So the trial that would not end is finally ending with closing arguments. Not much of a Hollywood angle to report, except for the lawyer for LAPD Sgt Mark Arneson, who is accused of doing all those illegal law enforcement database investigations. I’ve been reading the coverage – anxiously awaiting the verdict on this end! ”It makes no sense that Mr. Ovitz a pillar of the Hollywood community would hire Mr. Pellicano to put a fish on a car of a reporter. If he had a problem with The New York Times, he would just call the editor.”
Meanwhile, jailed Hollywood P.I. Anthony Pellicano, who is defending himself, spoke for a mere 16 minutes — and mostly rambled.
About Pellicano’s closing argument, DHD/LA Weekly trial correspondent Steven Mikulan wrote: “Pellicano had told Judge Dale Fischer that he needed somewhere between an hour to an hour and a half to complete his speech to the jury, but he gave himself the hook after only 16 minutes. Appearing relaxed, affable and confident, Pellicano nevertheless gave a rambling dissertation on the roles of the jury and prosecutor. Jurors stared at him alertly but with opaque expressions.
“Pellicano has made much of how he detests snitches and ‘rats’, and certainly the government’s dance card was packed with witnesses who were either cooperating with prosecutors for lesser sentences in cases related to Pellicano’s, or who had completely dodged indictments in exchange for their testimony about Pellicano’s alleged wiretapping activities.
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U.S. District Court Judge Dale Fischer nixed Pellicano co-defendant LAPD Sgt Mark Arneson’s motion for a mistrial. If only this trial would end… and it will soon. The case goes to the jury this week.
Breaking Pellicano Bombshell: A Mistrial? Feds’ Witness Screws Up Trial Big-Time
UPDATED: It all has to do with Asst U.S. Attorney Daniel Saunders oversealousness in calling to testify a woman who appears to have lied on the witness stand and to the feds about Pellicano co-defendant LAPD Sgt Mark Arneson. Here is the just posted story by LA Weekly‘s Steven Mikulan, my DHD trial correspondent, who explains everything.) The jury has just been sent home, and U.S. District Court Judge Dale Fischer will rule on a mistrial motion filed by Arneson’s attorney. Arneson is charged is charged with illegally using law enforcement databases to help Hollywood P.I. Anthony Pellicano’s investigations. (CAA partners Bryan Lourd and Kevin Huvane, among others, were probed that way…) So everything is now in a state of flux. And what everyone is wondering is whether this means all five defendants or just Arneson would have to be tried over again, and therefore a do-over by all those Hollywood witnesses. Mikulan emailed me: “As of now ‘mistrial’ pertains only to Mark Arneson, although how it could effect the others remains uncertain, should he be severed from the case.”
LA Weekly: Pellicano Trial Bombshell: Witness Shocker Throws Trial Into Turmoil
Today the retired FBI agent who led the Pellicano investigation testified that he believed Ovitz’s hiring of the Hollywood private-eye led to that June 2002 fish-rose-&-note warning left on Anita Busch’s Audi. But Stan Ornellas stopped short of saying Ovitz specifically ordered the June 2002 threat against the freelance journalist who had co-written with staff writer Bernie Weinraub a series of stories exposing trouble within Ovitz’s management and production company AMG that spring. And, on cross-examination, the attorney for LAPD Sgt Mark Arneson asked: “Is it possible Mr. Ovitz hired Mr. Pellicano … but had nothing to do with the threats?” To which Ornellas replied, “Yes.”
Ornellas also testified that he interviewed Ovitz after Pellicano’s arrest in November 2002, and that Ovitz mentioned Busch’s name. The G-man also testified that the FBI retrieved a recorded telephone call of Pellicano speaking with Meyer after the FBI raided the P.I.’s West Hollywood office on Nov. 21, 2002. According to Ornellas, Pellicano said on the recording that Ovitz was at the heart of his legal problems. Ornellas also testified that Pellicano demanded $20,000 per month from Ovitz. Ovitz has not been charged with any wrongdoing in the Pellicano trial. (See my previous: Ovitz Testifies Busch/Weinraub NYT Articles “Wildly Embarrassing”)
The entertainment uber-litigator just confirmed to me that he was formally notified today. The lawyer for Pellicano trial co-defendant LAPD Sgt Mark Arneson had intended to put Fields on the witness stand. So Bert spent two days down at the Roybal federal building cooling his heels. Federal prosecutor Daniel Saunders had vowed to grill Fields for a minimum four hours during cross-examination if he testified. It sure looks as if Arneson’s attorney backed down. Fields vs Saunders: now that would have been a real-life court drama.
The Pellicano trial’s court session today was cancelled even though Hollywood superlawyer Bert Fields showed up to take the witness stand after being called by the defense attorney for LAPD Sgt Mark Arneson. (See photo below by Jim Stevenson exclusively for DHD.) So while Bert cools his heels, the defense will get a hearing tomorrow at 10 AM before U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer over allegations that prosecutors illegally used confidential testimony in their cross examination of Arneson last Friday. After this issue was raised, jurors were dismissed today and Fields instructed to return to court tomorrow where he’ll testify after FBI agent Stan Ornalles. (Photo by Jim Stevenson exclusively for DHD)
Bert Fields was not called to the witness stand today.
Here’s the list of famous clients whom Pellicano co-defendant LAPD Sgt Mark Arneson testified today he “helped” as part of private security work paid by the Hollywood private-eye: Kelsey Grammer, Farrah Fawcett, Rick Springfield, Mary J Blige, Enya, Vidal Sasson, Jesse Jackson, members of the Disney family, Whoopi Goldberg, Goldie Hawn, Nicolas Cage, Michael J Fox. Arneson also claimed he did bodyguarding duty at the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Soul Train awards. “I thought I was helping the greater good of the Los Angeles Police Department,” he testified. But prosecutors pointed out he victimized other famous people with illegal law enforcement database searches. ”I knew what I was doing was against LAPD policy. I knew what I was doing is wrong.”