By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Although Pellicano is not on trial for harassing Busch, she has a lawsuit pending against him and Ovitz, and she believes Ovitz knowingly sicced the implacable private eye on her. Busch also believes it was Pellicano who organized the campaign of intimidation that included the trashing of her computer hard drive and the tapping of her phone — bringing her to an emotional nadir in which she has ceased to be a journalist.
Busch recounted these alleged events for prosecutor Daniel Saunders, defense lawyer Chad Hummel and, excruciatingly, Pellicano, who tormented her by having her recall the two incidents, which occurred as she was co-authoring articles detailing actor Steven Seagal’s association with business partner Jules Nasso. (Pellicano’s and Hummel’s implications being that her alleged assailants were affiliated with Seagal’s legal tiff with Nasso.)
As Busch sobbed, shook or covered her face with her hands, Pellicano would pitilessly ask her to speak up or repeat in detail what she had just said. In regard to the alleged Mercedes incident, he demanded to know which direction the two cars were pointing in, the names of the cross streets, the color of the Mercedes, how many doors it had, and if it was a convertible or a hardtop.
“I remember looking down, thinking it was the color of dirt,” Busch said.
Forget “dove gray” — dirt, for Pellicano, has always been the color of money. And the nice thing about dirt is that when its owner adds a little water to the unflattering information it becomes mud that can be flung against enemies if they happen to be suing you for divorce or sexual harassment, or writing irritating newspaper features. The more dirt Pellicano’s clients received, it seems, the more power they flexed over their opponents.
THE PROSECUTION RESTED ON APRIL 10 — not with the rumored bang but with a decided whimper. Sylvester Stallone’s business litigator, Lawrence Nagler, spent the late morning discussing how a Bert Fields client seemed to know key details about strategy that Nagler and Stallone were planning for a lawsuit against the latter’s business manager, Kenneth Starr.
Then, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Lally wrapped things up by briefly questioning the Long Beach detective involved in investigating the 2001 involuntary-manslaughter case against San Diego orthodontist Kami Hoss. In an allegation in which his wife was also implicated, Hoss was accused of picking up a couple of party girls and feeding them Ecstasy, the date-rape drug GHB and booze. Once more the tang of sex hung in the courtroom — but this porn movie turned into a snuff film because one of the women, 23-year-old Sandra Rodriguez, died after falling 12 floors beneath the Hosses’ Long Beach Hyatt Regency room.
At his manslaughter trial, Hoss was represented by Danny Davis, a lawyer long associated with Pellicano. Daniel Saunders concluded the government’s case by playing a phone conversation Pellicano recorded between himself and co-defendant Mark Arneson, who is accused of supplying the detective with the raw dirt that Pellicano turned into gold. On this occasion, a DMV record revealed that there was a bench warrant out for Rodriguez’s arrest for a DUI charge.
Pellicano can be heard crying out with joy when he hears the news. He knew from his storied experience that this information would help convince a jury of Rodriguez’s untrustworthiness. Sandra Rodriguez was dead — twice so. Sure enough, Hoss beat the manslaughter rap — after paying Pellicano $60,000 for his services.
On the recording, Pellicano then complains about the rising cost of electricity and how the price of heating his pool in Agoura is killing him. Could a trial get any dirtier than this?