The conspiracy and wiretapping case against ex-Hollywood P.I. Anthony Pellicano and Terry Christensen, the managing partner of the powerhouse entertainment law firm Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil & Shapiro, will be in the hands of the jury after federal prosecutor Dan Saunders ends his closing argument this morning. Patty Glaser, Christensen’s law partner who’s also defending him, spoke for 3 hours yesterday. According to the Los Angeles legal newspaper Daily Journal‘s Robert Iafolla (the only reporter providing daily coverage of the 5-week-old trial), both closing arguments focused on the contents of Cristensen’s and Pellicano’s 34 recorded conversations. “With each side playing the same tape during closing arguments Tuesday, they again offered jurors radically different interpretations. According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel A. Saunders, that first recorded conversation was ‘the birth of a criminal conspiracy’ between two men with ‘an insatiable need to win’ without regards to their methods. In their initial talk they forged a secret pact to wiretap a litigation opponent, a ‘shocking display of greed, corruption and arrogance’ memorialized on more than six hours of recordings, Saunders argued.
“But lead defense attorney Patricia Glaser asserted that first conversation had nothing to do with a wiretapping plot. Instead, Glaser argued Christensen hired Pellicano to discover the paternity of a child born in 1997, not to supply intelligence about litigation that was ongoing [between Kirk Kerkorian and his ex-wife] in 2002. The recordings are proof that Christensen was a ‘victim of [Pellicano’s] illegal recording, not a perpetrator,’ she said.”
Pellicano, who once again is representing himself, declined to deliver a closing argument.
In the last Pelliano trial, witnesses testified that several Los Angeles attorneys made use of Pellicano’s illegal investigative techniques, but Christensen is the only lawyer indicted in the scandal because Pellicano taped conversations with him. But there’s no actual wiretapping presented as evidence because of Pelicano’s fail-safe method of computer encryption. But, during closing arguments Tuesday, Saunders said the Christensen-Pellicano tapes were “much better,” the Daily Journal quoted. ” ‘When you get recordings of defendants actually discussing crimes in their own words, there’s not a lot you can do to get away form that,’ he told the jury. Saunders likened the defense’s argument that no recordings of a wiretap means there was no wiretap to ‘standing over a body with 10 bullet holes and saying you can’t prove murder because there’s no gun.’ ”
This is Glaser’s first criminal trial, and the convetional isdom is that she decided to rep Christensen to avoid becoming a witness in the trial herself. “True to her reputation as one of the fiercest litigators in Los Angeles, Glaser pushed the line during her closing, sometimes crossing it,” the Daily Journal said. “The judge sustained more than a dozen prosecution objections against her on the grounds that she was arguing facts not in evidence, misstating testimony or misstating the law.”
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