Enquirer and the Globe, died of cancer. Shortly before his death, he gave hundreds of tapes he had secretly recorded to Paul Barresi, an informant and sometime investigator for Pellicano. The tapes capture little people fighting over crumbs tossed around as celebrities try to protect their images. Transcripts of the tapes provided by Barresi, a former porn star and producer currently working as an unlicensed investigator, show Pellicano trading gossip and planting stories with Mitteager and Globe reporter Cliff Dunn while paying to have other stories killed.

93 From “The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick:

In 1990, then-freelance journalist Rod Lurie acquired a list of paid sources used by the National Enquirer and contracted to do a story about it for Los Angeles magazine. Pellicano was allegedly paid $500,000 by the Enquirer to have the story killed. The huge amount of money was an indication of how desperate the tabloid was. The Enquirer couldn’t continue to exist if its sources were burned. Moreover, the company was in the process of going public on Wall Street, and this was a terrible time to have the kind of embarrassing revelations they themselves made their living generating.

Pellicano’s way of dealing with recalcitrant reporters involved perseverance-he’d start with “I’m a tough guy, don’t fuck with me,” and when that didn’t work, he’d try “I’m getting a lot of money. If you don’t think I’m going to get paid, you’re out of your mind.” He’d follow that with “You’re an intelligent guy. I really like you. I’ve checked you out” and finally graduate to bribery: “You shouldn’t write this story. I can get you six figures elsewhere.”

94 From Dish by Jeannette Walls:

The truth is that Pellicano did work for the National Enquirer from time to time. When Los Angeles magazine was preparing an exposé of the tabloid, reporter Rod Lurie said the detective threatened him and tried to get the piece killed. “There was consistent cultlike phone intimidation from Pellicano,” said Lurie. “He would call my friends and family and editors I worked for at other magazines saying I was through in this town.”

From “Streetwise Gumshoe to the Stars” by Shawn Hubler and James Bates:

But Rod Lurie, a Los Angeles free-lance writer, vividly recalls what it was like to be the target of Pellicano’s brand of damage control. In 1990, Lurie was working on an expose about the National Enquirer’s reporting methods. The newspaper hired an old nemesis, Pellicano, to act as its advocate.

In an attempt to kill the story, Lurie alleged, Pellicano tailed him, bad-mouthed him to his sources, dug into his credit record, called him on his unlisted telephone and threatened to sue.

95 From “Streetwise Gumshoe to the Stars” by Shawn Hubler and James Bates:

“He told me . . . that he has killed hundreds and hundreds of stories,” Lurie said. “For those who don’t know better, he’s an intimidating character. He’s a classic movie goon. But those stories he doesn’t kill become much bigger because he becomes a central character in them.”

Lurie offered his story as a case in point: It ran in Los Angeles magazine anyway, along with an account of Pellicano’s attempts to have it quashed.

Pellicano said that he has killed numerous stories but in Lurie’s case did nothing more than run a background check and call the writer to question the premise of his piece. “I wanted him to lay off my clients and act appropriately,” Pellicano said.

From “The Pellicano Brief” (PDF) by Howard Blum and John Connolly:

Rod Lurie, in the days when he was a struggling freelancer rather than the in-demand director he’s become (The Contender, The Last Castle), complained that Pellicano persistently tried to intimidate him as he researched a piece about The National Enquirer. Then, after the story ran in Los Angeles Magazine, Lurie was the victim in a hit-and-run accident while bicycling – except he was convinced it was no accident.

96 From “Spy vs Spies” by Stuart Goldman, specific page is “Spy vs Spies (page 35)”:

A few days after I’d signed on at the Enquirer, I started freelancing for the rival tabloid The Star. So now I was a double agent. Why not try for three? It wasn’t difficult: just one more phone call and I was working for The Globe.

From “Spy vs Spies” by Stuart Goldman, specific page is “Spy vs Spies (page 36)”:

Hard Copy’s initial shtick was to posture itself as a “cut above” the other tabloid shows. “We’re not gonna get down in the gutter like A Current Affair,” Parsons told me. But that notion evaporated the moment I saw the story rundown, which boasted titles such as Satanic Therapy, Celebrity Stalker, Drano Killer, Bodybuilding Sex Slave, and Hot Cream Wrestling.

97 From “Spy vs Spies” by Stuart Goldman, specific page is “Spy vs Spies (page 34)”:

“The tabloids have a more powerful network of informants than the FBI – or any other government agency,” an ex-tabloid reporter told me. That was no exaggeration. The tabloids have “sources” everywhere; film and TV studios, record companies, PR agencies, law firms, doctor’s offices, courthouses, banks, police departments, social security offices, the DMV, hospitals – you name it. In addition, there are a host of masseuses, bodyguards, hairdressers, bartenders, gardeners, limo drivers, agents, friends, neighbors, relatives, and lovers who regularly peddle dirt for bucks.

98 From “Spy vs Spies” by Stuart Goldman, specific page is “Spy vs Spies (page 34)”:

Still, in order to get the really good stuff – credit records, sealed court documents, hospital records, unlisted phone numbers, bank balances, the contents of safe-deposit boxes – you need more than bodyguards and masseuses. So how do the tabloids get this stuff?

They steal it, of course.

Naturally, the tabs are not dumb enough to do this themselves. So they pay other people to do it for them: sleazoid PIs, ex-cops, computer hackers, information brokers. Anyone willing to grease the right palm, get that confidential information – whatever it takes.

The tabloids are, as I would experience first-hand, in the business of smearing reputations and subverting the truth. If the blatant fabrication for stories – and the lying, backstabbing, bribery, blackmail, intimidation, mail theft, wiretapping, leaking of disinformation, and computer hacking used to get these stories – wasn’t what I initially expected, I quickly learned otherwise.

Item: I sat in the car as a tabloid stringer stole mail out of the mailboxes of his targets. He checked names off a list as he made his rounds.

Item: I observed as a tabloid source, a skilled hacker, cracked the code on his target’s answering machine – allowing him to play back all of the person’s private messages.

Item: I watched as a tabloid stringer, using an unauthorized access code, tapped into the TRW and TransUnion databases and pulled credit reports on a number of stars (or their relatives) including Demi Moore, Tom Selleck, and Frank Sinatra.

Item: I was told by a major tabloid source that he had bribed an employee in the social security office into coughing up the social security numbers of a long list of celebrities. According to the source, the money was given to him by the tabs, who had full knowledge of where it was going.

Blackmail is a regular activity at the tabloids – though it’s not called that. It’s called “cooperation.” Here’s how it works: The tabloids get some serious dirt on a star (a photo of him or her in a compromising position, for example). They go to the star and say, “We’ll kill this story; but we’d like you to cooperate with us on ten other stories.” The star, who in many cases says yes, has now become “a friend” of the tabloids. According to insiders, some tabloid “friends” include Billy Graham, Bill Cosby, Kenny Rodgers, Linda Blair, and Michael Jackson.

99 From “Spy vs Spies (page 42)”:

I also watched in amazement as stories were fabricated out of whole cloth. Example: A tabloid reporter calls up Child Protective Services and poses as the mother of a child who attends the same school as Roseanne’s daughter. The reporter states that Roseanne is abusing the child. Per their obligation, CPS begins an investigation. Then the tabs stake out Roseanne’s house. Soon an investigator from CPS shows up and – bingo! The tabs now have a “legit” story: “ROSEANNE BEING INVESTIGATED FOR CHILD ABUSE.”

100 From “The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick:

As his profile rose, so did the profile of the celebrities he worked for-or against. They included Heidi Fleiss, “Beverly Hills Madam” Elizabeth Adams, Sylvester Stallone, and Kevin Costner. He investigated the OD death of John Belushi and found the daughter Roseanne Barr had given up for adoption (and then leaked the story to the tabs).

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

Pellicano could be startlingly candid about his methods. On a celebrity’s behalf, he found that an effective way to make an inconvenient lover go away was “counter-blackmail.” A girl sues an actor for palimony? Pellicano would dig into her past and find something-a prostitution arrest, drugs. Men weren’t so easy. “If you can’t sit down with a person and reason with them,” Pellicano told GQ in 1992 [I’m sorry to say but this article doesn’t seem to be on-line], “there is only one thing left, and that’s fear. Of course, law-enforcement authorities don’t want to hear stuff like that, know what I mean? But it happens every day.”

102 From “Spy vs Spies” by Stuart Goldman, specific page is “Spy vs Spies (page 42)”:

Next, I got confirmation of another crime: use of prostitutes by tabloid producers to procure information and to leak disinformation (as well as for their own pleasure). One of my sources was none other than Heidi Fleiss, who I had interviewed jut weeks prior to her arrest. Fleiss confirmed that particular tabloid producers did indeed use the services of her girls. Additionally, she related an incident in which her arch nemesis, Madame Alex, had sent hookers to one TV tabloid show in order to do negative story on Fleiss [sic], which, according to Fleiss, was not true.

“You mean they sent girls over there to leak false information?” I asked.

“First to have sex with the man,” Fleiss said. “That’s no big deal. There’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s wrong when the purpose is to do some [false] story on me!”

Maybe it was no big deal to Hollywood’s top madam, but I figured others would be interested in that little sound bite. After all, I know I was.

103 From “Streetwise Gumshoe to the Stars” by Shawn Hubler and James Bates:

His detractors have questioned Pellicano’s renegade style, most recently his decision to issue on behalf of Columbia Pictures executive Michael Nathanson a public denial of involvement with Fleiss.

The preemptive denial–which even surprised Nathanson’s lawyer and later earned a “PR Boner Award” from a Variety columnist–was an attempt to put a stop to widespread gossip about Nathanson even though he had not been publicly accused of wrongdoing. The result was that it put the names of Nathanson and Columbia Pictures into play in the Fleiss affair.

104 From the transcript of the conversation between director John McTiernan and Pellicano, “Rising Sun: Image of the Desired Japanese Part Three” footnote 214, made from the audio file available at “Pellicano Trial: Hear Hollywood Director Dish Film Gossip, Prostitutes, Cocaine and Phone Taps” by Allison Hope Weiner:

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.

105 From “Arnold, Pellicano and Politics” by Nikki Finke:

Arnold Schwarzenegger asked once-celebrated and now-celled private investigator Anthony Pellicano to see what dirt could be unearthed on the actor if he entered the 2002 gubernatorial race, Pellicano’s former legman Paul Barresi tells L.A. Weekly. Less than a week after the 27-page file was turned in, Schwarzenegger opted out of the race, says Barresi, the ex-X-rated film star who maintains he was hired by Pellicano to conduct the background search.

The existence of this still recent self-probe raises the question of why Schwarzenegger would have himself investigated again. Boggles the mind, no? After all, on November 6, Schwarzenegger, then governor-elect, announced he was in the process of hiring what his aide said was a “well-respected” P.I. firm to look into allegations that the bodybuilder-actor groped more than a dozen women over a 30-year period.

106 From “Arnold, Pellicano and Politics” by Nikki Finke:

Arnold Schwarzenegger asked once-celebrated and now-celled private investigator Anthony Pellicano to see what dirt could be unearthed on the actor if he entered the 2002 gubernatorial race, Pellicano’s former legman Paul Barresi tells L.A. Weekly. Less than a week after the 27-page file was turned in, Schwarzenegger opted out of the race, says Barresi, the ex-X-rated film star who maintains he was hired by Pellicano to conduct the background search.

Barresi will not divulge the contents of the report in any detail, except to note broadly that it dealt with the personal, professional and business lives of Schwarzenegger, family and associates. According to Barresi, the file was read closely. He recalls one incident he discovered: a bodyguard trying to sell to the highest bidder “a damaging story” about Schwarzenegger. “I mentioned his name to Pellicano, and, all of a sudden, this guy stopped peddling his goods,” Barresi claims.

107 Though Premiere magazine no longer exists, the “Arnold the Barbarian” article can be found in several places on the web such as democrats.com and slumdance.

Some excerpts:

The tabloid press got a nice Christmas present late last year when Arnold Schwarzenegger tore through a day of publicity work in London, promoting his latest film, The 6th Day, which had just opened there. In less than 24 hours, the star was said to have attempted to, as high school boys used to say, cop a little feel from three different female talk-show hosts. The level of consternation expressed by those who received this hands-on treatment from the hulking, Austrian-born international superstar ranged from none whatsoever (Denise Van Outen of The Big Breakfast invites her guests to lie on a bed with her and, hence, probably has a rather elastic definition of what constitutes inappropriate behavior) to irked (on tape, Celebrity interviewer Melanie Sykes looks a little thrown off after Arnold gives her a very definite squeeze on the rib cage, directly under her right breast) to, finally, righteously indignant. Anna Richardson of Big Screen claims that after the cameras stopped rolling for her interview segment, Schwarzenegger, apparently attempting to ascertain whether Richardson’s breasts were real, tweaked her nipple and then laughed at her objections. ‘I left the room quite shaken,’ she says. ‘What was more upsetting was that his people rushed to protect him and scapegoated me, and not one person came to apologize afterward.’

‘The second I walked into the room,’ Anna Richardson says, several weeks after the incident, ‘he was like a dog in heat.’ Other stories about Schwarzenegger tend to fit her simile. During the production of the 1991 mega-blockbuster Terminator 2: Judgment Day, a producer on that film recalls Arnold’s emerging from his trailer one day and noticing a fortyish female crew member, who was wearing a silk blouse. Arnold went up to the woman, put his hands inside her blouse, and proceeded to pull her breasts out of her bra. Another observer says, ‘I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This woman’s nipples were exposed, and here’s Arnold and a few of his clones laughing. I went after the woman, who had run to the shelter of a nearby trailer. She was hysterical but refused to press charges for fear of losing her job. It was disgusting.’

A former Schwarzenegger employee recalls another incident from the T2 days. At the time, director James Cameron was married but having an affair with one of the film’s stars, Linda Hamilton. One evening, while riding in a limo with Cameron, Hamilton, and others, Schwarzenegger suddenly lifted Hamilton onto his lap and began fondling her breasts through the very thin top she was wearing. The witness says, ‘I couldn’t believe Cameron didn’t have the balls to tell Arnold to get off his girl. The whole thing made me sick.’

A female producer on one of Schwarzenegger’s films tells of a time when her ex-husband came to visit the set. When she introduced the man to Schwarzenegger, the star quipped, ‘Is this guy the reason why you didn’t come up to my hotel room last night and suck my cock?’

A woman who went to the set of 1996’s Eraser recalls the friend she was visiting there being asked to retrieve Schwarzenegger from his trailer for a shot that was ready to roll earlier than expected. ‘He asked me if I wanted to meet Arnold, and I said sure. When we opened the door to his trailer, Arnold was giving oral sex to a woman. He looked up and, with that accent, said very slowly, ‘Eating is not cheating.’ I met him again about a year later and asked him, in German, whether or not eating was cheating, and he just laughed.’

A lot of people must feel the same. A lawyer who frequents Café Roma, a Beverly Hills bistro that is a hangout for real and wannabe wiseguys, says, ‘When ever I see Schwarzenegger and his crew [walk into the place], I leave quickly and go to another restaurant. This guy is a real pig. He will say the most disgusting sexual things to women he doesn’t know. Everybody knows he is Arnold Schwarzenegger. . . . But in any other city, somebody would have cracked him by now.’ In Hollywood, though, nobody cracks a billion-dollar box office gorilla.

108 From “The Bagman” by Mark Ebner:

Barresi moved sharply higher on the Hollywood notoriety scale in 1990 when the National Enquirer ran a front-page story showcasing his claim that he’d had a two-year love affair with John Travolta. Barresi told the tabloid he’d met Travolta in 1982 when the actor followed him into the shower room of an L.A. health club. They later had sex dozens of times, Barresi said. The star, he said, often showed up at his apartment for bedroom calisthenics, implored Barresi to tell him dirty stories over the phone, and told the porn actor he was sexier and more macho than Burt Reynolds and Clark Gable combined. Barresi said he’d gone to bed with other celebrities, too. “From time to time I’ve let them use me in hopes of furthering my acting career,” he said. But several months later Barresi retracted his story, saying in a letter to Travolta’s attorney that he’d never engaged in homosexual activity with Travolta.

