“It’s stupid and false. You can quote me on that. Stupid, false and kind of pathetic. Vanity Fair is not journalism, it’s garbage.” So says Bert Fields’ attorney John Keker about the current issue’s claim that Fields may be working out “a settlement” with Pellicano prosecutors. This quote comes from the legal journal The Recorder, whose article indicates that the feds are stymied in their attempt to bag Hollywood’s premiere litigator. That’s exceedingly good news to Fields’ many pals in the entertainment biz. “Magazines, TV and newspapers point out nearly every week that the Hollywood litigator is a key target in the ongoing probe of notorious private eye Anthony Pellicano,” the journal says. “But it’s been nearly four years since an FBI raid of Pellicano’s office found evidence of illegal wiretaps, and almost three since Fields admitted he was a target of the investigation. At that time, partners at the firm then known as Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman Machtinger & Kinsella were called into an emergency meeting where, a former lawyer at the firm said recently, they were told they would read that Fields was under investigation in the next day’s paper. Yet the frequent Pellicano client has remained beyond prosecutors’ grasp despite his long and well-publicized relationship with the detective.”

The Recorder says the February indictment of Terry Christensen — another high-profile litigator — based on taped phone conversations with Pellicano “has only underscored the major difficulty in pursuing Fields: So far, there’s no smoking gun…. the investigation of Pellicano’s computers has not yielded the type of evidence against Fields that it apparently did against Christensen, making the Christensen recordings look increasingly like a windfall. Since they turned up, lawyers familiar with the case said, no similar recordings of other lawyers have been found, and prosecutors recently admitted that they’ve been unable to decode many of the remaining computer files.” While the prosecutors, The Recorder writes, “found plenty of evidence pointing to the high-profile Pellicano, they’ve so far been unable to show that Fields had direct knowledge of any wrongdoing in cases he handled. Indeed, lawyers familiar with the case said one recording between Pellicano and a Greenberg lawyer has the detective saying he acquired certain information from ‘sources,’ rather than from a wiretap — evidence that defense lawyers in the case may present as exculpatory.”

Translation: Who in Bert’s office is about to pop the champagne corks?