Like sands through the hourglass, so go the days of the Anthony Pellicano wiretapping trial under way in Los Angeles.
Between testimony of a "Godfather"-style offer to whack a bothersome Hollywood producer, the recorded conversations between a billionaire’s straying wife and his brother, and the questionable DMV records of agency partners, the trial has become nearly soap-opera epic in scope.
The movie probably couldn’t be made; it would be too corny. It almost requires a suspension of disbelief just to read the legitimate news accounts of the sordid details coming out in the second week of trial testimony.
Pellicano, a high-profile private detective to the stars, is on trial with four other defendants facing wiretapping and other charges. Pellicano is acting as his own attorney.
Among the most jaw-dropping revelations: Pellicano allegedly offered to have producer/director and politician Aaron Russo whacked over an investment dispute. Russo died of cancer last year.
The idea came up when Pellicano met with hedge fund manager Adam Sender and talked about a lawsuit against Russo.
Sender testified, "If I wanted to, I could authorize [Pellicano] to have [Russo] murdered on the way back from Las Vegas, have someone follow him back, drive him off the road and bury his body somewhere in the desert."
Sender’s dispute with Russo resulted from an investment of $1.1 million in a failed production company and online business with Russo, who once managed Bette Midler, produced such films as "Trading Places" and ran unsuccessfully for governor of Nevada.
The straying wife story arc involves recordings made of Lisa Gores, the former wife of billionaire Alec Gores, and her brother-in-law Tom. The recording was expected to be played in court April 2nd.
Lisa Gores testified that she and Tom Gores, who also was married, had an affair in early 2001 while she was still married to her husband, Alec Gores. The couple divorced in August 2001.
She testified she learned her husband had hired Pellicano to investigate her. On the recording, she said she talked to Tom Gores about her concern that someone had been following them after a rendezvous earlier in the evening at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
"We were just trying to figure out Alec’s knowledge, you know denying [the affair], and just comfort each other and not say anything," Lisa Gores said.
But days before the rendezvous, prosecutors said their names were illegally run through criminal databases by Pellicano co-defendant L.A. Police Sgt. Mark Arneson. The affair may have ended, but Lisa Gores testified she begged Pellicano to destroy the tapes.
"I was very nervous and scared of the tape getting out," she testified.
Also apprehensive about personal information – like a residential address – being made public was CAA partner Kevin Huvane, who was harangued over the address on his drivers’ license. The agency chief used CAA’s former address in Beverly Hills as his own for DMV purposes, he said, to protect his privacy.
Huvane and fellow partner Bryan Lourd were called to confirm personal information that was dug up by Pellicano, allegedly at the behest of former partner and CAA founder Michael Ovitz.
In addition to Huvane’s invalid drivers license address, the biggest surprise of the day may have been that Lourd apparently was driving a Ford at the time, according to DMV registration records.
While Deadline Hollywood Daily online reporter Nikki Finke dutifully relayed every detail and clarification of the drivers license drama, at least one commenter wryly noted that, with salaries that break down to "roughly $40K a day – I would say them being out of the office for 3 hours this morning (considering they work a 12-hour day) cost CAA about $20K."