109 From “The Bagman” by Mark Ebner:

Barresi, who’s married and has three children, also acted in or directed a string of gay porn films. Among their titles are Lusty Leathermen (An all star cast of Sex Soaked Studs) and Black Brigade (A chocolate-covered, licorice-licked, cocoa-crammed cum-a-thon that spins the Civil War into the 90s). Between porn jobs, he landed minor parts in TV shows and mainstream movies including Perfect, a 1983 hit about L.A. gym rats picking each other up that starred John Travolta.

By the early ’80s, Barresi had launched a parallel career as a fitness trainer, capitalizing on his Hollywood connections to attract such celebrity clients as David Geffen, Joan Rivers, Johnny Carson’s wife Alexis and Go-Go’s drummer Gina Schock. But his employers, he says, often wanted the muscular, hard-edged Italian to help them with matters that had nothing to do with pumping up their pecs. He found himself delivering summonses when his bosses sued someone, and collecting money for them from recalcitrant borrowers. He became, he says, a last-resort guy.

On a spring day in 1997, a veteran porn actor, bodybuilder and strong-arm man named Paul Barresi picked up a supermarket tabloid and spotted a 24-karat opportunity. What caught Barresi’s eye was an intriguing story about vice cops stopping actor Eddie Murphy just before 5 a.m. in a West Hollywood neighborhood known for its abundance of transsexual prostitutes. Sitting next to Murphy in the front seat of his Toyota Land Cruiser was a gorgeous, 21-year-old tranny streetwalker from Samoa. “Eddie Murphy’s Sick Obsession With Drag Queens!” shrieked the Globe. “H’wood Stunned by Superstar’s Secret Double Life as Cops Catch Him With Transsexual Hooker.”

The Enquirer’s coverage included an interview with the preoperative transsexual who’d been stopped with Murphy. Atisone Kenneth Seiuli had been trolling for johns, dressed in tight bell-bottoms and a black tank top, when Murphy drove up. After Seiuli got in, she claimed, Murphy placed two $100 bills on her leg and asked if she liked to wear lingerie. “”I said yes,” said Seiuli. “He said, “Can I see you in lingerie?’ I told him, “Whenever I have the time.’ He said, “I’ll make the time.'” Murphy also wanted to know what kind of sex Seiuli liked, and she replied that she was “into everything.”

110 From “The Bagman” by Mark Ebner:

Barresi had worked in the porn business long enough to know how easily its denizens could be bought, and he’d dealt with tabloid news outfits enough to know they could be manipulated. After acting in or directing more than 50 porn movies, gay and straight, he was connected enough to know he could find the trannies who’d blabbed to the tabs faster than any private detective. Barresi’s plan was to reach as many of the tale tellers as possible and pay them to change their stories and say they’d lied about having sex with Murphy. The star’s lawyers could then mau-mau the tabloids to back off him since the papers’ sources, by recanting, would have forfeited what little credibility they’d had to begin with.

Barresi was well aware that nothing chills a publisher’s blood more than the threat of a libel suit. If any of the trannies were planning to write kiss-and-tell books about Murphy, those projects might be quashed, too. “My role was pretty much to neutralize [the transsexuals],” says Barresi.

He dialed Murphy’s lawyer, Marty Mad Dog Singer, a corpulent, pugnacious ex-New Yorker renowned in Hollywood for his brass-knuckles defense of celebrity clients. Barresi got the attorney on the phone and told him: “I’ve got the wherewithal, everything you need to save Eddie Murphy’s ass on this issue.” Singer listened.

On July 17, Barresi drove Candace and Valerie to Singer’s office, where, in signed declarations, they took back everything they’d told the tabs. Candace wrote that she’d referred Valerie and Tempest to the Enquirer purely for money; that the two other trannies had lied about having sex with Murphy, also for money; and that an Enquirer reporter had coached and intimidated them to make false statements. “I have never met Eddie Murphy, nor do I know anyone who has had sex with Eddie Murphy,” Candace declared in her statement.

Despite the coup of obtaining Candace and Valerie’s recantations, “Singer couldn’t wait for the two trannies to leave,” Barresi says. “Singer was thoroughly disgusted, felt like creepy crawlers were going up his neck,” recalls Barresi. “I could tell he was very shaken and disturbed. Just being in their presence repulsed him. And he conveyed that to me outside the office: ‘Just get this over with, get them outta here!'”

For her efforts, Candace was paid $15,000 by Singer’s firm, according to an IRS document she provided to New Times. Valerie says she was paid $5,000. Sylvia Holland, who gave Barresi a videotaped statement at her West Hollywood apartment denying any sexual relationship with Murphy, says she received $2,500.

Asked about Barresi’s tactics, Singer initially insisted that Paul Barresi has in no way been employed by our firm. Told later that Barresi provided New Times with pay stubs indicating he received at least $3,451 from Singer’s firm for work on the Murphy/Enquirer account, the attorney conceded that Barresi had been retained as an investigator. Singer also acknowledges hiring Barresi despite knowing of the porn actor’s deceitfulness in the Travolta case, which was handled by Singer’s firm.

He brooded angrily on why the Century City suits had apparently ended their relationship with him. Had Singer and company thrown him more work, he says, “they certainly would have had my allegiance forever.” “But in the same way that they demonstrated that they had no respect for me, that’s how I felt about them. I gotta tell you, that plays on my emotions. Quite heavily. Because I put myself in harm’s way, is really what I did.” And that’s why, when a New Times reporter came calling much later, Barresi gladly turned over his records on the Murphy case. The documents included copies of paychecks from Singer’s law firm to Barresi, transcripts of his coached trial run interviews with the trannies, and memos to Singer and Wolf outlining some of Barresi’s activities.

Once again, Barresi exacted revenge on people he felt had screwed him.

“How much risk does a person have to take, how much crow does a person have to eat, before they’re gonna win some respect?” he asks rhetorically, reflecting on his handiwork. “I feel that as much as I did for them, they really didn’t give me a fair shake. My wife has brought this up many times. She says, ‘Eddie Murphy is probably completely oblivious as to what you did for him.'”

111 From “Ron Tutor: The Lawsuits, Losses and Private Struggles of the Man Behind Miramax” by Daniel Miller:

As he has waged his legal wars, Tutor has paid himself a handsome salary. According to Tutor Perini filings, his compensation in 2010 was $9 million. As part of a five-year employment contract Tutor signed with the company in 2008, he receives 150 hours of annual personal flying time in the company’s 737. Other perks include an apartment in Las Vegas and a car and driver (Tutor is chauffeured in a GMC Denali SUV). Currently, Tutor’s driver is Paul Barresi, who long worked with Anthony Pellicano as a private investigator and until 2006 was a director, writer and producer on such pornographic films as Frat Boys on the Loose 7 and Leather Bears and Smooth Chested Huskies. (Tutor said in a November deposition that many years earlier, he employed Barresi as a personal trainer; Barresi could not be reached for comment.)

112 From “Arnie’s Army” by Charles Fleming, specifc page “Arnie’s Army (page 65)”:

If Arnold really believes it is his right to do whatever stories he wants to do, though, he is in for a rude shock. In a race for the governorship or a Senate seat, “the real press will eat him alive,” as one magazine editor says. A longtime associate of Arnold’s agrees. “[Running for office] isn’t like doing a PR campaign for some movie. If there is anything at all unpleasant in his background, [the press] will go after it like animals.”

You can’t help but wonder, for example, how campaign reporters would have treated the dinner at the Simon Wiesenthal Center. This rather astonishing spectacle caused no stir whatsoever among the “outlets,” as they are known to the movie business, that cover Arnold, except as an ocasion to puff him. Neither Vanity Fair nor Entertainment Tonight, Premiere nor Good Morning America seemed very interested in the event. However, if Arnold were in the middle of a political campaign and were honored by a Holocaust philanthropy, some intrepid reporter would be digging into his past associations and comment faster than you can say, “Donna Rice.” Or, as they would put it on Entertainment Tonight, if Arnold does indeed go into electoral politics, his relationship with the press will change from The Silence of the Lambs to Dances With Wolves.

113 On Schwarzengger’s control of the press, from “Arnie’s Army” by Charles Fleming, specifc pages “Arnie’s Army (page 62)” and “Arnie’s Army (page 63)”:

Arnold has achieved his position in the world largely because he wields ruthless control over his press. As one Paramount executive says, “Arnold exercises power the way the old-fashioned moguls did — they could cover up anything, make any problem go away.”

Usually Arnold is successful. For example, there’s the journalist who mirthfully tells of the star’s backlot misdeeds — how he surprised Arnold in flagrante delicto during the filming of one of his blockbusters and how Arnold said, “Ve von’t tell Maria about dis” — but who will never commit that story to print. And there’s the movie executive who will tell you only in private, and never for attribution, about Arnold’s occasional suggestions to the owner of a store where he shops that the two find some chicks who will perform an act Arnold calls “polishing the helmet.” Arnold’s rationalization, according to the store owner? “It’s not being unfaithful. It’s only some plo-jobs.” Probably no one will ever quote the Hollywood producer who pals around with Arnold and says, “He’s an unstoppable womanizer, even worse than the Kennedys.” No, these tales will go with Arnold to the grave. Or at least they were supposed to have.

114 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 92)”:

Despite the Premiere story, Schwarzenegger still hoped to challenge Davis in 2002. Then matters took another bad turn. On February 27, 2001, the star’s nemesis – the tabloids – jumped into the fray. The National Enquirer published an “Arnold exclusive,” headlined “He’s Caught Cheating,” predicting his impending divorce from Shriver. A pull quote ran across the page: “Arnold has the worst reputation in Hollywood for groping, grabbing, and lewd remarks.”

Two months later, the Enquirer announced it had a “world exclusive.” The cover story, headlined “Arnold’s Shocking 7-Year Affair,” chronicled his dalliance with a former child actress named Gigi Goyette and was accompanied by photos of Goyette lounging in a thong bikini and posing with Schwarzenegger. Coming on the heels of the Premiere story, it was a lethal blow, certainly for a candidate who needed the support of the family-values, conservative base of the Republican Party to survive a primary.

115 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 93)”:

The tabloids posed another problem. One of the less ennobling secrets of the mainstream media is its reliance on the tabs to launder seedy but irresistible stories about celebrities and politicians. Once the story appears in the tabloids, it’s not long before it’s fodder for TV talking heads and late-night comics. Then, more often than not, it’s regarded as fair game for the mainstream media. In the last 15 years, the tabs have earned a reputation for nailing down hard-to-get stories for the simple reason that, unlike the mainstream media, they often pay sources and hire private investigators. The meshing of the tabs and the mainstream media went into high gear during the O.J. Simpson trial and was standard practice by the time of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. Schwarzenegger, of course, could have curbed his excessive behavior. But there is scant evidence for this having occurred before 2003.

116 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 223)”:

The year 2001 would prove to be a terrible year in the tabloid kingdom. On October 2, 2001, AMI’s world headquarters, a showy glass-and-steel edifice in Boca Raton, Florida, became the first target of an anthrax attack in the United States. Within the week, AMI’s photo editor was dead from anthrax inhalation, another employee was clinging to life, and property, which only months earlier had been remodeled, was worthless. Everything inside the structures was declared contaminated and untouchable, including a film library of 5 million photographs and a collection of rare books. AMI’s chairman, CEO, and president, David Pecker, places the damages at $20 million.

The boarded-up facility was sold for $40,000 to a real estate investor, who then leased it to a company headed by Rudolph Giuliani that specialized in decontamination.

117 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 224)”:

Six months after AMI’s anthrax attack, Pecker started to look into buying L.A.-based Weider Publications. Founded by Joe Weider, the legendary bodybuilder who had brought Arnold Schwarzenegger to the United States in 1968, the company owned seven titles, including Muscle & Fitness, Shape, Flex, and Men’s Fitness. Eighty-three years old, Weider had decided it was time to unload his magazines. They were strong sellers, especially when Schwarzenegger posed for their covers, as he has done more than 50 times, mostly for Muscle & Fitness and Flex. The film star also “penned” the Ask Arnold column, though it was no secret that it was written in-house. Although Schwarzenegger was not paid for his cover appearances, he was well rewarded by the publicity they bestowed on his gyms and the Arnold Classic bodybuilding competition held each year in Columbus, Ohio.

“The supplement business makes up more than 70 percent of the ads in Weider magazines,” says Eric Weider, Ben’s 40-year-old son, who runs much of the Weider empire today. The supplement business also provides about 30 percent of the ads in the tabloids.

With the evidence mounting that ephedra could produce serious side effects, the FDA started to investigate the substance in the late ’90s. The agency’s actions may have been a factor in Weider’s decision to sell his publishing company. “The supplement thing had already reared its ugly head by 2000,” says one former AMI editor with firsthand knowledge of the negotiations between AMI and Weider. “I know two media players who backed away from the Weider magazines because they were worried that the supplement thing would blow up.” It eventually did. In 2004, the FDA banned all ephedra-based products.

118 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 224)”:

None of this deterred Pecker, who bought the company in November 2002. To the surprise of some media analysts, AMI paid $350 million in cash and stock for the seven magazines, a large photo archive of Schwarzenegger and offices in Woodland Hills and Manhattan.

119 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 224)”:

In early December 2002, Pecker and his wife had a celebratory dinner at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills with Joe Weider and his wife, along with Eric Weider. “Joe’s asking me, ‘How are you going to handle the bodybuilding world?'” recalls Pecker. “‘You should know that this is something that’s very important to me personally.’ I said, ‘Yes, I understand that. I know that you have a very close relationship with Arnold Schwarzenegger.'”

Weider sys that over dinner he recommended to Pecker that Schwarzenegger become part of AMI – that he should be given “maybe 10 percent of the company as our publicist.” He feared, though, that Schwarzenegger was too busy doing movies and concerned about “all the scandal” in AMI’s tabloids.

Pecker was enthusiastic about the idea of bringing Schwarzenegger into AMI and tried to allay Weider’s concerns that the actor would continue to be a tabloid target: “I said, ‘There is one thing that I can tell you. We don’t, as a company rehash old stuff.'” Pecker says he also told Weider, “Anything he does that’s newsworthy, we’re going to run.” Then he added a caveat not usually associated with the tabloids: “If we can validate it.”

120 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 224)”:

During the heat of the recall campaign, the New York Daily News reported that Pecker had assured Joe Weider that the tabloids would “lay off” Schwarzenegger. “We’re not going to pull up any dirt on him,” Weider quoted Pecker as saying. AMI denied such an arrangement.

121 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 224)”:

Recently, however, Weider offered a slightly different version of the dinner, one that corresponds with Pecker’s account: “David said he knew Arnold was close to me. ‘Oh, yes, Arnold is your friend, and I want you to know that we’re not going to bring up or print the old stuff. Only what’s new.'”

122 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 224)”:

But a funny thing happened soon after the Weider deal closed in January 2003. The tabloids suddenly became Arnold free. Despite Pecker’s denials, four sources at AMI say that the Schwarzenegger vanishing act was no accident. “When Weider was being bough,” says one senior AMI staffer, “the edict came down: No more Arnold stories.”

123 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 225)”:

After a flurry of telephone calls, Pecker flew to Los Angeles on July 11, 2003, to make a direct appeal to Schwarzenegger to stay on board with the Weider magazines. Pecker and Schwarzenegger met at the actor’s production office in a building he owns in Santa Monica.

Pecker then presented Schwarzenegger with his proposal. “I approached about the concept of having a bigger role with of the Weider titles,” says Pecker, “but specifically with Muscle & Fitness and Flex.”

124 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 225)”:

Three weeks later, on August 6, 2003, Schwarzenegger stunned the world with his announcement on The Tonight Show that he would be challenging Gray Davis in California’s historic recall election.

125 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 225)”:

Californians quickly learned, however, that the AMI tabs were not only laying off Schwarzenegger but were at the forefront of his campaign. One former staffer says that “Pecker ordered David Perel to commission a series of brownnosing stories on Arnold” that would hit the stands during the campaign. “It’s not true,” says Perel. “That’s absurd.”

126 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 225)”:

In August The Star ran a full-page story headlined “Vote Schwarzenegger!” and accompanied by a half-dozen flattering snapshots.

In September 2003, AMI published a 120-page glossy special edition titled Arnold, the American Dream. It was sold on newsstands for $4.95, with the cover line “Camelot’s Future.”

