By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Barresi recalls he began the investigation in early April 2001 (interestingly, shortly after that shocking Premiere magazine article detailing allegations about Schwarzenegger’s “grab and grope” sexual harassment of women). Barresi last “logged in” on April 19, according to his records. “It was a week after I turned in my report that Schwarzenegger made the announcement he was not going to run,” Pellicano’s aide says. That decision made headlines when, on April 25, 2001, the actor said his film career and family took precedence over any political aspirations and that “I have to be selfless at this point.”
At the time, Barresi emphasizes, it wasn’t his job to reach a conclusion about whether Schwarzenegger should throw in his hat. But the legman says that, if asked, he would have advised against it. “I think that’s a no-brainer,” he tells L.A. Weekly. “Look, my info was all fresh and new, acquired from sources, some reliable, some unreliable.” But Barresi notes that, in a political campaign, the information doesn’t have to be true, just put out there “to create and invent an unfavorable impression.”
Barresi will not divulge the contents of the report in any detail, except to note broadly that it dealt with the personal, professional and business lives of Schwarzenegger, family and associates. According to Barresi, the file was read closely. He recalls one incident he discovered: a bodyguard trying to sell to the highest bidder “a damaging story” about Schwarzenegger. “I mentioned his name to Pellicano, and, all of a sudden, this guy stopped peddling his goods,” Barresi claims.
At press time, Schwarzenegger’s office had not responded to repeated calls for comment.
On Monday, Pellicano surrendered at the Federal Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles to begin serving a 33-month prison sentence for weapons violations (including pipe bombs found in his office safe) during the FBI search. Barresi says the last time he talked to his boss was the day that the judge set Pellicano’s bail. “We warmly embraced,” Barresi recalls.
Barresi maintains he “has no knowledge whatsoever as to Pellicano’s modus operandi in conducting his investigations” and states “not one time did Pellicano ever represent to me that I should ever conduct myself unlawfully in the course of my own investigations.” He says he told all that to the FBI during a questioning session at Georgio’s, an Italian eatery on Ventura Boulevard, that didn’t go at all well.
“They got angry with me,” recalls Barresi. “One of them was like a French poodle and said, ‘I think you’re full of shit!’ And, at the end, they told me that if I didn’t talk to them, then maybe I’d talk to a grand jury. And then they walked out the door.
“It sounded like dialogue from a B-rated crime movie.”
But then, so does everything about this case. Boggles the mind, no?
E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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