Pellicano case unveils witness list

Trial could be a star-studded Hollywood affair

It’s the star-studded list Hollywood’s been waiting for.

Studio chiefs Brad Grey and Ron Meyer, CAA chiefs Kevin Huvane and Bryan Lourd, entertainment attorney Bert Fields, Michael Ovitz, and thesps Sylvester Stallone, Chris Rock and Garry Shandling are all on a list of potential witnesses federal prosecutors could call in their case of illegal wiretapping and information gathering against private investigator Anthony Pellicano and four co-defendants.

Farrah Fawcett, Vincent “Bo” Zenga and journalists Anita Busch and Bernard Weinraub could also be called.

Many of the names, especially Grey, Ovitz and Fields, were expected, considering the government’s case relies heavily upon the private eye’s connections with the trio.

Grey, Ovitz and Fields have each said they had no knowledge of Pellicano’s information-gathering tactics, and none of them is in any legal danger. But details of what Pellicano found out, about whom and why he was asking in the first place, could prove juicy fodder for the industry gossip mill.

However, details could remain scant, outside of what prosecutors have already gathered in their three-year-long investigation. Pellicano has said he refuses to violate his famous clients’ confidence.

The list of 127 names was released Wednesday, the same day12 jurors and six alternates were chosen at the downtown federal court house, paving the way for the long-awaited trial to begin. The main jurors were chosen within a quick four-hour period of questioning by Judge Dale Fischer.

Pellicano, who is representing himself, was not allowed to question prospective jurors.

Prosecutors will deliver opening statements Thursday. In a brief, filed last week, the government anticipates a 10-week trial and had been expected to call between 80 and 100 witnesses.

A separate trial of entertainment attorney Terry Christensen has been postponed until the conclusion of Pellicano’s trial. Christensen was indicted on charges that he hired Pellicano to wiretap Lisa Kerkorian, the ex-wife of Christensen’s longtime client Kirk Kerkorian, during a high-profile child-support case.

Pellicano was indicted Feb. 6, 2006, on federal racketeering charges for allegedly conducting numerous illegal wiretaps and paying tens of thousands of dollars to police officers to provide him with confidential law enforcement information on numerous individuals, including well-known personalities.

Indicted with Pellicano and defendants at the trial are Mark Arneson, a former LAPD officer; Rayford Earl Turner, a former field technician for SBC and Pac Bell; Kevin Kachikian, who allegedly developed the wiretapping software; and Abner Nicherie, who was involved in a business dispute with a man allegedly wiretapped by Pellicano.

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