127 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 225)”:

To complete the coronation, Weekly World News ran its own “exclusive” – “Alien Backs Arnold for Governor.”

128 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 226)”:

Beginning on October 2, 2003, five days before the recall election, the Los Angeles Times published a series of stories in which 16 women – 11 willing to be identified – charged that Schwarzenegger had either groped or sexually harassed them. The Schwarzenegger team went on the offensive, attacking the Times for its “opportunistic” late timing and attributing the stories to the trash politics of the Davis campaign. The Times piece was picked up by the national media and monopolized the news cycle up to Election Day. And still not a murmur from the tabs.

The Times article was “Women Say Schwarzenegger Groped, Humiliated Them” by Gary Cohn, Carla Hall and Robert W. Welkos.

129 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 226)”:

To prove his case, Pecker cites an “Arnold exclusive” that ran in The National Enquirer with the headline “Arnold’s Love Child Scandal.” The Enquirer posted the story on its Web site on October 5, two days before the recall election, and published a heavily revised version in its print edition 14 days after the election. Certainly it was an incendiary story, but because it was posted so close to the election, the mainstream press had little time to follow up the account and confirm it. As a result, the story remained on the margins. Moreover, the Enquirer article cited as its source a story by a reporter named Wendy Leigh that appeared in the British tabloid The Daily Mail, indicating it was a life-and-clip job.

130 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 226)”:

Former AMI staffers dispute Pecker and Perel’s account, contending that the tabloid was offered the love-child story in mid 2003 but turned it down. According to one former AMI editor, the story had been brought to the tabloid by John Connolly, the author of the Premiere article on Schwarzenegger. Connolly, a former policeman with close ties to private investigators, has staked a reputation as Schwarzenegger’s archenemy. (The former staffer also credits Connolly with bringing the 2001 Gigi Goyette story to the tabloid.) There was considerable interest in the story, according to the former staffer, who says Perel worked with Connolly “for a couple of weeks on the story. They said the story was solid. Then Pecker became involved and said, ‘We’re not doing the story. In fact, we’re not doing any more Schwarzenegger stories.'”

Another former AMI staffer also questions Pecker’s account. “Connolly brought us that thing in May,” he says. “So you’ve got May, June, July, August, September, October. Are you telling me the Enquirer can’t do in six months what Wendy Leigh does? If that’s true, it’s a pretty sad state of affairs. Here’s how to look at it: If the Weider deal hadn’t worked out, do you really think the Enquirer would not have done the love child?@

Connolly ended up working on the story with Wendy Leigh of The Daily Mail, who had written a book about the star. “It all came from John,” says Leigh. “John came to me. Basically he was my partner on this. He was a silent partner.” Connolly confirms Leigh’s account, saying he “brought her a much bigger story and the love child became part of it.”

131 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 227)”:

At a press conference, Pecker and Schwarzenegger clutched the winner’s trophy and beamed. They announced that Schwarzenegger would become the executive editor of Muscle & Fitness and Flex. He would be paid $1.25 million over five years, which he would donate to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness. He would also receive a $350,000 annual salary from AMI, according to sources close to the governor. Schwarzenegger has not disclosed his AMI salary in any of his filings with the state. According to his spokesman, he has until March 2005 to do so. Despite numerous requests for an interview, the governor declined.

In May, AMI announced it had deepened its relationship with Schwarzenegger and Weider, by buying a 50 percent stake in the Mr. Olympia competition. Pecker calls the event “the Super Bowl of bodybuilding.”

132 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 226)” and “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 227)”:

Since Schwarzenegger’s ascension, the tabs have been a fount of gushy news about him. “Make Arnie President” exhorted the headline of one story soon after his election, with the subhead “All We Have to Do Is Change One Stupid Law.” Another, titled “Wisdom of Arnie,” offered helpful tips from his movies. And then there were “Maria & Arnie: White House Bound?” “The Governator,” “American Dream: Arnold & Maria’s New Life,” and “Arnie’s Accent Will Soon Be All the Rage,” among others. Despite Pecker’s denials, AMI is now the press organ of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

133 From “Gov. to Be Paid $8 Million by Fitness Magazines” by Peter Nicholas and Robert Salladay:

SACRAMENTO – Two days before he was sworn into office, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger accepted a consulting job paying an estimated $8 million over five years to “further the business objectives” of a national publisher of health and bodybuilding magazines.

The contract pays Schwarzenegger 1% of the magazines’ advertising revenue, much of which comes from makers of nutritional supplements. Last year, the governor vetoed legislation that would have imposed government regulations on the supplement industry.

According to records filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Schwarzenegger entered into the agreement with a subsidiary of American Media Inc. on Nov. 15, 2003. The Boca Raton, Fla.-based company publishes Muscle & Fitness and Flex magazines, among others.

Watchdog groups and state lawmakers called the contract — which refers to Schwarzenegger as “Mr. S” — a conflict of interest.

Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, D.C., said: “This is one of the most egregious apparent conflicts of interest that I have seen. This calls into question his judgment as to who he is working for, and it calls into question what he thinks he owes the public.”

As recently as a few days ago, American Media refused to say anything about Schwarzenegger’s pay. The company filed an 83-page annual financial statement with the SEC last month that, in one paragraph, mentioned a consulting agreement with an unnamed “third party.” Stuart Zakim, an American Media spokesman, refused to say whether the third party was Schwarzenegger.

The contract shows that Schwarzenegger’s firm, Oak Productions, gets 1% of the subsidiary’s annual advertising revenue. It holds that “in no event” will payment be less than $1 million a year.

The agreement estimates that the governor’s company will receive $2.15 million in fiscal year 2006; the same amounts in ’07 and ’08; and $1.7 million in ’09. Those sums exceed the salary of the chairman and CEO of American Media, David J. Pecker, whose base pay this year is listed at $1.5 million.

The governor used his regular column in the June issue of Muscle & Fitness to defend the supplement industry. He vowed to oppose any effort to restrict sales of the products in California, writing that he is “so energized to fight any attempt to limit the availability of nutritional supplements.”

Last year, the governor vetoed a bill by state Sen. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough) that would have required coaches to take a course in performance-enhancing supplements, created a list of banned substances for interscholastic sports and barred supplement manufacturers from sponsoring school events. In his veto message, the governor said that most dietary supplements were safe and that Speier’s bill would have been difficult to implement. He also said the bill unfairly focused on “performance-enhancing dietary supplements (PEDS) instead of focusing on ensuring that students participating in high school sports are not engaged in steroids use.”

134 From “Tabloid’s Deal With Woman Shielded Schwarzenegger” by Peter Nicholas and Carla Hall:

SACRAMENTO – Days after Arnold Schwarzenegger jumped into the race for governor and girded for questions about his past, a tabloid publisher wooing him for a business deal promised to pay a woman $20,000 to sign a confidentiality agreement about an alleged affair with the candidate.

American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer, signed a friend of the woman to a similar contract about the alleged relationship for $1,000.

American Media’s contract with Gigi Goyette of Malibu is dated Aug. 8, 2003, two days after Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy on a late-night talk show. Under the agreement, Goyette must disclose to no one but American Media any information about her “interactions” with Schwarzenegger.

American Media never solicited further information from Goyette or her friend, Judy Mora, also of Malibu, both women said. The Enquirer had published a cover story two years earlier describing an alleged seven-year sexual relationship between Goyette and Schwarzenegger during his marriage to Maria Shriver, California’s first lady.

135 From “Tabloid’s Deal With Woman Shielded Schwarzenegger” by Peter Nicholas and Carla Hall:

American Media’s contract with Gigi Goyette of Malibu is dated Aug. 8, 2003, two days after Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy on a late-night talk show. Under the agreement, Goyette must disclose to no one but American Media any information about her “interactions” with Schwarzenegger.

American Media never solicited further information from Goyette or her friend, Judy Mora, also of Malibu, both women said. The Enquirer had published a cover story two years earlier describing an alleged seven-year sexual relationship between Goyette and Schwarzenegger during his marriage to Maria Shriver, California’s first lady.

On Aug. 14, 2003, as candidate Schwarzenegger was negotiating a consulting deal with American Media, the company signed its contract with Mora, who said she received $1,000 cash in return. Goyette declined to say whether she received the $20,000 promised in her contract.

But American Media was effectively protecting Schwarzenegger’s political interests, said a person who worked at the company when the contracts were signed. At the same time, American Media was crafting a deal to make Schwarzenegger executive editor of Flex and Muscle & Fitness magazines, helping to lure readers and advertisers.

If American Media was buying exclusive rights to the women’s stories, said the person, who has a confidentiality agreement with the company and spoke on condition of anonymity, “why didn’t the stories run? That’s the obvious question.”

“AMI systematically bought the silence” of the women, said the person. Schwarzenegger “was a de facto employee and he was important to their bottom line.”

American Media’s contracts with Goyette and Mora, both titled “Confidentiality Agreement,” are two pages long and never expire; they bind the two women “in perpetuity.”

Goyette’s agreement states that she is not to disclose “conversations with Schwarzenegger, her interactions with Schwarzenegger or anything else relating in any way to any relationship [she] ever had with Schwarzenegger,” except to American Media.

Mora’s contract bars her from disclosing anything about Goyette’s “conversations with Schwarzenegger … interactions with Schwarzenegger or anything else relating in any way to any relationship Gigi Goyette ever had or alleged to have had with Schwarzenegger.”

[Goyette] said she did not believe American Media would purchase the rights to her story and then do nothing with it. She thought signing the pledge would be the prelude to a book deal.

“In my mind, it was trying to seal a deal so I wouldn’t do the book with anybody else,” she told The Times. “That was my feeling in my heart and in my mind.”

[Charlotte Hassett, Goyette’s lawyer] added later: “She has reason to believe that she was manipulated by the actions of the people at National Enquirer.”

The contract was sealed just when interest in her story was peaking. Once Schwarzenegger’s campaign was launched, the media quickly dug up the 2001 National Enquirer article. She was besieged by reporters.

They were “in front of my house. In front of my school. In front of the coffee shop,” she said. “I didn’t answer anyone’s questions.”

136 From “The Two Biggest Assholes in Publishing” by Bagher Hossein, specific page “The Two Biggest Assholes in Publishing (page 51)”:

Formerly, Pecker had been Hachette’s unusually nerdy Chief Financial Officer – a “major dweeb-man” is how one columnist described him – ever since the French company (which also manufactures Exocet missiles) bought a grab bag of U.S. titles, including Women’s Day and Car and Driver, to buttress its launch of American Elle. But when Peter Diamandis, the American from whom Hachette bought the magazines, walked after two years, taking his management team with him, Pecker was suddenly in a position to land the company’s top job almost by default. For a glamour-deprived mathlete like Pecker, this was a legitimate, once-in-a-lifetime chance to build a public persona.

137 From “The Two Biggest Assholes in Publishing” by Bagher Hossein, specific page “The Two Biggest Assholes in Publishing (page 53)”:

Notorious for cutting staff with the purchase of each new title, Pecker promptly hacked Mirabella‘s staff of 80 down to 20 (what could all those editors be doing up there, anyway?) and Premiere‘s from 80 to 38. Similarly, 36 staffers at Travel Holiday suddenly found themselves practicing what they’d been preaching after Pecker took over. “Every time they buy a new magazine, they don’t add the staffing to go with it,” laments a former employee with first-hand experience of Hachette’s clear-out-your-desk-by-noon hatchet policy. “He squeezes people to do so many different things – so he doesn’t put the money into bringing in the best editors, or enough editors, or enough sales people,” he said.

From “The Two Biggest Assholes in Publishing” by Bagher Hossein, specific page “The Two Biggest Assholes in Publishing (page 51)”:

Inspired by what his banker-brain perceived as the looseness and inefficiency of the publications under his power, the professionally thrifty Pecker started making what he thought were obvious changes: slashing staff, pandering to advertisers, and generally making a mockery of the editorial process. “Pecker is a financial guy,” explains an ad-sales representative who worked for him. “He doesn’t understand publishing…He never worked on a magazine. He doesn’t know the right ingredients to make a magazine great, only profitable…He interferes with editorial integrity.”

138 From “The Two Biggest Assholes in Publishing” by Bagher Hossein, specific page “The Two Biggest Assholes in Publishing (page 51)”:

Last May, David J. Pecker, CEO of Hachette-Fillipachi magazines, found himself with a problem.

An unsettling piece of paper had landed on his desk: an article slated for Premiere magazine, Hachette’s cheerful movie monthly, detailing the involvement of muscled thespian Sylvester Stallone in the Planet Hollywood chain of theme-restaurants. Uh oh. Pecker’s good buddy Ronald Perelman, CEO of Revlon, was at that moment hoping to create a new chain of restaurants “themed” around Marvel Comics characters with both Stallone and Planet Hollywood. For a Hachette publication to run an article exposing the dysfunctional relationships behind the business dealings of the chain would be a major personal embarrassment for David Pecker.

139 From “The Two Biggest Assholes in Publishing” by Bagher Hossein, specific page “The Two Biggest Assholes in Publishing (page 52)”:

Pecker’s public response to the Planet Hollywood debacle – which made national news after two of Premiere‘s editors, Christopher Connelly and Nancy Griffin, resigned in protest – was similarly stiff with pioneer spirit. “We have found in our research that investigative pieces score the lowest,” Pecker number-crunched defiantly. “Our readers are not interested in negative journalism”; “There are hard-hitting journalistic pieces that have hurt the magazine”; “The last time I looked, I am CEO of the company.” And then a landmark utterance: “I have 100% control over what runs in Premiere.”

From “Two Premiere Editors Resign Over Column” by Claudia Eller and James Bates:

Reflecting a drastic change in the editorial direction of one of the movie industry’s most widely read publications, Premiere magazine’s two top editors abruptly resigned Tuesday afternoon in protest after a controversial investigative story about Sylvester Stallone and Planet Hollywood was killed by the magazine’s owner.

Editor in Chief Chris Connelly and Deputy Editor Nancy Griffin shot off a memo to executives at Premiere managing owner Hachette Filipacchi Magazines on Tuesday afternoon saying, “Because we feel that the editorial integrity and credibility of Premiere is the magazine’s most precious asset, we will not kill Corie Brown’s California Suite column for July as we have been ordered to do by ownership. We therefore resign our positions . . . effective immediately.”

Hachette executives said the story was killed because the magazine is positioning itself as a “fan” magazine that will profile celebrities and the movie industry and will no longer run investigative stories.

Sources said the resignations at Premiere come after months of meddling by Hachette executives, as well as pressures from the magazine’s business side to soften the publication so it won’t offend advertisers. Twentieth Century Fox pulled advertising after a recent Brown column examining talent deals at the studio.

140 “How mag helped to cover Tiger’s great ‘lie'” by Keith J. Kelly:

The National Enquirer caught Tiger Woods in a steamy extramarital affair two years ago, but killed the story in exchange for the golfer doing a rare cover-shoot for its sister mag – despite Tiger’s exclusive deal with a rival publication, a former editor told The Post.

Woods’ camp, fearful of a potential public-relations nightmare in spring 2007, allegedly agreed to do a cover for Men’s Fitness – a magazine owned by the Enquirer’s parent company, American Media, former Men’s Fitness editor-in-chief Neal Boulton said yesterday.

“[American Media CEO] David Pecker knew about Tiger Woods’ infidelity a long time ago,” Boulton told The Post. “[Pecker] traded silence for a Men’s Fitness cover.”

“We were going to [do a quid pro quo with] America’s favorite sports star, just to get his name on the cover of a magazine,” said Boulton. “That was too much for me. That’s when I high-tailed it out of there.”

Pecker dismissed all the quid-pro-quo allegations.

141 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 223)”:

Initially, Pecker was hopeful that the state of Florida would lend a hand in limiting the costs of the first act of terrorism in the state. Governor Jeb Bush, however, thought otherwise. Pecker acknowledges the tabs have run stories certain to have displeased the Bush family. There had been pieces on all three of Jeb Bush’s children and their run-ins with the police. Daughter Noelle’s drug problems were chronicled. Son Jebby’s police report for “sexual misconduct” with a young woman in a parked car also made it into the tabs, as did a police report on his brother George P., a rising political star, who was arrested for skidding across his girlfriend’s lawn in his car and breaking into her home.

