garryshandling-1.jpgGarry Shandling gets the biggest gig of his fast disappearing career Thursday morning when he is scheduled to take the witness stand in the ongoing Pellicano trial. Actually, he’s appearing out of order in the prosecution’s case, but his lawyer has to go out of town so he’s being squeezed in to accomodate the attorney. UPDATE: His ex-girlfriend Linda Doucett is supposed to testify on Friday.

Now back to Shandling. There’s little doubt he will testify about why Paramount boss Brad Grey, then a bigtime Hollywood manager and producer, felt it necessary for Hollywood private investigator Anthony Pellicano to dig up dirt on the comedian and his posse. In the U.S. Attorney’s Office trial memo about the case, there was a footnote (#19) stating, “Grey, upon the advice of his attorneys, previously had hired PIA in January 1999 in connection with a civil proceeding involving former client Garry Shandling.” At the time, Shandling was an important client of Grey and his major talent management and production company which, among many projects, had put together and run The Larry Sanders Show series on HBO starring Shandling. That is, until the two men fell out in a long and nasty legal wrangle over Shandling’s charges of conflict-of-interest against Grey.

trial-logo-smaller.jpgThe footnote continues, “On January 20, 1999, LAPD Sgt. Mark Arneson conducted NCIC database inquiries for information on Garry Shandling and his personal assistant Mariana Grant, and conducted a DMV database inquiry for information on Shandling’s accountant Warren Grant. On February 10, 1999, Arneson conducted an NCIC database inquiry for information on Shandling’s private investigator James Nielsen, Nielsen’s wife, daughter, and investigative partner. On March 4, 1999, Arneson conducted an NCIC database inquiry for information on Shandling’s friends Kevin and Linda Nealon and Shandling’s girlfriend Linda Doucett. On March 9, 1999, Arneson conducted an NCIC database inquiry for information on Shandling’s friend Gavin DeBecker.”

tom-cruise.jpgHowever, don’t expect Shandling to be exhaustively probed about all the gory details surrounding his relationship and lawsuit with Grey (no doubt to Brad’s immense relief since he’s not accused of any wrongdoing by the feds). It’s not a focus of the trial, first of all. And also the prosecutors don’t expect Shandling to be on the witness stand very long. I  just hope someone thinks to ask him: Garry, what have you been up to in recent years?

Meanwhile, Tom Cruise’s name was mentioned in court today. Pellicano’s former assistant Tarita Virtue testified that she and Pellicano firm P.I. Denise Ward had just served a subpoena in a case involving Chris Rock when they decided to stop by Cruise’s house and take down the license plate numbers of the cars parked outside. (Ugh.)

(My thanks to LA Weekly‘s Steven Mikulan who’s also covering the trial for DHD.)