Pellicano Trial: Striking Murder, Bugging Conde Nast and Ovitz's Interview with Vanity Fair

There is evidence that Mr. Pellicano obtained an advance copy of a 2002 Vanity Fair article about then-client, Michael Ovitz -- in which he referred to a 'gay mafia.'
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This morning started off with the Judge telling the jury that they were to disregard Adam Sender's rather interesting testimony about Mr. Pellicano offering to kill Aaron Russo for him. The Judge was persuaded by Chad Hummel, who represents Mr. Arneson, that that testimony was extremely prejudicial to his client as well as to the rest of the defendants--none of whom are charged with murder. So, turns out that this intriguing testimony--which was basically confirmed by Mr. Pellicano on his cross-examination of Mr. Sender--is going to be stricken from the record. And, that really means that the jury heard the evidence and is supposed to forget they heard the evidence and that means that they'll probably now remember the testimony even more...

Up for the government this morning was Wayne Reynolds, a former Pellicano employee,who currently works as a manager of technology for Conde Nast publications. Mr. Reynolds testified that after lying to the F.B.I. about Anthony Pellicano's wiretapping activities, he got a lawyer and started telling the truth. Mr. Reynolds, who admitted that Mr. Pellicano thought of him as a son, crisply and articulately testified about seeing Mr. Pellicano put wiretapping equipment in the trunk of the detective's car. He also recalled overhearing conversations between Mr. Pellicano and former phone company employee, Ray Turner, where Mr. Pellicano spoke in a sort of code. Mr. Reynolds testified that he heard Mr. Pellicano call Mr. Turner and tell him, "that girl you have up, take her down." And on another occasion, Mr. Reynolds also heard Mr. Pellicano talking to Mr. Turner, inquiring "how's our girlfriend doing?" Mr. Reynolds told the jury that he understood that Mr. Pellicano was "talking about wiretapping."

Mr. Pellicano's cross examination of Mr. Reynolds started off rather poorly with Mr. Pellicano failing to get in the notes from F.B.I. interviews of Mr. Reynolds. After a series of objections from Mr. Saunders and an admonishment from the Judge that he simply could not ask a particular question, Mr. Pellicano asked for a moment and walked over to Mr. Hummel for some on-the-job training regarding the rules of evidence. With his confidence restored by Mr. Hummel (and a proper question in his pocket), Mr. Pellicano managed to take Mr. Reynolds through what Mr. Reynolds said was the first lie he told the F.B.I. "You testified here today that you had knowledge of wiretapping by Mr. Pellicano?" the detective pointed out to his former friend and surrogate son. When Mr. Reynolds admitted that was his testimony, Mr. Pellicano then, for one of the first times in the trial, properly pointed out that Mr. Reynolds had said just the opposite when asked the same question by the F.B.I. in January of 2003. As Mr. Reynolds admitted that he'd lied to the F.B.I. in 2003 and tried to point out that he was telling the truth today, Mr. Pellicano looked tempted to do a victory lap. At last, success....

Bolstered by having finally asked a good cross-examination question, Mr. Pellicano actually began to seriously do some damage to Mr. Reynolds credibility. "Didn't you use bugging equipment to overhear your supervisor at Conde Nast?" Mr. Pellicano asked, sounding as if he was sure of the answer. As Mr. Reynolds tried to fake laugh the question off with a strong "no," Mr. Pellicano went in for the kill. "Didn't you tell another employee of Mr. Pellicano's that you'd bugged your supervisor's office?" Again, Mr. Reynolds answered "no," but it seemed possible that the former son had learned a few things from the father.

Finally, Mr. Pellicano seemed to answer the question as to how Mr. Pellicano might have gotten advance copies of certain magazine articles. "Did you provide Mr. Pellicano with confidential information from Conde Nast pre-publication of that information?" Mr. Pellicano asked. "No, that never happened," Mr. Reynolds replied. But despite the denial, there is evidence turned over by the government to the defense that Mr. Pellicano obtained an advance (pre-publication) copy of an article about then-client, Michael Ovitz. The article about Mr. Ovitz--in which he famously referred to a "gay mafia" in Hollywood that was out to get him--appeared in 2002 in the Conde Nast publication, Vanity Fair and was written by Brian Burroughs.


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