The criminal trial of jailed Hollywood dick Anthony Pellicano doesn’t start until August 22nd. So we’ll probably have to endure a lot of drip, drip, drip stories equivalent to legal water torture. The latest is from Pellicano reporting duo of David Halbfinger and Allison Hope Weiner about legal ethics: Did Hollywood producer Steve Bing hire Pellicano back during the 2001 Liz Hurley who’s-my-baby’s-father scandal to dig up dirt on the actress, then pocket a substantial settlement from London’s Daily Mail after the paper reported that? Today’s NYT says the newspaper wants its money back. At issue is the truthfulness of a sworn declaration from Pellicano in that case that he had “never been engaged by Mr. Bing nor his attorney Mr. Martin Singer to investigate anyone on Mr. Bing’s behalf, including Ms. Hurley.” The NYT says that’s at odds with audio recordings from Spring 2002 in which the private eye boasts that he has been “working for,” “consulting for” or speaking for Bing about Hurley’s pregnancy with reporters. The NYT says there also were checks from Bing to Pellicano but no clue what they were for. Heir to a real estate fortune, producer of movies like The Polar Express and the forthcoming Beowulf, and a big Democratic Party donor, Bing is one of the most prominent Hollywood types to figure into news reports about the Pellicano case. Meanwhile, there was a hearing before an L.A. Superior Court judge on April 2nd for what were supposed to be all the plaintiffs who’ve filed civil lawsuits against Pellicano et al. I heard it looked like a lawyers’ convention. (Ex-journalist and plaintiff Anita Busch attended.) But how strange that the Los Angeles Times didn’t report anything about the local hearing. Anyway, the judge decided to delay those suits until after Pellicano’s criminal trial.