On the other hand, the tabs were curiously restrained while the mainstream press was abuzz with items about Jeb Bush’s alleged philandering. Even after the Florida governor held a press conference in May 2001 in which he volunteered that he had never slept with anyone other than his wife, the tabs had nothing to say. One Globe reporter says he was eager to cover the story and had excellent leads but was told by his editor, “We’re not writing about Jeb.” The feeling at the tabloid, he says, was that as long as AMI was based in Florida, “Jeb Bush, himself, was off-limits.”

142 From Glenn Kenny, a writer at Premiere at the time, the post “Memories of Arnold” from his blog Some Came Running:

I remember being at the Sundance Film Festival in January of 2001, having two-to-three hour conference calls with Connolly and Hachette’s legal team and Premiere’s fact-checkers (and let me mention that Hachette’s legal people were always incredibly helpful and encouraging to us whenever we did sensitive stories, which you wouldn’t necessarily think if you know certain aspects of the history of U.S. Premiere at Hachette) and thinking, “Holy crap, we’re really pulling this off.” We had a GREAT headline (“Arnold The Barbarian”), Matt Mahurin did a really creepy photo-illustration, and our stuff was fucking airtight. What it all meant in the larger scheme of things was completely beyond my ken at that moment, but at least I wasn’t going to get fucking fired.

You know who did get fucking fired? Michael Solomon. Before he had even served out a year as Premiere’s editor-in-chief. And believe it or not, the Arnold story represented the first couple of nails in his coffin. Yeah, we got A LOT of Hollywood blowback from Schwarzenegger’s claque: irate letters from very big-name collaborators, many of them women, complaining at how disappointed they were that Premiere was trucking in such baseless garbage and what a great guy Arnold was. (And I do believe, incidentally, that the protestations of Schwarzenegger’s great-guyness were entirely sincere; after all, don’t we all have friends who are generous and kind to us and may be less than entirely gallant in other respects, about whom we tend to say, “Oh, that’s just X?” when we hear stories of them doing things that aren’t so cool?) Every day for like two weeks there were a bunch of new letters, and the names: James Cameron, Jamie Leigh Curtis, Emma Thompson (whose verbal wrist-slapping was hand-written; I remember thinking she had the most beautiful handwriting of any living person that I had ever seen) and so on. But there was no black-balling, no “We’ll never work with Premiere again” grandstanding. From any of them. It was just due-diligent noise-making. Because, as much as they liked the fellow, they really did know what was up.

No, the blowback that counted actually echoed that which we got from our readers, many of whom were up in arms that we were “picking” on Arnold. It wasn’t just a matter of people thinking highly of Schwarzenegger; because of his rags-to-riches story and Terminator awesomeness, people actually had quite a bit invested in the idea of thinking highly of Schwarzenegger, and they just didn’t want that messed with. Quite a few of the bigwigs at Hachette, both French and American, apparently looked at “Arnold the Barbarian” and said “Why are they/is he doing this?” Hachette had acquired U.S. Premiere in order to unify it with the international editions of the book; aside from that, the company never really had much of an idea of what to do with it. THIS, however, they did NOT want to do. So the fellas upstairs all of a sudden got a little bit skeptical of the young man who had been their exciting new fair-haired boy just about ten weeks before. Michael was out in October, I think. And now when people cite the history of reputable Arnold scandal-mongering, all they talk about is the 2003 Los Angeles Times piece. Well, Premiere was there first, and we didn’t get sued. Next time I see Michael Solomon, I think I’ll buy him a drink.

143 From “‘Shoe leather’ leads to Schwarzenegger’s secret son” by Ann O’Neil:

Within hours of the story breaking, Schwarzenegger sheepishly conceded that at times he had “behaved badly.”

His wife, Maria Shriver, stood by him.

The paper immediately felt an intense public backlash.

“We had 10,000 subscriptions canceled,” [Times editor John Carroll] said. “The people who were answering the phones became convinced that the people who were calling and canceling the subscriptions weren’t actually reading the story.”

A rumor campaign targeted the “liberal” Times, alleging the newspaper deliberately held the stories until just before the election to hurt Schwarzenegger at the polls.

144 “How fall of Arnold Schwarzenegger was predicted by ‘Hollywood’s Nostradamus'” by Guy Adams:

The anchormen called it a bolt from the blue, Tuesday’s news that Arnold Schwarzenegger had fathered a child during an affair with his housekeeper.

Or nearly everyone. For while a gob-smacked mainstream media was coming to terms with the implosion of one of Hollywood’s foremost power couples, a scandal-mongering celebrity biographer called Ian Halperin was celebrating a remarkable journalistic coup.

Schwarzenegger’s foibles have long been rumoured in the entertainment community. When he announced his intention to stand for Governor of California in 2003, his campaign was almost derailed by a string of women who claimed that he had groped or made inappropriate sexual advances towards them. At the time, journalist Wendy Leigh alleged in Britain’s Daily Mail that a former flight attendant called Tammy Tousignant had given birth to his illegitimate son, Tanner, in the 1990s.

No US news organisation followed up the allegation. And while Tousignant yesterday denied that the boy (whose name is shared with Schwarzenegger’s character in Total Recall) was the ex-governor’s son, her lawyer said that a paternity test had been carried out.

[San Francisco Chronicle political editor Jerry Roberts] said that in the wake of a crippling recession and huge budget deficit, Schwarzenegger had a tarnished reputation. The recent disclosures about his personal life add to that perception, he said.

“As a practical matter, it doesn’t have a lot of effect, but among California voters and people in politics, (the latest scandal) was just a huge ‘F-you’ from him.”

145 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page is “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 224)”:

With the evidence mounting that ephedra could produce serious side effects, the FDA started to investigate the substance in the late ’90s. The agency’s actions may have been a factor in Welder’s decision to sell his publishing company. “The supplement thing had already reared its ugly head by 2000,” says one former AMI editor with firsthand knowledge of the negotiations between AMI and Weider. “I knew two media players who backed away from the Welder magazines because they were worried that the supplement thing would blow up.” It eventually did. In 2004, the FDA banned all ephedra-based products.

From “National Enquirer Owner Invites Default Talk” by Matt Robinson:

Just two years after emerging from bankruptcy, the publisher of the National Enquirer is being abandoned in the bond market on concern that competition from TMZ.com and Gawker.com will push it back into default.

American Media Inc.’s $470 million face value of bonds have lost 3 percent of their value this month, the worst performance among distressed issuers, even as the average bond yielding more than 10 percentage points above similarly dated Treasuries gained 4.6 percent, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data. Standard & Poor’s downgraded the Boca Raton, Florida-based company one level to B- with a negative outlook last week as cost cuts and higher prices haven’t compensated for lower sales.

From “Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to bodybuilding magazines as editor” by Chris Megerian:

Arnold Schwarzenegger has found lots of ways to keep busy since leaving the governor’s office, from starring in action movies to lending his name to a policy institute at the University of Southern California.

Now he’s going to be returning to a role that stirred controversy during his stint in Sacramento — Schwarzenegger will once again serve as executive editor at Muscle & Fitness and Flex magazines.

Schwarzenegger, who was named Mr. Olympia seven times, first took the job shortly after winning the 2003 recall election. When details of the arrangement were revealed in 2005, it was criticized as a conflict of interest and he quit the job.

Schwarzenegger was receiving at least $1 million a year from a magazine dependent on advertising for dietary supplements while also making decisions as governor about how to regulate the industry.

At the time, the leader of the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington called it “one of the most egregious apparent conflicts of interest that I have seen”

146 “Is a Revolt Brewing at AMI?” [archive link] by Hamilton Nolan:

Since emerging from bankruptcy at the end of last month, AMI has announced that it’s merging the LA newsrooms of Star and the Enquirer (and cutting jobs in the process), and that all employees “must take a three-day unpaid furlough before the end of the current fiscal quarter on March 31.”

Those things were bad enough-especially after CEO David Pecker (pictured, with Playboy bunny) reassured employees of the company’s strong financial health as soon as it came out of bankruptcy. But now, word is circulating among AMI employees that Pecker and a handful of other executives stand to receive hefty bonuses for their work on the bankruptcy. “The anger among the employees is widespread and morale is shot,” an insider tells us. It’s so bad that there have already been discussions of legal action by the employees, and/ or a “job action” from the rank and file. The immediate goal: to get rid of Pecker.

“Everybody believes the company would be better off without David Pecker,” says an insider. “His mismanagement, dishonesty and incompetence drove the company into bankruptcy. And now he and other executives are getting even more rich on the backs of good people who have worked very hard over the years for AMI. The stakeholders and employees would benefit greatly from new leadership and we are hoping the company’s board of directors takes action soon.”

147 From “AMI Executives Agree: Everything’s Fine at AMI” [archive link] by Hamilton Nolan:

Yesterday we told you [archive link] that a revolt may be brewing at National Enquirer publisher AMI, where employees are upset about furloughs, layoffs, and perceived management screw-ups following its recent bankruptcy. Did we get some feedback from AMI execs? Did we!

Our post went up at 12:56 yesterday afternoon. Before the afternoon was over, we’d received all of the following emails, in close succession. (We did not receive a forward of the email that went around the AMI offices saying ‘Everyone email Gawker immediately,’ but feel free to send it along.)

From David Jackson, AMI SVP and group publisher:

Revolt??? Nothing of the kind happening at AMI.
David Pecker is a great CEO and leader.
Check your sources!

And:

AMI employee here. I’ve been with the company [nearly a decade]. I haven’t heard of any revolt, but it wouldn’t surprise me, and it certainly wouldn’t be unjustified. Morale is not good right now for a variety of reasons…AMI is just a bad, poorly run company and has been for several years now.

148 From “Taming the Tabloids” by Darcie Lunsford:

“Pecker in the magazine business never thought he got the respect he deserved,” says John Masterton, an editor with Media Industry Newsletter, a New York-based publication covering the magazine industry. “He had a reputation in publishing as being an accountant, basically.”

An accountant by training, Pecker started off his professional career as an auditor for Price Waterhouse and Co. He broke into publishing in the late 1970s as a financial manager for CBS’ magazine unit. Its roster of titles at the time included Woman’s Day and Field & Stream.

Pecker was among a group of CBS executives who later orchestrated a $650 million buyout of the CBS publishing division to form Diamandis Communications, which in turn was purchased by Hachette in the spring of 1988. Pecker became Hachette’s chief financial and operating officer and later its president and chief executive.

He pushed Hachette to make a play for the tabs owned by Generoso Pope–including the National Enquirer and the Weekly World News–when they hit the auction block after Pope’s death in 1988. Hachette was outbid by MacFadden Holdings Inc. and its financial partners. But Pecker never lost interest.

A decade later, the sassy pubs would become his.

“Pecker is a big thinker,” Masterton says, “and he has got big plans for that place.”

149 From “The Machiavelli of Muck” by Joe Domanick:

He dressed in expensive double-breasted wise-guy suits and leather jackets set off by patent leather shoes, man-with-no-eyes shades, and a pinkie ring. He slicked back his thinning hair, doused himself with cologne, and popped Chiclets the way Kojak used to suck on lollipops. He was, said Kat, “the only man I ever met that could make a silk shirt look like polyester.” In the ’80s, he papered the walls of his office in bordello red velvet, later graduating to a hipper decor, highlighted by black leather furniture. His oak-finished office doors were painted in gold lettering announcing that you were entering the Pellicano Investigative Agency Ltd./Forensic Audio Lab/Syllogistic Research Group. He installed what he claimed was the latest in audio analysis equipment. He had his receptionist talk over the piped-in Puccini and offer cappuccinos to prospective clients.

From “Streetwise Gumshoe to the Stars” by Shawn Hubler and James Bates:

But to those on the business end of his $25,000 retainer fee, Pellicano is part hard-boiled detective and part hardball PR man, a tough talker in a thousand-dollar suit who does not carry a gun but whose telephone Muzak is the Sicilian opera used in “The Godfather, Part III.”

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

Pellicano preferred his assistants young and beautiful; his executive vice president, Tarita Virtue, 36, who says she was the only employee allowed into the secret room where his wiretaps were monitored, once posed in lingerie for Maxim. Pellicano mused about arranging a Playboy layout on “The Girls of Pellicano.”

One sample from Virtue’s spread at Maxim, “Tarita Virtue: Girls of Maxim”:

Tarita Virtue from Maxim

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

That $2 million fee, however, brought Pellicano into conflict with one of the few outfits more tenacious than he: the Internal Revenue Service. According to several people close to him, Pellicano reported only $1 million of the fee as income. The other $1 million, Denise Ward says, was reported as a loan: “I remember one morning when he opened his mail with the letter from the I.R.S., he jumped on his desk and started screaming, ‘Abandon ship! Abandon ship! We’re out of business!’ Women were crying and screaming in the office. Fortunately, Rich DiSabatino was in the office and pulled him aside and calmed him down. I understand it took him a few years to pay off the I.R.S.”

Yet between their boss’s flirtations and his bellicose management style, few stayed long. “I always thought when people left Pellicano they should be entitled to therapy instead of severance,” says Denise Ward, a P.I. who toiled six years for Pellicano and dated him as well. “He constantly screams and yells and threatens everyone who works for him. I would ask new employees, ‘Are you on Prozac yet?'” Adds another former Pellicano employee, “At one point every one of us in the office was on anti-anxiety and/or anti-depression medicine.”

152 From John J. Nazarian’s podcast with guest Kat Pellicano, “John Unleashed (09/23/2013)”.

This excerpt is at the 54:15-54:45 point in the podcast.

NAZARIAN
Ray Donovan‘s a great show, but I’ll tell you what, Anthony Pellicano’s got a show much better than that.

KAT
Oh, no question, no question. If he could ever really…if he was ever really able to tell the story, I don’t know if he ever would or not, there’s so many cases, and so many interesting stories, and so many that…things that never hit the news, that was his job and your job also, to make sure that the stories don’t get in the news.

153 From the transcript of the conversation between director John McTiernan and Pellicano “Rising Sun: Image of the Desired Japanese Part Three” footnote 214, made from the audio file available at “Pellicano Trial: Hear Hollywood Director Dish Film Gossip, Prostitutes, Cocaine and Phone Taps” by Allison Hope Weiner:

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.

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

“Before this, I’d never heard of the guy,” the C.E.O. of a top New York agency told me. “No, check that. I read about him in Vanity Fair. Guy seemed like a real nut job.” The noted San Francisco P.I. Jack Palladino says of Pellicano, “I never took the guy seriously. The way he bragged openly about wiretaps and baseball bats, I mean, I just thought it wasn’t real. I didn’t understand that his Hollywood clientele lived in that same film noir world and accepted it as real.”

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

“You have to understand, a lot of what he did was unnecessary,” says Palladino. “He was asking for information he could have gotten otherwise. Either he really didn’t understand how much is now available or he was just too lazy. I mean, this is not how anyone else in this business does business. It’s the way it is in the movies. And, unfortunately, he had this L.A. community-they’re like politicians, they don’t have much to do with regular people. They don’t know much about the real world. They don’t know much about bounda-ries or rules. They’re rich and spoiled and out of touch. And this was a guy who reflected their reality, which was the reality in films.”

156 From “Man of Dishonor” by John Connolly, specific page “Man of Dishonor (page 59)” and “Man of Dishonor (page 60)”:

Once, for example, Seagal said on Arsenio that he had spent a lot of his youth in Brooklyn. In fact, he was born in Michigan and lived there until he was five, when his family moved to California. He later clarified he recollection, saying he had visited cousins in Brooklyn. Also, he seems to have distanced himself from his Jewish side. Mom was Irish and the family worshiped indifferently, as Catholics or Episcopalians. But Dad was Jewish, and the family pronounced its name the normal way: SEE-gul. When he and Gary Goldman were in business together, Seagal said he didn’t want to call their production company Seagal/Goldman Productions “because that would sound too much like two Jews from the garment business.”

157 From “Man of Dishonor” by John Connolly, specific page “Man of Dishonor (page 60)”:

But Dad was Jewish, and the family pronounced its name the normal way: SEE-gul. When he and Gary Goldman were in business together, Seagal said he didn’t want to call their production company Seagal/Goldman Productions “because that would sound too much like two Jews from the garment business.” Shortly after that, the actor returned from an art exhibit where he had seen a painting by Chagall. The work moved him to decree that thereafter he would call himself Se-GAL.

