5:30 PM: Today, accused Hollywood P.I. Anthony Pellicano finally gave the court his version of what this case is all about. And if anyone was expecting some impassioned defense of himself, or surprise explanation for his prosecution, there was none. There was, in fact, very little forthcoming from him, period. During a stumbling 10-minute opening statement, Pellicano didn’t present what lawyers consider a coherent theory for his defense. He told jurors that clients would want to hire him not for what he couldn’t do, but for what he could do. He said he “served clients in problem-solving” and demanded a high fee because of that. [Hollywood, remember this terminology — that wiretapping and other extreme stuff is just problem-solving.] And to do this, Pellicano said, it required him to use his sources with access to law enforcement and other databases. Pellicano said it was a matter of fact that his clients won their cases, but he would leave to the jury to answer the question of whether or not those clients won because of the information he provided. Pellicano also explained all those recordings found in his office by the FBI as mere reminders he made of his own conversations never meant to be heard by anyone else. When the judge asked him to tell the jurors what the evidence will show — which is the entire point of an opening statement — The Pellican said, “It will show what it will show.”
2:30 PM: Paramount boss Brad Grey’s name was brought up when assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Lally gave 10 or so thumbnail sketches of cases involving Pellicano’s alleged wrongdoing at the end of the government’s opening statement. Lally explained a bit about the bitter litigation battle between Grey, then a manager and producer, and screenwriter Bo Zenga over Scary Movie and the investigations of Zenga and his family and associates that ensued — including alleged wiretapping — once Pellicano was put on the case for Grey’s side in the litigation in 2001. Grey himself is not accused of any wrongdoing and is not a defendant in this trial.
11:30 AM: The government has finished its trial opener. Pellicano, who is defending himself, may or may not have time today to present his. He is scheduled to speak next-to-last of all the defendants.
9:30 AM: The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles opened the trial of Hollywood private investigator Anthony Pellicano and his co-defendants by presenting an oral argument that talked about Michael Ovitz front and center. Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Violent and Organized Crime Division Kevin Lally told the court details about three instances in particular of Pellicano allegedly going outside the legal boundaries as a hired dick — and one of them was while working for Ovitz. The prosecutor said that Ovitz — the former CAA co-founder, fired Disney president and ex-manager/producer who’s now a showbiz pariah — paid Pellicano $75,000 to investigate reporters Anita Busch and Bernie Weinraub because of a negative series of New York Times articles they had written in 2002 about his then failing management/production company, Artists Management Group. (Busch was a freelancer and Weinraub a longtime staff reporter when they shared a byline on the articles…) Ovitz himself is not accused of any wrongdoing and is not a defendant in this trial. Lally later sketched out the other Pellicano probes which the trial will uncover. Lally also spent considerable time in court explaining Pellicano’s P.I. operation and how the “enterprise took in in excess of $2 million”. The prosecutor talked about Pellicano’s penchant for recording himself and all his own calls, and that, as a result of this habit, “defendant Pellicano is the biggest government informant in this case”.