Media Money with Julia Boorstin

Pellicano Trial Puts Hollywood Biggies In Spotlight


Anthony Pellicano's trial for wiretapping and fraud is the largest of its kind. And certainly the most dramatic when it comes to Hollywood--implicating the biggest names in the biz from movie stars to top entertainment industry lawyers and executives.

As a testament to the fact that back room dealings have been business as usual in Hollywood, it seems like Pellicano has worked for anybody that's anybody.

In the past couple weeks, Comedian Chris Rock and Paramount Studios Chief Brad Grey both testified about having hired him--not realizing that his snooping was anything illegal.

Michael Ovitz just finished testifying about speaking with Pellicano about getting embarrassing information on two reporters. The government alleges that Pellicano ran illegal background checks on reporters covering Ovitz.

The founder of Creative Artists Agency and onetime president of Disney (until he was fired), Ovitz was once dubbed the most powerful man in Hollywood. He also said in his testimony that a law firm he hired to handle three suits against his company used Pellicano and billed Ovitz for the private eye. That certainly sends the message that everyone and their brother was hiring Ovitz, and no one was particularly embarrassed about it.

(For more gruesome details of the trial, blogger Nikki Finke has some juice).

The testimony phase of the trial is expected to wrap up by the end of the week without the full hundred twenty-plus list of witnesses are called. The most amazing thing to me: association with Ovitz hasn't tainted any of these big names. It seems this is simply how business was/is done in Hollywood.

Hollywood Sleuth on Trial

I got word that one Hollywood exec hired a P.I. to investigate my background, though it was after Pellicano's time.

Perhaps now, post-Pellicano trial, there will be a more firm line about what investigative techniques are actually legal.

For word on how magazine giant Conde Nast was associated with Pellicano's sleuthing strategies, check out this David Carr piece. 

Questions?  Comments?