158 From “Seagal Under Siege” by Ned Zeman and John Connolly:

Seagal’s not-so-secret history, it must be said, was a PR masterstroke, the beauty of it being that the CIA never comments on personnel matters–if Tori Spelling claimed to be an agency assassin, no one could disprove her. So on Seagal went, self-mythologizing in the grand Hollywood tradition. “Steven had to re-invent himself to fit in,” says his friend Bob DeBrino, a former New York cop and all-around Hollywood dabbler. “Hollywood’s a tough place to fit in, and he did a good job, man. Coming from nothing. Whether he lied, acted, or whatever, he made it and he became a star.”

159 From “Man of Dishonor” by John Connolly, specific page “Man of Dishonor (page 62)”:

In an interview with Spy, Goldman says he had long known that Seagal tends to tell grandiose tales about himself. Late in 1988, a former soldier of fortune and treasure hunter named Randy Wildner invited Seagal, Goldman and another man to hunt for treasure off the coast of Barbados. At that time, Seagal had been telling Goldman that he’d been a U.S. Navy SEAL. Evidently this was one frogman who did not take well to water. As Goldman recalls, “Randy was driving [a Zodiac raft] in circles while Steven and I carried the gear out to him. The surf was unbelievable, really tough… He started screaming and panicking and was sure he was going to die and all that crap.” Goldman says Seagal had to be helped onto the vessel. “Wildner had to pull Seagal by his hair; I pushed his ass onto the boat with my shoulder.” Later that evening, Goldman says, he realized that Seagal could not read a compass or a map. (Seagal describes himself as “autistic with numbers.”) With that, Goldman says, he totally dismissed the notion that Seagal had ever been involved in any covert operations. In his letter to the Times reporter, Goldman wrote that Seagal “would surely die of starvation if he was given a compass and a map that led to a restaurant five miles away.”

160 From “Man of Dishonor” by John Connolly, specific page “Man of Dishonor (page 58)”:

September 1989: Robert Strickland, a tall dark 68-year old businessman and former contract employee of the CIA, is on the set of Marked For Death, starring Steven Seagal.

Strickland has known Seagal for more than a decade, since they were both in Japan, where Seagal worked in his mother-in-law’s dojo (Martial arts school) and Strickland worked for the spooks. Seagal has been telling the press that he too worked for the agency – a claim neither the press nor Strickland has been able to substantiate but that certainly adds to the aura of terminal menace the Mike Ovitz protégé likes to project. Perhaps, goes a common Hollywood jest of the time, Seagal has the CIA and CAA [talent agency Ovitz founded] confused.

Strickland is enjoying the ultimate accolade that Hollywood bestows on civilians – he’s sitting in the star’s trailer. The star is mouthing off about one Gary Goldman, an ex-mercenary with whom he was collaborating on a screenplay the previous year. The two have had a falling-out over money and screenplay credits, and Goldman, in revenge, has written a letter to the Los Angeles Times exposing Seagal’s supposed intelligence background as a tissue of exploitative lies. This has made the tough guy very unhappy.

Seagal gets around to the point of the meeting, pulling out of a drawer a confidential profile of Goldman assembled by private investigators. Strickland, long aware that Seagal can be hotheaded, finds this something of an overreaction to a squabble over a screenplay. But the dossier is peanuts compared to what happens next. “I’d like you to do me a favor,” says Mr. Ovitz’s fair-headed boy, reaching under the table and pulling out an attaché case. “I’d like you to kill Gary Goldman.”

He opens the case. It contains $50,000 in cash.

All the stunned Strickland can say is, “You’re crazy.”

The actor merely looks frustrated. “If you won’t do it,” Strickland recalls him saying, “get someone who will. Pay him what you want and keep the rest.”

161 From “Man of Dishonor” by John Connolly, specific pages “Man of Dishonor (page 58)” and “Man of Dishonor (page 59)”:

Summer 1991: A top-level security consultant, a 28-year veteran of a government intelligence agency, flies from Washington to New York at Seagal’s behest. He is picked up by Seagal’s limousine, driven to his home on State Island and ushered out to the pool, where, shortly thereafter, he is joined by Seagal and his business partner, Julius Nasso.

The purpose of this meeting? Seagal wants the consultant to set up Alan Richman, a writer from Gentlemen’s Quarterly. Seagal doesn’t like the way he came across in a story Richman wrote about him; in fact, he had already gone on Arsenio and called Richman “a five-foot-two fat little male impersonator.” (Richman is, in fact, a lean, five-foot-nine former Army captain.)

Seagal tells the consultant that Richman is gay – “a fag,” in the actor’s words. (Richman is actually heterosexual.) He wants Richman Richman to set up with a homosexual “to get pictures of Richman going down on the man.” The pictures are to be used to destroy Richman’s career.

The security consultant, incredulous, refuses. But Seagal is undaunted. Later on in the meeting he asks his guest what it would take to “whack” a certain man from Chicago. Our man asks Seagal if he means whack as in “whack dead.” Replies, Seagal, referring to the man’s intelligence background, “Of course, you people do that all the time.”

“You’re crazy,” says the consultant, and once again Seagal’s bid to contract a murder is refused. (The consultant later told Spy, “I don’t really know whether if you agreed to hit some guy, if he’d draw up a contract for you, or if this is just his way of saying that ‘anyone who crosses me might get hit.'”

162 From “GQ Skewers Steven Seagal, Its Testy Cover Boy” by James Warren:

The letter-from-the-editor column in magazines, like your appendix, comes with the basic package but is virtually useless. Thank goodness your appendix doesn’t think it’s droll and can write.

Arthur Cooper, editor of Gentlemen’s Quarterly, pulls off a rarity, capturing one’s attention in his June issue as he sticks it to actor Steven Seagal, cover subject of the March issue. Seagal, a scantily talented, action-adventure star, was miffed by a somewhat intriguing, mildly critical profile by GQ’s Alan Richman that questioned murky areas in his past. Seagal appeared on Arsenio Hall’s TV show and, in what Cooper describes as “his charmingly inarticulate manner, raged that stars as big as he should not be treated so shabbily,” even calling writer Richman a “5-foot-2, fat, little male impersonator.” Richman, who is 5-foot-9 and won a Bronze Star as an Army captain in Vietnam, found being tagged mean-spirited by Seagal ironic. “If I wanted to be mean-spirited,” he tells Cooper, “I would have done a better job. For example, I didn’t put in the story that Seagal said Jews run Hollywood and that most of his directors were incompetent, because I thought it was just more of his careless shooting off at the mouth.” Cooper makes sure to disclose that when Seagal, who thrives on a macho image, showed up to have his picture taken for the March cover, he did so with “an entourage of 12, including bodyguards. His jet-black hair seemed to have a coating of shoe polish, and he was wearing a hair net.” “Having been ministered to earlier by his personal makeup artist, Mr. Seagal was wearing more pancake makeup than Tammy Faye Bakker on her very best day,” Cooper writes. “So, I ask you, who is calling whom a male impersonator?”

163 From “Seagal Under Siege” by Ned Zeman and John Connolly:

Never mind even the videotaped 1993 deposition Seagal gave while defending a civil suit brought by a parking-lot attendant who claimed that the star had roughed him up during a brief scuffle. The suit was settled, though not before a visibly agitated Seagal was asked whether he’d ever solicited murder. His response? He took the Fifth.

164 From “Seagal Under Siege” by Ned Zeman and John Connolly:

Often, Seagal’s wrath comes courtesy of his attorney Martin Singer, who once took the tack of suing a journalist before his story was even written. In 1993 a reporter who contributed to this article, John Connolly, began investigating Seagal for Spy magazine. Singer filed slander and libel suits against Connolly, alleging that he had falsely stated that Seagal associated with murderers and members of organized crime and had solicited murder.

After Connolly’s article was published, the suits were withdrawn. The story contained bombshell allegations by former Seagal associates, including an ex-CIA operative named Robert Strickland, who’d collaborated with Seagal on an aborted film project. In 1990, Strickland said, Seagal had opened an attaché case filled with $50,000 and asked him to kill a former friend and colleague of Seagal’s. The article also quoted a “top-level security consultant” who claimed that in 1991 Seagal had asked him what it would take to “whack” a certain man from Chicago. Shortly thereafter Seagal denied the charge and questioned Strickland’s sanity.

165 From “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast” by Ann Louise Bardach, specific page “Taming the hydra-headed carnivorous beast (page 91)”:

One would be hard pressed to confect a more devastating article for an aspiring politician. Gray Davis’s team couldn’t have been more delighted. ‘As far as I was concerned, [the Skelton column] put Arnold in the ring,” says Garry South, Davis’s campaign manager at the time. “If you’re going to call up a nationally known political columnist for the biggest paper in California and trash the sitting governor and announce that you’re thinking about running against him if he doesn’t shape up according to your own dictates, then you’re running. And by God, you’d better be ready for what’s going to come after you.” South sent the Premiere article to “50 to 80 reporters with a smart-ass little cover memo on it that said, Arnold’s piggish behavior with women-is it because of the pig valve?’ The Arnold camp went bananas.”

South was immediately confronted by Schwarzenegger’s first line of defense: Martin Singer, the combative attorney, also known as “Mad Dog” Singer, who has represented the star since 1990. Singer’s Century City firm, Lavely & Singer, employs 16 lawyers and handles many of Hollywood’s bad boys. “Marty Singer sent me a five page letter, threatening to sue me,” says South. “This was sent to my office, by the way, in person, and they demanded that somebody sign for the letter. Not only did he threaten to sue me for libel-for e-mailing out an article that anyone could have bought on any newsstand-the last paragraph said, ‘Oh, and by the way, this letter is in itself copyrighted, and if you release any part of this letter to the press, I will further sue you for copyright infringement.’ Now, I’ve got to tell you, in my 32 years in politics, I had never gotten a letter like that from anybody.”

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

Those attorneys who used Pellicano’s services and who have cases known to be under federal examination, or who have retained their own attorneys, include some of the best-known lawyers in Southern California: Dennis Wasser, the renowned Beverly Hills divorce attorney whose clients have included Kerkorian, Spielberg, Rod Stewart, and Jennifer Lopez; Martin Singer, who has represented Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, and Celine Dion, and whose office number is said to have appeared on Pellicano’s speed-dial list; the late Edward Masry, best known for spearheading the class-action lawsuit that inspired the 2000 movie Erin Brockovich; Charles N. Shep-ard, head of litigation at Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman Machtinger & Kinsella; two attorneys who have represented Pellicano, Victor Sherman and Donald Re; and Daniel G. Davis, a Beverly Hills criminal-defense attorney best known for his work in the late 1980s on the McMartin pre-school child-molestation case. (None of the attorneys or their representatives would comment for this article.)

167 From “Steven Seagal Gets a Shot at Stardom” by Patrick Goldstein:

Tall and lean, with the rough, good looks of a daredevil jet pilot, Steven Seagal is more than just a 6-foot-4 martial-arts wizard who can flip a man 5 feet in the air with a flick of his wrist.

His fans proclaim that he’s a star waiting to be born.

Ludwig wasn’t exaggerating. When Seagal sweeps through a restaurant, quickly crossing the room with his long, supple strides, heads do turn. With his huge hands, finely sculpted cheekbones and quick, cat-like movements, Seagal radiates plenty of movie-marquee sex appeal. And his martial-arts expertise seems to offer plenty of action-film credibility.

But what really grabs your attention is his voice.

Whether he is recounting his exploits overseas or wondering about his box-office reception, he speaks with a hushed, conspiratorial purr–as if he were worried that a tiny man hidden under the floorboards might be taping the conversation.

From “Man of Dishonor” by John Connolly, specific pages “Man of Dishonor (page 58)”:

According to [Joe] Hyams, Warners was impressed enough to hire Andy Davis, an up-and-coming director, and spend $50,000 on a screen test for Seagal. “The test was a disaster,” Hyams says. “Seagal’s voice was squeaky, and he did not come across well on-screen.” At that point, Hyams said, Ovitz took a most unusual step: He went back to Warners and offered them Donner for Lethal Weapon 2 for the same fee he’d gotten for the incredibly successful original. Whether the latter part of this deal went down is unknown (Donner would not return our phone calls), but Seagal got his break.

From “Fire Down Below” review by John Krewson:

Steven Seagal, the uncharismatic stack of puffy, aging flesh who stars in Fire Down Below, is a federal agent posing as a church mission carpenter while he works for the Environmental Protection Agency to stop rich coal barons from storing toxic waste in abandoned Appalachian mines. He believes in stopping evil polluters, but his pal got killed investigating the same dumps, so it’s also personal.

168 From “Seagal Under Siege” by Ned Zeman and John Connolly:

When Warner Bros. put him on a strict diet and supplied him with a trainer, they found cookie crumbs on the fitness equipment. On the set of Fire Down Below, according to a source, Seagal was so overweight that the crew spent much of its time trying to find flattering camera angles–which, given the final product, seem to have been few.

169 From “Is Actor Steven Seagal the Biggest Jerk in Hollywood?” by Kosmo:

There have been many bad hosts on Saturday Night Live, but perhaps the worst of all time is Steven Seagal; in fact, Seagal made the list of the Top Ten Dubious SNL Hosts. According to the book, Live From New York by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller, back in 1991 when Seagal hosted the show, cast member David Spade said it was the first time he heard talk about replacing the host and doing a cast show.

Julia Sweeney said: “When we pitched our ideas for Seagal at our Monday meeting, he gave us some of his own sketch ideas. And some of his sketch ideas were so heinous, but so hilariously awful, it was like we were on Candid Camera.

“He had this idea that he’s a therapist and he wanted Victoria Jackson to be his patient who’s just been raped. And the therapist says, ‘You’re going to have to come to me twice a week for like three years,’ because, he said, ‘that’s how therapists freaking are. They’re just trying to get your money.’ And then he says that the psychiatrist tries to have sex with her.”

From “EXCLUSIVE: The Full Steven Seagal Story Jenny McCarthy Told Movieline in 1998” by Kyle Buchanan, a re-print of an excerpt from a profile by Stephen Rebello:

When I press her on the subject, the hurt in her voice says she’s still freaked. “I went to the audition for Under Siege 2 with, like, 15 other Jenny McCarthys. These girls came in and out of his office and I was last. Steven comes out and goes, ‘Hmm, so you’re last.’ I’m thinking, ‘Shouldn’t a casting person be doing this?’ I go inside his carpet, which has shag carpet and this huge couch, and he’s by himself and says, ‘Sit on the couch.’ I have my [script pages] and I say, ‘OK, I’m ready,’ but he says, ‘No, I want to find out about you.’ I knew what was coming. He goes, ‘So, you were Playmate of the Year,’ and I was trying to go–” Here, McCarthy breaks off and adopts a Laverne & Shirley blue-collar foghorn delivery: “Yeah, but, like, I lived in Chicago, see, and…”

The accent was apparently no turnoff. “I was wearing this very baggy dress,” she continues, “which I always wear to auditions, with my hair pulled back. I’m listening to him go on and on about how he found his soul in Asia and is one with himself and whatever. When I said, ‘Well, I’m ready to read,’ he said, ‘Stand up, you have to be kind of sexy in the movie and in that dress, I can’t tell.’ I stand up and he goes, ‘Take off your dress.’ I said, ‘What?’ and he said, ‘There’s nudity.’ I said, ‘No, there’s not, or I wouldn’t be here right now.’ He said again, ‘There’s nudity,’ and I said, ‘The pages are right in front of me. There’s no nudity.’ He goes, ‘Take off your dress.’ I just started crying and said, ‘Rent my [Playboy] video, you a**hole!’ and ran out to the car.” That wasn’t quite the end of it. “I’m closing my car door and he grabs me and says, ‘Don’t you ever tell anybody.’ He won’t sue me or say anything because he knows it’s true. If I saw him today, I would still say, ‘You’re a f***ing a**hole and I really hope you change your ways.'”

