The Pellicano trial turns into divorce court

Who's that tapping, gently wiretapping, at my trailer door? actor Keith Carradine may well have wondered in April, 2001, as he and his girlfriend Hayley DuMond began noticing telephone problems and other odd events occur in Carradine's Valencia RV park home. At the time, he related in court Friday, life was not as easy as Sunday morning for The Long Riders and Nashville star. For one thing, he was in the midst of a bitter child-support fight with his former wife, Sandra Will, who wanted to move the legal proceedings from Colorado, where Carradine had his formal residence, to California, where he was staying at the Valencia Travel Village. For another, DuMond had her tires slashed in Valencia while her parents in Sherman Oaks were receiving creepy phone calls in the dead of night.

Carradine, who appeared in a conservative suit and red tie, his hair shorn short, is one of a conga line of government witnesses to testify how their privacy had been invaded by Anthony Pellicano — who, in this matter, had been hired by Will to spy on her ex. He told U.S. attorney Daniel Saunders that at one point his landline phone in the RV park went dead and that an attempt to break into his trailer and truck occurred while he was filming on location in Australia. Meanwhile, DuMond, whom he eventually married, was being “aggressively followed” and, once back in the states, he received an unexpected call — on his cell phone.

A man “with an odd fake foreign accent” offered to help him with his legal war with Will. Carradine declined and asked the man to not call again. It was only after reading a Vanity Fair article about the Pellicano case that Carradine realized the odd occurrences might be the private eye's doing. And, sure enough, he was shown, in court, summaries from DMV and law enforcement databases that listed his name and personal information — summaries taken from Pellicano's office by the FBI in 2002.

“Would you call your wife a vindictive person?” asked Pellicano on cross-examination.

“Yes,” Carradine answered without hesitation.

Friday had begun with the tale of another wrecked marriage, but from the opposite angle. Suzan Hughes took the witness stand at 9 a.m. to answer questions about her divorce from Herbalife founder Mark Hughes. At 9:03 she reached for her first Kleenex and by 9:06 began crying when she announced that she discovered Mark “cheated on me” after she'd hired Pellicano to tap the erratic businessman's phones.

The quiet, middle-aged blond fitness queen and sometime actress (Transylvania Twist) was not a compelling witness. Prosecutor Saunders would ask the most straightforward question and Hughes would blink and sit silently for an uncomfortably long moment before answering — often with, “Could you please repeat that?” (What her lawyer, Gloria Allred, was thinking in court was anyone's guess.) It took Saunders ages to drag out of Hughes that she'd paid Pellicano $150,000 in 1997 to both spy on her husband and negotiate a divorce settlement.

If Suzan Hughes spoke softly and hesitantly on the stand, jurors heard quite a different side of her when Saunders played a secretly recorded phone call between her and Pellicano. On the recording she is loud, angry and most declarative. When Pellicano asks her what would make her happiest about the Mark Hughes case, she says, “Pay someone for his death?” That would come soon enough, in 2000, in what was officially called an accidental overdose of alcohol and anti-depressants. On the recording Pellicano informs Suzan of a Hughes medical condition previously unknown to her.

“He had a heart problem with the all the Viagra he was taking,” Pellicano says.

More important, the investigator found the Herbalife millionaire was sleeping with Darcy LaPier, a former wife of actor Jean-Claude Van Damme. LaPier would become the new Mrs. Hughes in 1999. On Monday the Pellicano divorce court continues, when jurors hear Carradine's ex, Sandra Will, give her version of events. Parental Advisory: Will was later Pellicano's girl friend.

Also read Steven Mikulan's “Sex and Nerds Invade Pellicano Trial”

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