Mistrial motion sets trial back
The Anthony Pellicano trial was brought to an abrupt halt Tuesday as the lawyer for one co-defendant called for a mistrial.
Chad Hummel, the attorney representing former LAPD Sgt. Mark Arneson, filed the motion, arguing that the government had access to and used statements that Arneson made during a 1999 Internal Affairs hearing into his illegal database searches he allegedly conducted for the P.I.
Arneson had been under the impression those confidential statements wouldn’t be used against him during any future criminal proceedings; Hummel argued prosecutors brought up information Arneson provided when they cross-examined him Friday.
Hummel contended he would never have allowed Arneson to testify had he known the prosecution would use the former cop’s words against him. He said he also never knew the government had the statements in their possession and thus requested a dismissal.
Assistant U.S. attorney Daniel Saunders denied the government had heard the Internal Affairs testimony, and argued that any questions asked to Arneson on Friday were never answered, thus making the motion for a mistrial irrelevant.
At first, U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer wouldn’t grant the hearing for the mistrial and ordered Hummel to call another witness or put Arneson on the stand again. But she finally budged when Hummel threatened to appeal to the 9th Circuit if the judge didn’t grant a hearing.
The jury was sent home for the day and the hearing took place later that morning.
Yet Judge Fischer ended up ruling against Hummel and Arneson, saying there was no deliberate attempt to reveal to jurors that Arneson had been the subject of an internal affairs investigation, and that prosecutors were not in violation of evidence discovery rules.
High-profile Hollywood attorney Bert Fields was set to testify Tuesday to discuss his ties to Pellicano, considering he hired the P.I. on numerous occasions. He’ll take the stand today.