170 From “Man of Dishonor” by John Connolly, specific pages “Man of Dishonor (page 58)”:

Late 1990. The set of Out for Justice. Same principals – Seagal and Strickland. Raeanne Malone, one of four women hired by Warner Bros. to serve as Seagal’s personal assistants, is in the bathroom of his trailer, brushing her teeth. Strickland watches as Seagal begins loudly calling for Malone, saying he needs her immediately. She emerges still brushing her teeth. “Gee, Raeanne,” says the man of honor and protector of the weak, “You look like that when I come in your mouth.”

In May 1991 all four assistants – Malone, Nicole Selinger, Christine Keever and another woman – quit because of Seagal’s continuing piggery. Three of them threaten to bring sexual-harassment charges against him. Malone and another of the women, in return for a pledge of confidentiality, are paid in the vicinity of $50,000 each.

171 From “Seagal Under Siege” by Ned Zeman and John Connolly:

By 2000, Seagal’s relationship with Warner Bros. was effectively over. The studio had given him one last shot, paying him roughly $3 million to play a supporting role in Exit Wounds, an action vehicle for rapper DMX. The film performed decently, grossing about $72 million worldwide, but Warner Bros., fed up with Seagal’s work habits and bad karma, walked away from its 49-year-old Frankenstein, whose per-picture fee has dropped to about $2.5 million.

172 From “Man of Dishonor” by John Connolly, specific pages “Man of Dishonor (page 64)”:

What’s the explanation for Seagal’s extraordinarily rapid advance? Does he have powerful friends other than Ovitz? Certainly he claims to, and they tend to be invoked when he has differences with people.

A case in point: After Bob Strickland noticed that Seagal was appropriating his stories, he left dozens of messages warning him to stop. Seagal filed a harassment suit against Strickland and got an order of protection against him. In answer, Strickland filed a sworn affidavit in Burbank Superior Court. Among much else, Strickland said, “On December 11, 1991, Steven Seagal stated to me, in my attorney’s presence, ‘If anybody from the CIA fucks with me, they will be hurt.’ He claimed he was backed by very powerful people.” (Charlotte Bissell, who was present as Strickland’s attorney, confirmed his statement.)

The affidavit went on to state that a mutual friend named James Berkley “called me from New York…and advised me to ‘watch my ass.’ He stated that my safety could be in jeopardy because Steven Seagal is backed by powerful people who have a vested financial interest in preserving his image and reputation.” When interviewed by Spy, Berkley elaborated a little, saying only, “You don’t fuck with people from 18th Avenue in Brooklyn.”

173 From “Man of Dishonor” by John Connolly, the high school photo is on “Man of Dishonor (page 58)” and the photo of contrasting houses is on “Man of Dishonor (page 61)”:

steven seagal

steven seagal

174 From “Man of Dishonor” by John Connolly, specific pages “Man of Dishonor (page 64)”:

Julius Nasso is a 40-year-old pharmacist from Staten Island and the owner of Universal Marine Medical Supply Company, which supplies pharmaceuticals to merchants vessels. He is also Steven Seagal’s partner in Steamroller Entertainment, formerly Seagal/Nasso Productions, which has its New York headquarters on the second floor of Nasso’s offices on 12th Avenue in Brooklyn. It’s not clear how he and Seagal became partners. In an interview with Spy, Nasso said he broke into filmmaking in 1984, when he served as an assistant to the late director Sergio Leone during the filming of Once Upon a Time in America. He said his good friend Tony Danza, the actor, was instrumental in getting him involved. Danza told Spy, “I know Nasso, but he’s no friend of mine. I didn’t introduce him to Seagal.”

Seagal tells people Nasso is his cousin, and Nasso sort of agrees. “Our ancestors were related,” Nasso told us, although he couldn’t be more specific. Nasso is Italian and immigrated to the United States from Sicily when he was three. Seagal is Irish and Jewish. America is a wonderful melting pot, but this seems to stretch all limits, baffling even Seagal’s mother. “I never heard of Jules until a few years ago,” Pat Seagal told Spy. “I know he’s not related to us.”

175 From “Seagal Under Siege” by Ned Zeman and John Connolly:

If ever there were a little taste of Brooklyn in Beverly Hills, it would be Madeo, a chubby Italian fixture famous for its prosciutto, its veal, and an atmosphere not inhospitable to gold jewelry for men. That’s where Nasso and Seagal first met, in 1986. Seagal was there with his girlfriend, the actress Kelly LeBrock, best known for her role in the 1984 Gene Wilder comedy, The Woman in Red, and for a shampoo ad in which she famously said, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” Their romance had begun at Hong Kong’s Peninsula Hotel, where she was on a modeling assignment and he was on a mission for love, having persuaded friends that LeBrock was his “destiny.” Which evidently came as something of a surprise to Seagal’s wife at the time, Adrienne La Russa, whom he’d wed while technically still married to Fujitani, and who subsequently filed for an annulment.

It turns out that Nasso knew LeBrock through a friend, and pretty soon Nasso and the lovebirds were tight. A sweetheart, Nasso recalls of Seagal at the time. Stand-up guy. No booze, no drugs. Thin and fit. He wasn’t yet a star, wasn’t even acting. He was teaching aikido at a dojo on La Cienega but had some private clients as well.

176 From “Man of Dishonor” by John Connolly, specific pages “Man of Dishonor (page 65)”:

Whether or not Nasso and Seagal are cousins, they are certainly close. Nasso served as Seagal’s best man when he married Kelly LeBrock, and he is godfather to two of their children. Also, they are next-door neighbors. And yet, they are more than neighbors – tax records show that Nasso is the co-holder of the deed to Seagal’s Staten Island home, the one with the $560,000 mortgage, which sits across from the house formerly occupied by the late Tommy Billotti, who was whacked with Gambino boss Paul Castellano in 1985.

In a deposition in a civil assault case in which Seagal is involved, Seagal stated under oath that he doesn’t know how much money he has, doesn’t know what he owns and doesn’t know what he is paid per picture. At that point, his attorney, Martin Singer, interrupted with a clarification: Seagal does not have an individual contract with Warner Bros.; other people are involved. In fact, the contract is with Steamroller, and the other party is Nasso. Nasso seems to have quite a bit to say about Seagal’s financial affairs. For example, when Bob Strickland’s business deal with Seagal soured, he was told to repay the advance, which had been drawn on Seagal’s personal account, not to the actor but to Nasso.

177 From “His Two Worlds Are Worlds Apart” by Barnaby J. Feder:

He may not have had the artistic impact of the composer Charles Ives and the poet Wallace Stevens, both versatile executives who juggled careers in insurance and the arts, but Julius R. Nasso’s dual career has a similarly diverse flair.

Mr. Nasso runs Universal Marine Medical Supplies, which he has built into the world’s largest distributor of pharmaceuticals to ships, while helping produce action films like “Hard to Kill” and “Out for Justice.”

“I had no idea,” said William Muggenthaler, a senior purchasing executive in the shipping subsidiary of the Chevron Oil Company, which has counted on Universal Marine to stock its oil tankers’ medicine chests in ports around the world for nearly a decade. “We talk strictly about business. We look at other suppliers every two or three years, but we keep renewing his contract.”

Even fewer people know about several shorter-lived but also profitable ventures, like Mr. Nasso’s ownership in the early days of the Cabbage Patch doll craze of Baby Land General Hospital opposite the New York Public Library, where families came to adopt their dolls. Or Tishcon, a Westbury, L.I., company, established in 1976 with Satish Patel, one of his college pharmacy professors, to make over-the-counter drugs and vitamins sold by drugstores and supermarkets under their own labels. The company was sold to Cosmo Laboratories in 1985 in a deal that will provide Mr. Nasso with payments until 2005.

Mr. Nasso got his first taste of pharmacy when he went to work as a 7-year-old stock boy in a Bay Ridge pharmacy, now one of four he owns and operates under the Bi-Wise name. He held numerous other jobs as well, including pouring concrete as a teen-ager on a Manhattan skyscraper being built by the prosperous and influential uncle for whom he was named.

Mr. Nasso founded Universal Marine while still an undergraduate at St. John’s University in Queens, jumping at an opportunity he discovered on his evening shift managing a Brooklyn pharmacy. A harried mate from a freighter docked nearby had rushed in with a lengthy order for drugs and medical equipment that the Coast Guard required the ship to have on board before the scheduled sailing, only hours away. Mr. Nasso filled nearly all of the order by calling around to other drugstores and immediately began to wonder if there was not a better way to do business.

Today, Universal Marine grosses more than $30 million annually, providing shippers with one-stop shopping for supplies ranging from aspirin to hospital beds. It competes with local pharmacies by offering shipping concerns standard prices for worldwide delivery, quantity discounts, inventory control services and expert guidance on the use and disposal of regulated narcotics like morphine.

178 From “Man of Dishonor” by John Connolly, specific pages “Man of Dishonor (page 65)”:

Of course, if in fact Seagal and Julius Nasso were cousins, they might have the same uncle. In an interview in The New York Times, Nasso shows respect for his successful uncle, the one for whom he was named, the one for whom at one time or another he worked. That would be Julius Nasso, the owner of Julius Nasso Concrete Corporation. In 1985 the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York charged Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno and ten other defendants with a wide range of racketeering activities, including extorting money from construction companies to submit fraudulently rigged bids. Julius Nasso Concrete was named in a civil case for participating in the bid-rigging scheme. Employees of Julius Nasso Concrete testified for the government, and Salerno was sentenced to 100 years in prison.

On Julius Nasso’s uncle, also named Julius Nasso, from “When Life Imitates a B-Movie” by Paul Lieberman:

Another profile mentioned that his early jobs included pouring concrete for an “influential uncle,” with no mention of how the elder Nasso’s name had come up at a 1980s mob trial. According to testimony, the uncle attended a meeting with the then-head of the Gambino crime family to discuss the contract to pour concrete for the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

179 From “Man of Dishonor” by John Connolly, specific pages “Man of Dishonor (page 65)”:

Another performer in a Seagal film, Jerry Ciauri, is the stepson of a Mafia capo, Robert Zambardi, who reportedly got Seagal to give his stepson a part in Out for Justice. Seagal hired Ciauri, who has ambitions to be a movie star, to play a bookmaker. In a key scene, Seagal beats up a number of bad guys in a bar; the one varmint who never takes a punch is Ciauri. “No way Seagal was going to take a swing at Bobby Zam’s kid,” Spy was told. Ciauri is awaiting trial on charges of attempted murder, grand larceny and coercion.

On Nasso’s family, from “When Life Imitates a B-Movie” by Paul Lieberman:

He is not the only one in his family embroiled in the criminal case. His brother Vincent, 43, is accused of paying the mob $400,000 in kickbacks in return for a three-year contract to administer a union prescription plan.

A second brother in health care, a chiropractor, was not implicated. He’s the one who in 1989 married a daughter of Johnny Gambino, an imprisoned mob captain.

Nasso says he and Seagal were so close by then, “he escorted my mother up the aisle …. Steven was the star of the wedding.”

180 On Zambardi’s indictment, from “Prosecutors Tell of Colombo Family Murder Plot” by Arnold H. Lubasch:

Victor Orena, reputedly the acting boss of the Colombo crime family, has narrowly escaped an assassination plot, according to a court document.

The plot stemmed from a power struggle between Mr. Orena and a group loyal to Carmine Persico, the convicted Colombo boss now serving a long prison sentence, the document said. It noted that the information about the alleged murder plot came from confidential informants.

Federal prosecutors submitted the document last week at a detention hearing for a defendant, Robert Zambardi, in a loansharking case in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. The document identified Mr. Zambardi as a Colombo crime family soldier who reports directly to Carmine Sessa, identified as the family’s counselor.

“Five confidential sources have informed agents of the F.B.I. that members of the Colombo family close to Persico and concerned that Orena wanted to take over complete control of the family, ordered Orena’s murder,” the document said.

“On June 20, 1991,” it continued, “Carmine Sessa, Robert Zambardi and two other men went to Orena’s residence intending to murder Orena. The plan failed because Orena arrived home prematurely before the conspirators were ready.”

Mr. Zambardi, who is 51 years old and lives on Staten Island, was the only defendant the Government tried to detain without bail in the loansharking investigation. Five others, accused of links to the Gambino crime family, were indicted on separate loansharking charges and were released on $250,000 bail each.

The other defendants were Joseph Bilotti, 58, of Staten Island; Vincent D’Antoni, 48, of Staten Island; Joseph Seggio, 54, of Brooklyn; Peter Sgarlato, 56, of Edison, N.J., and Michael Murdocco, 48, of Staten Island.

Mr. Bilotti was identified as a brother of Thomas Bilotti, who was killed with Paul Castellano, who reputedly headed the Gambino family. They were shot to death on Dec. 16, 1985. Their murders are among the charges against John Gotti in a racketeering trial scheduled for early next year.

The details of Zambardi’s conviction and sentencing can be found in his later, failed, appeal, “164 F.3d 796 UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Theodore PERSICO, Robert Zambardi, and Richard Fusco, Defendants-Appellants.”:

Background

The charges and the Persico trial. The charges in this case arose from an internal war between the Persico and the Orena factions of the Colombo organized crime family, which was fought on the streets of New York City from mid-1991 through the end of 1994. The war was the subject of numerous indictments and has already precipitated several decisions of this Court, which recount its complex details.1

Appellant Persico, the brother of the Colombo family boss, Carmine Persico, Jr., was a member of the Persico faction. He was tried in this case with four other members of that faction, Joseph and Anthony Russo (hereinafter “the Russos”), Joseph Monteleone, and Lawrence Fiorenza. Appellants Fusco and Zambardi, who pled guilty, were also members of the Persico faction.

The trial focused on a conspiracy among members of the Persico faction to murder members of the Orena faction and on three murders of Orena faction members that occurred during the conspiracy: John Minerva and Michael Imbergamo, killed in one incident, and Lorenzo Lampesi, killed separately. Evidence was also presented showing many other incidents in which one or more of the defendants plotted or attempted to kill members of the Orena faction.

The proof consisted largely of the testimony of four cooperating accomplice witnesses: Carmine Sessa (the former consigliere of the Colombo family’s Persico faction), Lawrence Mazza, Joseph Ambrosino (both lower-level soldiers in the Persico faction), and Salvatore Miciotta (a soldier in the Orena faction). These witnesses all testified from their personal knowledge of the conspiracy and the murders, and the defendants’ participation in them. Their testimony was corroborated by tape-recorded conversations, law enforcement surveillances, and evidence seized through lawful searches.

Zambardi’s guilty plea. Zambardi was originally charged in five counts of the indictment with substantive and conspiracy RICO violations, conspiracy to murder, using and carrying a firearm in connection with the murder conspiracy, loan-sharking conspiracy, and possession of a firearm by an ex-felon. At the start of Persico’s trial, Zambardi pled guilty to one count of racketeering, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c), pursuant to a plea agreement stipulating to a 15-year term of imprisonment. If convicted on all counts, Zambardi would have faced life imprisonment.

Following the disclosure of Scarpa’s role as an informant, Zambardi moved to withdraw his plea. He relied on Brady and its progeny, and also alleged that the Government had engaged in “outrageous conduct.” Zambardi claimed that if he had known these newly disclosed facts, he would not have pled guilty.

The District Court denied the motion, finding that the evidence against him was overwhelming. The Court also analyzed the legitimate use that Zambardi might have made of the newly disclosed information and concluded that it would have been immaterial to Zambardi’s trial and to his decision to plead guilty, because there was ample direct evidence against Zambardi without resort to the Scarpa hearsay. Thus, any impeachment of Scarpa’s statements would have been of no value to Zambardi. In Chief Judge Sifton’s view, Zambardi was not seeking to withdraw his plea for any reason other than to try to bargain for an even more lenient sentence. After denial of his post-plea motion, Zambardi received a sentence that included a term of 15 years.

Zambardi’s later guilty plea to four murders is in “Feds Stick With Mob Turncoat” by Helen Peterson and Jerry Capeci:

A top Brooklyn mob turncoat released on bail two years ago was recently returned to prison for possessing guns and beating his wife but the feds still think he’s a credible prosecution witness. Former Colombo consigliere Carmine Sessa, who killed 12 men and a woman in his mobster days, pleaded guilty last month to gun charges and lying to the FBI about terrorizing his wife, Anne, and son, Thomas, for seven months. Despite the renewed violence, Sessa, 48, who made his bones as a member of the Bensonhurst-based crew of Greg Scarpa Sr., was returned to a prison unit for cooperating witnesses. There he was prepped to testify in Brooklyn Federal Court at the racketeering and murder trial of Colombo mobster Robert Zambardi, according to court papers. Zambardi also was a member of the Scarpa crew that operated out of the Wimpy Boys Social Club on 13th Ave. Zambardi, charged with four murders and facing life, pleaded guilty last week after prosecutors made him an offer he couldn’t refuse 11 years.

