Mr. Hummel, who represents Mark Arneson, spent an hour delivering a compact, compelling closing argument as to why Mr. Arneson should be found innocent. He started off admitting what he'd admitted in his opening--Mr. Arneson did in fact do hundreds of computer runs for Mr. Pellicano over the years. He acknowledged that Mr. Arneson "had crossed the line and was sorry for doing it." After that admission, he went on to use the testimony of government witness and lead investigative agent, Stan Ornellas, to prove that Mr. Arneson hadn't been part of any RICO conspiracy. Noting that it was Mr. Arneson who'd called Mr. Ornellas to the stand, Mr. Hummel pointed out that we "called him to tell you what they actually found in their investigation." He pointed out in a chart for the jury, showing Mr. Ornellas' testimony, that the agent never "found any evidence linking Mr. Arneson to wiretapping." Something that a lot of the other witnesses who are not charged in this case can't really say. And, then there was Agent Ornellas testimony regarding whether Mr. Arneson was involved in threatening any of Mr. Pellicano's clients. "No," again said Mr. Ornellas. And in a particularly interesting excerpt, Mr. Hummel pointed out that when asked whether Mr. Arneson had failed to arrest someone or pursue a lead because of his association with Mr. Pellicano--something that Mr. Saunders hammered on yesterday--Mr. Hummel pointed out that Mr. Ornellas had found no evidence that showed Sgt. Arneson had failed to do complete investigations or make arrests because of his work for Mr. Pellicano.
Mr. Pellicano gave his closing argument and it was definitely a
classic. Following on the heels of Mr. Hummel's precise account of
what exactly Mr. Arneson did for Mr. Pellicano--ran DMV and criminal
history--Mr. Pellicano argued that he was a lone ranger who kept things
to himself "and only allowed others to learn what HE wanted them to
learn." Jettisoning the whole John Adams "fact is a stubborn thing"
quote used by Mr. Saunders yesterday, Mr. Pellicano went with his own
founding father--Benjamin Franklin. "Benjamin Franklin said that the
only way to keep a secret when three people are involved is if two
people are dead." And so, he launched into a summary of exactly how he
ran his business. "There was no criminal enterprise," Mr. Pellicano
argued. There was just a private investigator who was also an audio
expert solving problems for his clients through the analysis of
information. And of course, there was an end goal. "Winning," said
Mr. Pellicano, "that's what it was all about." He proudly stated that
his business cards should have read "I deliver." Noting with a smile
to the jury that that's exactly what Mr. Pellicano did "not only
private celebrity clients but for law enforcement" for over thirty
Mr. Pellicano then addressed the testimony during the trial from his
immunized employees and clients who all agreed on one thing--he was
secretive. "Mr. Pellicano never allowed clients to know what he was
doing and for good reason," said Mr. Pellicano about himself. A
statement that undoubtedly gave the government a chance to smile. And
then, he said what everyone at this trial already knows, but what the
government didn't manage to prove about Mr. Pellicano's
clients--"Everyone who hired him knew what they were getting."
Mr. Pellicano then took a moment to address the value of the
information provided by Mr. Arneson, agreeing with Mr. Hummel's
argument that he basically used those runs from Mr. Arneson to confirm
information that he already knew. He referenced how the information
from former Sgt. Arneson contained information from DMV runs and also
license plate numbers. "Boy, having that information, case closed," he
said sarcastically, breaking into a big smile. "Not really." He then
went on to specify the nature of his relationship with Mr. Arneson,
noting that "most of the time I had that information and just got it
And then there were complements for the government. Mr. Pellicano told
the jury that they'd done a good job of pointing out what was in those
runs, over and over again. It probably wasn't lost on the jury how
many weeks of testimony were devoted to Pellicano targets identifying
their personal phone numbers and license plate numbers on runs faxed
to Mr. Pellicano by Mr. Arneson. But Mr. Pellicano insisted that just
because he got information from a bunch of different sources, didn't
mean that he was running a criminal enterprise. "Because," Mr.
Pellicano noted, "if that means that I was running a criminal
enterprise that means that every private eye in the country is running
an enterprise and even some of the journalists here." He looked over
in my direction with a smile. Mr. Saunder vehemently objected and the
judge ordered the question stricken--but everyone was still smiling as
Mr. Pellicano continued his argument.
He also tried to point out to the jury that there was a lot of evidence
they hadn't heard. He noted that they never would have learned the
contents of his private calls with clients if the government had seized
them from his office--something that we all kind of all know by now,
but something that clearly is still bugging Mr. Pellicano. He then
took the opportunity to bait the government about how although they got
some calls from his records, there were lots of calls they couldn't
decrypt...something that the government admitted in closing. "You
didn't hear all of those recordings and they may have had more evidence
to assist you," Mr. Pellicano said before Mr. Saunders exploded with
another objection. Well, nobody wants the jury to hear about how the
government couldn't break the encryption codes set up by just a private
investigator and his nerdy side-kick, Kevin Kachikian. Pretty sad
stuff.... As for what we did hear, Mr. Pellicano apologized. "Those
were never intended to be heard by anyone but Mr. Pellicano," he said
of the phone recordings seized from his office.
And then, there were his final comments to the jury--probably the most
entertaining final close that I've ever heard. "Mr. Pellicano refuses
to insult your intelligence," he said of himself. "Mr. Pellicano told
you that the evidence will show what the evidence shows and it clearly
does." And, that's a fact Jack.
As for who was responsible for this entire operation, Mr. Pellicano
took the last few moments to tell the jury--man to ladies and
gentlemen--that "Mr. Pellicano alone is responsible for the gathering
and acquisition of the information. That's the simple truth. Mr.
Pellicano alone is responsible." A final gift to Mr. Arneson, Mr.
Kachikian, Mr. Turner and Mr. Nicherie for having to sit through all of
Mr. Pellicano's rather unhelpful cross-examination and for ending up
charged with RICO along with him.
Finally, he had one last thought for the jury. "Mr. Pellicano had
instructed me not to stand up here and try to sway you and you know
that people do what Mr. Pellicano says," he argued, prompting the judge
to cover her face with her hand to conceal her laughter. ""So, I'm
going to do what Mr. Pellicano says." And with that, he thanked the
jury for their service and walked over to his chair with a big smile on
MORE TO COME ON TODAY
There was one thing that I forgot to put in my earlier post and that really summed up Mr. Saunders' closing argument yesterday. Before the defendants began to close today, Mr. Saunders took a moment to thank the judge for giving him extra time to finish his argument yesterday. "It wasn't as extra as it seemed," the judge replied with a smile, intimating that Mr. Saunders' final forty-five minutes of argument seemed to go on longer than it actually did.
Read all the coverage from inside the Pellicano courtroom