The art of the telephonic communication took on a whole new meaning at the Anthony Pellicano trial yesterday...
Marc Graser of Variety:
After weeks of hearing about the types of calls Anthony Pellicano illegally recorded, jurors finally got to listen to several Monday -- and some in Hollywood may have wished they had never picked up the phone at all.
In one instance, Pellicano blasts attorney Peter Knecht with profanities saying Knecht's client, businessman Bilal Baroody, owes Universal topper Ron Meyer about $300,000.
In the call, Pellicano alleges to be working for Meyer to collect on the loan, which was made to Meyer's Malibu neighbor Baroody, in 1997. Baroody, who had appeared to have been "down and out," wound up leaving the country, and Meyer is said to have hired Pellicano in 1999 to reclaim the funds.
In the recording Pellicano threatens that Baroody's "life is about to change exponentially unless he pays this money back" and that "this guy is f***ing with the wrong person," meaning the private eye.
In the midst of the call, Pellicano actually takes a call from former LAPD officer Mark Arneson, a co-defendant in the trial for having used police databases to access DMV records and criminal information on individuals for Pellicano.
In another recording, Pellicano tells his client, director John McTiernan, that he was in the middle of wiretapping producer Charles Roven (pictured) phone calls and requests more money for having to sit through hours of "boring" phone calls.
"This guy takes up to 10 minutes deciding if he's miffed or not," Pellicano says.
"I'm about to scream listening to this dialogue."
In fact, Pellicano's so frustrated with the content of the calls that he requests the helmer to listen in to decide what's important. But McTiernan suggests having his girlfriend hear the calls instead, which Pellicano quickly passes on.
McTiernan says he wants to know if Roven "says one thing to the studio."
But McTiernan ends up passing on an insistent Pellicano's plan to wiretap Roven at his home, and when pressed for more money again to continue the recordings, McTiernan says it's time to stop the wiretapping entirely.
McTiernan has already pleaded guilty to perjury in the government's case against Pellicano.
The call with McTiernan was played after Roven took the witness stand. In his testimony Roven described his relationship with McTiernan as "cordial" during the production of the MGM and Warner Bros. actioner "Rollerball ," although he said they had "creative differences."
Roven couldn't have been more removed from the proceedings, hard to hear and seemingly unwilling to make eye contact with anyone in the courtroom.
He looked uncomfortable while listening to the recording, as well as when he was shown lists of phone calls with MGM and Warner Bros. brass that he was having in 2000.
Pellicano also appeared uncomfortable, especially during playback of a recording in which he bragged to McTiernan, "I saved Michael G. Nathanson's ass. He was into prostitutes and coke."
Nathanson was [president] and chief operating officer of MGM when "Rollerball" was produced.
Altogether, the recordings were played as audible proof that Pellicano had indeed wiretapped personal phone calls of individuals the private eye was investigating, as well as of his close ties to Arneson.
Even before the jury members took their seats in the downtown courtroom, sparks started to fly, as prosecutors announced that Bert Fields the Hollywood attorney whose name has come up on numerous occasions during the trial for his employment of Pellicano over the years, wouldn't testify and would take the Fifth Amendment....
After listening to the recordings in court, I wonder how many folks on the jury made up their mind even though they are not supposed to yet...I don't know how you would be able to just dismiss the tapes...