A piece at the time of Ciauri’s conviction is “State jury makes it official: La Cosa Nostra does exist”:

The jury convicted [Jerry] Ciauri and [James] Besser of shaking down a supermarket owner and stealing $60,000 from the market. In addition, it found that Besser forced the market manager to cash bad checks and that Ciauri made him buy produce from a mob-connected supplier. Ciauri also was convicted of murder conspiracy related to internal warfare in the Colombo mob.

The two man face up to 25 years in prison when sentenced at a later date.

That Ciauri was still serving time in 2001 on various charges is mentioned in “Metro Briefing New York: Albany: Crime Figures’ Appeal Is Rejected” by the Times:

The state’s highest court yesterday rejected an appeal by two imprisoned members of the Colombo organized-crime family. The decision by the Court of Appeals means that James Besser, also known as James Zerilli, will continue to serve 15 years to life in prison, and that Jerry Ciauri will continue his sentence of 12 1/2 to 25 years. According to court records, Mr. Ciauri and Mr. Besser were involved in a failed conspiracy to kill Vic Orena, acting head of the Colombo family, in 1991.

181 From “Seagal Under Siege” by Ned Zeman and John Connolly:

As ever, there were whispers about the duo’s rather exotic origins–Nasso’s in gangland, Seagal’s in his own mind. Nasso, especially, had colorful connections. There was his Uncle Julius, whom federal authorities describe as having connections with the Gambino crime family, and there was his brother, whose wife’s maiden name happens to be Gambino. “I’ve known the good, the bad, and the ugly,” Nasso says. “On my block there’s been a judge and a gangster.” The latter would be Tommy Bilotti, who in 1985 was whacked alongside former Gambino boss Paul Castellano. “That’s the way of life in Staten Island. We all do what we do, and then, when we go home at night, we’re neighbors.”

On Joseph Bilotti’s involvement in the attempt on Orena’s life, from “Prosecutors Tell of Colombo Family Murder Plot” by Arnold H. Lubasch:

The other defendants were Joseph Bilotti, 58, of Staten Island; Vincent D’Antoni, 48, of Staten Island; Joseph Seggio, 54, of Brooklyn; Peter Sgarlato, 56, of Edison, N.J., and Michael Murdocco, 48, of Staten Island.

Mr. Bilotti was identified as a brother of Thomas Bilotti, who was killed with Paul Castellano, who reputedly headed the Gambino family. They were shot to death on Dec. 16, 1985. Their murders are among the charges against John Gotti in a racketeering trial scheduled for early next year.

182 From “The Brooklyn Guy and the Movie Guy: It’s a Mobster Scenario” by Alan Feuer:

In addition to making movies, Mr. Nasso, 49, is the president of Universal Marine Medical Supplies, which sells prescription medicines and surgical products to freighters, cruise ships, off-shore oil rigs and military vessels. He got his start in the pharmacy business by working weekends as a stock boy at Lowen’s, a drugstore in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, according to a 1999 interview he gave to The Friars Epistle, which is published by the Friars Club.

In that interview, Mr. Nasso spoke of meeting Mr. Seagal on a business trip to Kobe, Japan. The chance encounter eventually led to a movie partnership, Seagal-Nasso Productions, said Mr. Nasso’s lawyer, Barry Levin. ”They made movies together,” Mr. Levin said. These included ”Hard to Kill,” ”Marked for Death” and ”Under Siege.”

Here’s another version from “When Life Imitates a B-Movie” by Paul Lieberman:

Nasso has often said he met Seagal in Japan, while on business for Universal Marine Medical Supplies, his Brooklyn-based company that sells pharmaceuticals and health gear to cruise lines and merchant ships. Nasso said he needed a translator and looked up Seagal, who was fluent in the language: He’d been married to a Japanese woman and had run a martial arts studio in Japan.

Nasso sometimes told people he and Seagal were distant cousins. They’re not, and the whole Japan story is “puffery,” Nasso now acknowledges.

He now says they met in Los Angeles in early 1987.

…as well as in “Seagal Under Siege” by Ned Zeman and John Connolly:

If ever there were a little taste of Brooklyn in Beverly Hills, it would be Madeo, a chubby Italian fixture famous for its prosciutto, its veal, and an atmosphere not inhospitable to gold jewelry for men. That’s where Nasso and Seagal first met, in 1986. Seagal was there with his girlfriend, the actress Kelly LeBrock, best known for her role in the 1984 Gene Wilder comedy, The Woman in Red, and for a shampoo ad in which she famously said, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” Their romance had begun at Hong Kong’s Peninsula Hotel, where she was on a modeling assignment and he was on a mission for love, having persuaded friends that LeBrock was his “destiny.” Which evidently came as something of a surprise to Seagal’s wife at the time, Adrienne La Russa, whom he’d wed while technically still married to Fujitani, and who subsequently filed for an annulment.

It turns out that Nasso knew LeBrock through a friend, and pretty soon Nasso and the lovebirds were tight. A sweetheart, Nasso recalls of Seagal at the time. Stand-up guy. No booze, no drugs. Thin and fit. He wasn’t yet a star, wasn’t even acting. He was teaching aikido at a dojo on La Cienega but had some private clients as well. One of them, as fate would have it, was then the most powerful man in Hollywood, Michael Ovitz, who ran the vaunted Creative Artists Agency. They had met through another mutual client, actor James Coburn.

183 From “His Two Worlds Are Worlds Apart” by Barnaby J. Feder:

Mr. Nasso’s involvement with movies was an outgrowth of business trips to Universal Marine’s branch office in San Pedro, the port of Los Angeles. Mr. Nasso fell into the habit on trips there of taking a couple of extra days to stop in on childhood acquaintances who were making their mark in television: Tony Danza (“Taxi”), Jimmy Baio (“Soap”) and Scott Baio (“Happy Days”). He was immediately intrigued by the organizational skills that went into filming.

From “Man of Dishonor” by John Connolly, specific page “Man of Dishonor (page 64)”:

In an interview with Spy, Nasso said he broke into filmmaking in 1984, when he served as an assistant to the late director Sergio Leone during the filming of Once Upon a Time in America. He said his good friend Tony Danza, the actor, was instrumental in getting him involved. Danza told Spy, “I know Nasso, but he’s no friend of mine. I didn’t introduce him to Seagal.”

184 From “Seagal Under Siege” by Ned Zeman and John Connolly:

By 1983 the magic found Nasso–in, of all places, Brooklyn–courtesy of the late spaghetti-Western director Sergio Leone, who was in town making his gangland epic, Once upon a Time in America, starring Robert De Niro. Leone needed an assistant, and who better than Nasso, who spoke paesan and was, at the very least, familiar with the subject matter? At age 29 Nasso became Leone’s gofer, earning $35 a day while keeping his day job. “You’re a doctor?” Leone asked him, embarrassed that a pharmacist was fetching him lunch. “What are you doing here?”

“You’re the master,” Nasso replied.

185 From “Seagal Under Siege” by Ned Zeman and John Connolly:

Nasso’s heritage, by contrast, has never been in dispute–except perhaps for the time in the early 1990s when he claimed to a reporter that he and Seagal were related. (He’s sure not claiming that anymore.) Little Jules was a classic Brooklyn scrapper, working his way through college at St. John’s, in Queens, while climbing the ladder at Lowen’s, a pharmacy not far from the Brooklyn Piers, which were lousy with mobsters who shook down the major shipping lines. (Nasso also earned a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Connecticut.)

From “His Two Worlds Are Worlds Apart” by Barnaby J. Feder:

Inside, the counter behind his desk is filled with a large model of the Titanic and a computer terminal that connects Mr. Nasso to Universal Marine’s operations. The wall above it is covered with pharmacy degrees and certificates. A model anchor serves as a paperweight. But off to the side are a series of movie posters, pictures of Nasso family members with stars like Sylvester Stallone and the cast of “Ghostbusters” and a director’s chair with Mr. Nasso’s name.

From “When Life Imitates a B-Movie” by Paul Lieberman:

Three newspapers did profiles tracing his rise from humble roots, one account saying he had two doctorates, apparently not realizing that Nasso proudly counts a 1979 testimonial dinner at Fordham University as the equivalent of an honorary degree and bases his other on a membership certificate from the Connecticut Pharmaceutical Assn.

186 From “Cabbage Patch Fever: 25 Years After” by Colleen Kane:

Whenever I see a Cabbage Patch Kid slouching naked on a shelf at a thrift store, yarn hair pulled out of her former fat pigtails, I think about how far her value has fallen.

In the Christmas season of 1983, Cabbage Patch Kids were America’s most wanted dolls. They were nearly impossible to find selling at their $30 retail price, with the black market values going to $75 and beyond into triple digits. The dolls were ugly, each one was unique, and each had their own ugly unique compound name, like Eunice Grismelda or Archibald Jehosephat.

I was 9 going on 10, edging up on being a little old for dolls, but I was not immune to Cabbage Patch fever. Most of my friends already had them, some even had more than one (NOT FAIR). My wish for a doll coupled with an even more urgent desire to not be left out. I knew it would take more than a letter to Santa to acquire one of these. It would take lots of begging.

From “About New York; A New Cabbage Patch Arrives On 5th Avenue” by William E. Geist, from The New York Times, December 7, 1985:

Two burly truckers sheepishly entered the pastel ”adoption room,” the larger of the two deciding to stand so as not to smash to smithereens the delicate furniture.

They watched in wonder as their two new children received a final checkup from the doctor, then they signed the papers and raised their right hands: ”I solemnly promise,” they said, to be understanding parents, to provide for the childrens’ needs, to love and nurture them, to train them properly and to cherish their roles as adoptive parents of Cabbage Patch Kids.

No one cracked a smile, not in Babyland, a new store at 475 Fifth Avenue, at 41st Street, that sells only Cabbage Patch Kids dolls and accessories. ”Adopt,” Nurse Eileen softly corrected. ”They are up for adoption, not for sale. And they are babies or children or kids, not dolls.”

She and the other nurses and doctors on the staff of the store – ”We prefer the term ‘hospital,’ ” corrected Nurse Kathleen – dress in nurse’s and doctor’s uniforms, complete with real stethoscopes. What is more, they use the stethoscopes.

They know how. They were trained at Babyland General Hospital in Cleveland, Ga., where Cabbage Patch dolls were created, and where the doctors learned such things as how to perform freckle-otomies and dimplectomies – simple, outpatient procedures done at nominal charges. They also treat crackitis with needle and thread.

From “Coleco Moves Out Of The Cabbage Patch” by N. R. Kleinfeld:

What still hangs over Coleco, though, is the unanswerable question of how much longer the Cabbage Patch roll will go on. Coleco is reliant on its homely dolls for three-quarters of its sales. Toyland is a fickle place. What is Silly Putty today is often just silly tomorrow.

In fact, Toy & Hobby World, a trade magazine that surveys retailers to compute the 10 best-selling toys, reports that robots and various action figures are the toys that are sizzling these days. Cabbage Patch, which led the hit parade for a dazzling 16 months, was displaced in April by Transformers, a line of transformable toy robots manufactured by Hasbro Inc. In May, Cabbage Patch tumbled to third, behind Transformers and Mattel’s Masters of the Universe action figures, but then the dolls climbed to second in the June survey.

”Cabbage Patch, after all, is just a toy,” remarks Rick Anguilla, the editor of Toy & Hobby World. ”It’s not a world event. It was so hysterically big, but it has to tail off.”

187 On “Operation Which Doctor” from “Cops on Steroids” by Sean Gardiner:

In the past year, Lowen’s has become what law-enforcement officials believe was one of the busiest steroid and HGH outlets in the country. Those involved in this alleged ‘roid mill include a Beverly Hills chiropractor with a degree in hypnotism, a mob associate/ movie producer named Julius “Jules” Nasso who did time for extorting actor Steven Seagal, a former pump-and-dump stock operator who owns a gym, and a Staten Island doctor who had an office in what was known as the “Fountain of Youth Building,” across the street from a cemetery.

In the past two years, the probe zigzagged from upstate New York to South Florida before focusing on the community drug store in Bay Ridge. The Brooklyn investigation started in a roundabout way. In 2005, officials from the state Department of Health contacted Albany D.A. David Soares after their records showed that a doctor in Rome, New York, was issuing an unusually large amount of methadone, according to Soares’s spokeswoman Heather Orth. The probe took an unexpected turn when the doctor, who eventually was sentenced to six years in prison, began explaining how the Internet and so-called anti-aging clinics were being used to illegally prescribe drugs without doctor’s exams and then ship steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

“Operation Which Doctor,” as they called it, eventually led investigators to Orlando, Florida, where this past February a task force raided the Signature pharmacy and several anti-aging clinics. Orth maintains that the focus of the investigation was always the suppliers. To date, she says, 22 people have been indicted, with 10 of those convicted, including several doctors and pharmacists. But what made the headlines (and caused some criticism of the district attorney as being a publicity hound) was that several professional athletes were found to have obtained steroids from Signature. Among them, reportedly, were former heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield, baseball player Gary Matthews Jr., and New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison.

On the involvement of Joseph Colao, from “N.J. doctor supplied steroids to hundreds of law enforcement officers, firefighters” by Amy Brittain & Mark Mueller:

From a seemingly above-board practice in Jersey City, Colao frequently broke the law and his own oath by faking medical diagnoses to justify his prescriptions for the drugs, the investigation shows.

Many of the officers and firefighters willingly took part in the ruse, finding Colao provided an easy way to obtain tightly regulated substances that are illegal without a valid prescription, the investigation found.

Others were persuaded by the physician’s polished sales pitch, one that glossed over the risks and legal realities, the newspaper found. A small percentage may have legitimately needed the drugs to treat uncommon medical conditions.

In most cases, if not all, they used their government health plans to pay for the substances. Evidence gathered by The Star-Ledger suggests the total cost to taxpayers reaches into the millions of dollars.

On the involvement of Richard Lucente, “Richard Lucente, doc in NYPD steroid scandal, arrested on charges of prescribing ‘roids” by Scott Shifrel:

A Staten Island doctor at the center of a steroid scandal involving NYPD officers was busted Tuesday on charges he illegally peddled the drug to bodybuilders.

Dr. Richard Lucente pleaded not guilty to a 76-count indictment for his part of the scandal, which included kickbacks for sending patients to a pharmacy, prosecutors said.

Lucente, a 37-year-old osteopath and former personal trainer who ran the New York Anti-Aging and Wellness Center in West Brighton, Staten Island, was one of the main doctors writing prescriptions for cops and high school athletes.

“He gained a reputation as someone who would sell to any bodybuilder, weightlifter or athlete,” Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said. Lucente’s clinic and Lowen’s Pharmacy in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, also were indicted.

On the Victor Vargas episode, from “N.J. doctor supplied steroids to hundreds of law enforcement officers, firefighters” by Amy Brittain & Mark Mueller:

The man on the stoop looked “wild-eyed.”

Mathias Bolton stood inside the vestibule of his Jersey City apartment building, trying to decide what to do.

Moments earlier, after hearing footsteps and bangs on his roof, he had called police to report a possible break-in. Then he had rushed down the stairs to let the officers in. Bolton had expected to find a uniformed officer when he opened the door on that August night in 2007.

Instead he saw a man in street clothes, with no badge visible, shouting at him, he claims in a lawsuit against the Jersey City Police Department.

“He looks very nervous and wild-eyed and looks like … to me he looks like a thug,” Bolton said in a deposition last year. “And he yells at me, ‘Did you call the police? Did you call the police?’ And I’m hearing the sirens coming, and I – at that point – I’m just terrified. I just let the guys in who were on the roof.”

The man on the stoop wasn’t a burglar. He was Jersey City officer Victor Vargas, whose use of steroids would come to play a central role in Bolton’s lawsuit against the city.

