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Prosecution Wraps In Pellicano Hollywood Sleuth Trial

Anthony Pellicano

Thursday the government wrapped up its prosecution of sleuth-to-the-stars Anthony Pellicano, and today the defense starts calling witnesses. For years Pellicano listened in on the controversial conversations of Hollywood's rich and famous.

And now, not only are we getting a hint of what he heard, we're also getting to eavesdrop on a case that's as salacious as anything ripped from an over-the-top screenplay. Thursday, the government dismissed 28 charges against Pellicano, saying some counts were redundant and some victims were unable to testify (these starlets and hotshot executives keep themselves busy).

Pellicano and the former police officer who allegedly helped him conduct illegal background checks--Mark Arneson--still face over 35 charges for wiretapping and racketeering. This is heavy stuff--made for the movies allegations, like illegally obtaining police records and intimidation.

The prosecution called the really big name witnesses in this trial-- showing how some of the biggest names in Hollywood hired the private eye to do some re-con. They paid for Pellicano's services but they weren't charged in the case.

Chris Rock and Paramount Pictures chief Brad Grey both talked about Pellicano sleuthing for them. And just this Wednesday Michael Ovitz--former Hollywood superagent and Disney president--testified about hiring Pellicano to get embarrassing info on reporters writing about him.

All three, Rock, Grey, and Ovitz, insisted they had no idea that Pellicano was up to anything illegal, which is why they walked away with little more trouble than a day in court.

Now the defense starts calling witnesses. It'll be interesting to see how Pellicano, acting as his own attorney, runs between witness stand and interrogation. Pellicano has said he's only going to call one witness. We could also get some juicy testimony for entertainment super lawyer Bert Fields, who was Pellicano's best client, hiring him to snoop for his own clients.

The defense attorney for Arneson indicated he could ask Fields to take the stand.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.