Pellicano Trial: Michael Ovitz Testifies About How Much He Appreciated The Information He Got

Mr. Ovitz tried to elicit sympathy from the jury while he talked about using Mr. Pellicano to get "embarrassing information" on his enemies.
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Talking about how difficult a time he was having selling his company AMG in May, 2002, Mr. Ovitz tried to elicit sympathy from the jury while he talked about using Mr. Pellicano to get "embarrassing information" on his enemies. "Yes, it was an extraordinarily difficult time for the company and for me," he said, looking pained by the memory. "There was all this negative press saying we had client problems and financial problems. There were morale problems as well."

(Hear audio of Ovitz phoning Pellicano for an appointment here)

"All I wanted was a graceful exit from the business," explained Mr. Ovitz. And, apparently, in order to get that graceful exit, he needed to stop the articles being written by Ms. Busch and Mr. Weinraub. As to the information Pellicano gave him, Mr. Ovitz expressed gratitude to Mr. Pellicano for providing such good stuff. "It was incredibly helpful to me," he said of the information.

So, thank you Mr. Pellicano. Someone -- who paid you a lot of cash -- actually liked what you got for him about all these stinkin' press people and their stinkin' negative articles. It's about time someone stopped those folks from harassing someone like Mike Ovitz.

After the first break, the government played an audio recording of Mike Ovitz asking to meet with Mr. Pellicano. He tells Mr. Pellicano that he needs to see the detective about "the single most complex situation imaginable." When asked what he meant by that comment, Mr. Ovitz replied, "We were in an extraordinarily tenuous time. We were being battered in the press on a consistent basis." The reports, said the former super agent, were "wildly personal" and "wildly embarrassing."

As for the call to Mr. Pellicano, Mr. Ovitz said he may have exaggerated when he made the call, "but I needed information." Needing information was Mr. Ovitz's consistent theme as to why he called Mr. Pellicano. "I wanted all kinds of information. I had no one feeding me information," he said, explaining why he needed Mr. Pellicano's help. As for why he hired Pellicano and not another private investigator, Mr. Ovitz was quite clear. "I assumed he had information from people he was involved in representing as well as that he was someone who moved around in the community at the highest levels and talked to the people who were sourcing the press." Mr. Ovitz continued to complain that he needed Mr. Pellicano to deal with the barrage of negative articles coming out of the New York Times, being written by Anita Busch and Bernard Weinraub. But, his focus wasn't on the reporters, he explained irritably. His focus was on the people he believed were sourcing those reporters. Then again, he didn't seem to be too fond of either Ms. Busch or Mr. Weinraub as he claimed their articles were incorrect and contributed to one of the worst times in his life.

As to who those people were that Mr. Ovitz thought were sourcing the press, well, at first Mr. Ovitz declined to say. But when pressed on cross-examination by Mr. Arneson's attorney, Chad Hummel, he finally answered. "I called him [Pellicano] because he was dealing with people who were sourcing the articles. Mr. Ovitz said that he believed "Ron Meyer and David Geffen" were behind the New York Times' articles about him. Mr. Ovitz wanted Pellicano to "get whatever he could get for me. I wanted to know when I would be ambushed, when the other shoe would drop," Mr. Ovitz said.

As for Ron Meyer, Mr. Ovitz testified that Mr. Pellicano told him that he has a "huge problem with Ron Meyer." So, said Mr. Ovitz, looking particularly concerned, "I said I'd pay him whatever he wanted if he could fix it." And then, one final plug for the investigator who allegedly threatened Anita Busch, Mr. Weinraub and former CAA partners, Kevin Huvane and Bryan Lourd. "Pellicano worked very hard to settle disputes for me. He was an incredibly valuable source of information on the campus."

The campus is Mr. Ovitz's reference to what he said was the entertainment business. "It's very much like high school," he explained to the jury. Just like high school, except with wiretaps, explosives and people being run off the road....

Next up was Anita Busch. Ms. Busch was calm and collected as she recounted receiving a dead fish on her car and examining what looked like a bullet hole in the front window. She also verified that her DMV and criminal history information was looked up right around the time she was writing articles for The New York Times about Mr. Ovitz and the demise of his AMG business. And then, she went to pieces as she recalled being threatened in person by a menacing man who pulled along side her car. She began to cry as she explained that she thought she was going to die, right in front of her apartment building, that very moment.

Ah, just like high school....

Read all of HuffPost's coverage from inside the Pellicano courtroom

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