During the suit’s discovery phase, Bolton’s lawyers learned Vargas, now 33, was one of two officers on the scene that night to have received steroids or growth hormone from Colao. The other is Stise, the officer who was just 26 when Lowen’s sent him drugs.

Between January and August 2007, Vargas filled 11 prescriptions for HCG, testosterone and growth hormone through Lowen’s and a local Walgreens, the lawsuit states.

Bolton claims Vargas never identified himself as a police officer and, in a steroid-induced rage, sent him sprawling with a punch to the face.

“I grab onto the railing and this guy – it turns out to be Victor Vargas – and he’s pounding me like a bear, like over and over,” Bolton, 37, said in his deposition.

Bolton contends Vargas then tossed him down the stairs to the sidewalk, where other arriving officers, including Stise, continued to beat him.

“Mr. Bolton’s description of the sudden and violent behavior he allegedly encountered with the city police officer Vargas, if true, is consistent with a manifestation of the aggressiveness that is known to occur with anabolic steroids,” wrote Gary Wadler, Bolton’s steroids expert.

The officers provide a markedly different account of the incident in legal papers, saying Vargas and others on the scene clearly identified themselves, repeatedly ordered Bolton to stop resisting and acted with restraint in subduing a man they claimed was punching and kicking them.

Bolton was charged with resisting arrest and aggravated assault on a police officer. The counts were later dropped.

188 From “Staten Island doctor pleads guilty to selling steroids to cops, body builders” by Scott Shifrel:

A Staten Island doctor charged with peddling steroids to cops and body builders pleaded guilty in the middle of his trial Friday.

Richard Lucente, 38, admitted he got kickbacks from a Brooklyn pharmacy for feeding it patients – including 19 city cops and a heart transplant patient who died.

Lucente – who could have faced more than 30 years if convicted at trial – pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy in exchange for five years probation, 200 hours of community service and giving up medicine. “He has surrendered his medical license.

He is a convicted felon. He is not writing prescriptions,” prosecutor Michel Spanakos said afterward.

On the death of Joseph Colao, from “N.J. doctor supplied steroids to hundreds of law enforcement officers, firefighters” by Amy Brittain & Mark Mueller:

On a rainy August morning in 2007, the news rippled through New Jersey’s law enforcement ranks, officer to officer, department to department.

Joseph Colao was dead.

The 45-year-old physician had collapsed in his Jersey City apartment, the victim of heart failure.

Within hours, officers were calling the Hudson County public safety complex.

“Is it true?” they asked, recalled Detective Sgt. Ken Kolich, who’d drawn the routine assignment to look into the death. “Did Dr. Colao die?”

Kolich didn’t suspect foul play, but he found it odd – and a little disturbing – that so many officers were interested in the fate of a man with no official ties to any police agency.

Today, it’s clear Colao was more than just a doctor, friend or confidant to many of the officers.

He was their supplier.

On Vargas getting his prescriptions filled at Lowen’s, from “N.J. doctor supplied steroids to hundreds of law enforcement officers, firefighters” by Amy Brittain & Mark Mueller:

Between January and August 2007, Vargas filled 11 prescriptions for HCG, testosterone and growth hormone through Lowen’s and a local Walgreens, the lawsuit states.

On the number of steroid prescriptions filled out at Loew’s, from “Cops on Steroids” by Sean Gardiner:

In addition to the pharmacy’s connection with Nasso, it is also associated with New York Anti-Aging & Wellness Medical Services, a Staten Island hormone-therapy clinic also at the center of the steroid probe. The principals in that venture include osteopath Richard Lucente and John Amato, a/k/a “Flames,” who owns several Dolphin Fitness Center gyms. Amato did 15 months in prison and was ordered to make $182,000 in restitution for a pump-and dump stock scam in 2000 involving a company supposedly operating health clubs. Rossi’s son-in-law, Edward Letendre, is also a partner in the clinic and a vice president of Lowen’s.

The Staten Island clinic was located in the small, redbrick “Fountain of Youth Building” across the street from St. Peter’s Cemetery. In a small office on the lower level of that building, Lucente also operated the Life Longevity Center. The office was raided several months ago and appears to have since been vacated. Investigators have found that Lucente wrote more than 2,000 of the 9,300 steroid prescriptions filled at Lowen’s over the past 18 months, according to law-enforcement sources.

On the HGH being illegally imported from China, and the kickbacks received from Colao, from “N.J. doctor supplied steroids to hundreds of law enforcement officers, firefighters” by Amy Brittain & Mark Mueller:

Representatives of Lowen’s Pharmacy, a neighborhood drugstore in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, were shopping for doctors who could help them expand by moving huge quantities of steroids and growth hormone illegally imported from China, said Mark Haskins, who investigated the pharmacy for the New York State Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, a division of the health department.

“Without a doctor, you can’t peddle the stuff,” said Haskins, who retired from the agency after helping secure an indictment against Lowen’s. “You only need one doctor, and you’re golden.”

Colao became that doctor.

The physician steered clients to Lowen’s, and the pharmacy sent Colao boxes of HGH as a kickback, Haskins said. The more product Colao pushed, the more he received off the books. And the more he received, the more he could sell for cash, Haskins said.

“Dr. Colao sold drugs,” Haskins said. “Lowen’s sold drugs. There was no doctor-patient relationship here.”

On Lucente accepting kickbacks, from “Richard Lucente, doc in NYPD steroid scandal, arrested on charges of prescribing ‘roids”:

A Staten Island doctor at the center of a steroid scandal involving NYPD officers was busted Tuesday on charges he illegally peddled the drug to bodybuilders.

Dr. Richard Lucente pleaded not guilty to a 76-count indictment for his part of the scandal, which included kickbacks for sending patients to a pharmacy, prosecutors said.

On Nasso’s involvement with Lowen’s, from “Staten Island film producer denies any wrongdoing” by Associated Press:

A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that state prosecutors are probing Nasso’s connections to a small Brooklyn pharmacy whose large-scale sales of steroids and human growth hormone earned it a mention in the Mitchell Report on the use of those drugs by Major League Baseball players.

No one has been charged, and Nasso denies any involvement — but there has been intrigue enough to fill a movie script.

State narcotics investigators raided Lowen’s Pharmacy twice last year, carting away enough Chinese-made human growth hormone in one visit to make $7.5 million worth of shots.

As Brooklyn prosecutors were preparing to convene a grand jury, the store’s principal owner and chief pharmacist, John Rossi, apparently shot himself to death on Jan. 28.

What does any of this have to do with Nasso? He was Rossi’s friend and business partner for 40 years and still co-owns the building housing Lowen’s.

189 On Nasso being a silent partner in Lowen’s, from “Cops on Steroids” by Sean Gardiner:

A lawsuit filed in July by Beverly Hills chiropractor Shirley Elzinga against Lowen’s and its owners, John Rossi and Nasso, details Lowen’s meteoric rise from family pharmacy to Internet drug supermarket.

Elzinga, who runs a Rodeo Drive anti- aging center called Preventive Medicine Clinic, contends that sometime in 2004 she was approached by Nasso, who is described in the suit as “an owner of Lowen’s.” (A law-enforcement source tells the Voice that Rossi has described Nasso as a “silent partner” in the pharmacy.)

190 On John Rossi’s death and the letters he sent before he died, from “A Shot Reputation” by Sean Gardiner:

A well-known pharmacist gets involved with shady characters who force him to transform his neighborhood drugstore into an illegal steroid factory that becomes part of a major scandal involving NYPD cops. Then, when the heat is on and the pharmacist agrees to talk, he ends up dead of a gunshot wound. Unfortunately for Bay Ridge pharmacist John Rossi, this may have been the movie of his life. How much Rossi was part of the burgeoning scandal revolving around Lowen’s Pharmacy could be difficult to determine. Employees found him shot to death in his store office on January 28. The death has been ruled a suicide.

It appears that he shot himself twice. Authorities say that Rossi stuffed small wads of paper towels into his ears, then placed a .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun gripped in his right hand to the left side of his chest, near his nipple, and pulled the trigger. The bullet passed through his pectoral muscle and out his armpit; it was only a flesh wound. He then put the gun to the right side of his head and fired again, authorities say.

Rossi spent Sunday, January 27, at a hospital, celebrating the birth of a grandson. The next day, he went to work. His attorney, Richard Signorelli, says he spoke with Rossi that morning and they discussed the case. Signorelli says that Rossi maintained, as he had throughout the probe, an attitude of being “stoic and resolved to fight this case and clear his name.” Signorelli adds, “I had no sign that anything like this was going to happen.”

Following a major October raid, Rossi wrote two letters published in the local Bay Ridge edition of the Brooklyn Eagle, in which he defended himself and the pharmacy by saying that his suppliers had sent unlicensed substances to the store. “Lowen’s and its pharmacists and employees have done nothing improper,” he wrote. He taped the letters to the front window of the store.

“My family is my life,” one of the letters says. “Lowen’s staff is part of my family and will be always.”

On the skepticism of people to the suicide, from “In Bay Ridge, Shock Over a Pharmacy Owner’s Death” by Jake Mooney:

Finally, hushed gossip in the neighborhood focused on the circumstances of Mr. Rossi’s death, which the city medical examiner ruled a suicide. He reportedly was being sought to testify in the steroid inquiry, and people who have doubts about the official story say he had a lot to live for, and a lot of information that could have hurt others. They also focus on what killed him: two gunshots. Mr. Rossi was a pharmacist, after all, and, as his longtime customer Lorraine Daly, a rare neighbor who would express such sentiments on the record, put it, “If you had a choice, pills or a gun, what are you going to use?”

191 From “Seagal Under Siege” by Ned Zeman and John Connolly:

Fair enough. But Nasso says Seagal’s camp has yet to rebut persuasively the raft of noncontractual evidence suggesting Seagal’s tacit participation in the slate of projects. In 1998, Seagal/Nasso’s corporate president, Phillip Goldfine, announced that Seagal would star in at least two projects, most memorably the story of Genghis Khan. The company took out full-page ads, featuring Seagal’s name and face, in trade publications. “I always understood and was told by Steven that he was going to star in the movies,” says Steve Perry, the producer. “We had a number of other conversations, and I understood that they were going to pre-sell the foreign rights.”

By 2001, Seagal was all but estranged from Nasso, who by then was wondering why he’d earned a grand total of $850,000 from all those hit movies that had made Seagal a multimillionaire. Nasso dates their final conversation to July 5, 2001. The subject, he says, was weapons. Nasso no longer wanted his or his company’s name on Seagal’s New York gun permit, he says, and had gone to the police about the matter. When Seagal found out, Nasso says, he called in a rage. Nasso says the conversation ended this way:

Nasso: Are you finished?

Seagal: Yes.

Nasso: You’ll never hear from me again. Go fuck yourself.

All was relatively quiet until this past March, when Nasso hit Seagal with a $60 million breach-of-contract suit.

192 From “Seagal Under Siege” by Ned Zeman and John Connolly:

Three months later, on June 4, in a lightning-fast pre-dawn sweep, police in New York and New Jersey arrested 17 accused mobsters in 17 minutes, charging them with 68 counts of extortion, threats, and loan-sharking in and around the waterfront of both states. The biggest fish by far was Peter Gotti, acting head of the notorious Gambino crime family and older brother of “Dapper Don” John Gotto, who would die in a federal-prison hospital that same month. Next in line were several Gambino heavies, among them Anthony “Sonny” Ciccone, Frank “Red” Scollo, and Primo Cassarinio. One of the smallest fish, though, was the most exotic: Jules Nasso, who was awakened and arrested at Villa Terranova, and charged with “conspiracy to commit extortion” and “extortion of an individual in the film industry.” Nasso was released later that day on $1.5 million bail.

The “individual” went unnamed, but everyone knew it was Seagal. In the weeks preceding Nasso’s arrest, word got back to him that Seagal had been bad-mouthing him to a federal grand jury. Nasso didn’t take the news lightly.

193 From “When Life Imitates a B-Movie” by Paul Lieberman:

He is not the only one in his family embroiled in the criminal case. His brother Vincent, 43, is accused of paying the mob $400,000 in kickbacks in return for a three-year contract to administer a union prescription plan.

A second brother in health care, a chiropractor, was not implicated. He’s the one who in 1989 married a daughter of Johnny Gambino, an imprisoned mob captain.

194 From “Gotti’s Golden Goose: Drug Contractor for City Unions Named as Mob Conduit” by Wayne Barrett:

A prescription drug company that services 91,188 city workers and retirees has been linked to mob payoffs in the trial of Peter Gotti, the recently convicted head of the Gambino crime family. At least five major public-employee unions, representing firefighters, police sergeants, corrections officers, Teamsters, and transit workers, have multimillion-dollar, city-subsidized contracts with General Prescription Programs Inc., which manages their drug plans. The millions in city or Transit Authority contributions paid to support these often no-bid contracts is the latest example of abuses by these funds detailed recently in a three-part Voice series. The Bloomberg administration is exploring the possibility of the city taking over the funds as part of the $600 million in labor gap-closing concessions it’s seeking, with a joint management/union board setting policy, as is done almost everywhere else in the country.

Federal prosecutors have connected GPP to the alleged funneling of more than $400,000 in bribes to Gotti and other gangsters in a successful effort to secure the national pharmaceutical-management contract of the mob-controlled International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA). The small, closely held, New Jersey-based company won the contract though it was rated fifth of five finalists by outside consultants, according to prosecutors, and was paid $4 million more than the nationwide prescription provider that succeeded it.

In the ILA deal, GPP was the 80 percent partner of Value Integrated Pharmacy (VIP), a firm owned by Vincent Nasso, an indicted Gambino associate. Tapes and testimony at the trial indicated that Sonny Ciccone, a Gambino capo who controlled the Brooklyn docks, fixed the 1998, three-year contract for GPP/VIP. Nasso, who will be tried separately from Gotti in September, is charged with steering the bribes to Ciccone, who allegedly “kicked up” some of the payoffs to Peter Gotti, the brother of longtime Gambino boss John Gotti.

While GPP is not associated with Nasso in any of its city union business, its principal, Joel Grodman, did join with another Nasso entity, Pharmaceutical Consultants & Administrators Inc. (PCAI), to win the prescription contract at Local 6, which represents hotel and restaurant workers. In addition to describing the PCAI partnership with Grodman, Nasso attorney Barry Levin told the Voice that his client has frequently used GPP as a subcontractor on contracts with other private unions. Local 6, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, Teamsters Local 237, and the Transport Workers Union are in the process of terminating their contracts with Grodman and GPP, neither of which were indicted in the case.

These details can also be read about directly in the appeal of the conviction of Peter Gotti, under the “MILA Counts” section (MILA is the Management–International Longshoremen’s Association), from pages 8 to 11 of “United States of America v. Peter Gotti”, specific page “United States of America v. Peter Gotti (page 8)”. The opening:

2. The MILA Counts

The MILA Counts related to a scheme of the Gambino and Genovese Families to use their control over MILA (the ILA’s national health plan) to ensure that a particular company called GPP/VIP – which was partially owned by Gambino Family associate Vincent Nasso, and which paid substantial kickbacks – was awarded MILA’s lucrative pharmaceutical services contract. Indictment ¶¶ 110-113. Ciccone was the only defendant-appellant named in these counts.

At trial, the government adduced evidence of the MILA scheme from several sources. David Tolan – the management co-chairman of MILA since 1997 – testified that MILA had been established in early 1997 as a national health plan for all ILA members, and that its Board of Trustees included eighteen management-side trustees and eighteen union-side trustees. Tr. 1079, 1082. In 1997, the MILA trustees decided to include a prescription drug benefit for the members and, to that end, requested proposals from twenty-two pharmaceutical benefit providers. Tr. 1088. All twenty-two companies responded with bids; MILA’s outside consultants then produced a list of the top five contenders. Tr. 1088-89. A company called GPP ranked number five in that list, while a company called Express Scripts ranked first. Tr. 1089. Nolan recommended that GPP (which he believed lacked sufficient financial resources) be eliminated from the list, and that MILA engage Express Scripts. Tr. 1092. The union trustees, however, did not agree with that recommendation, and wanted to enter into an arrangement with GPP. Tr. 1093, 1097-98. The trustees eventually reached an agreement whe