Maybe Anthony Pellicano was right about listening to the private calls of others: It can be a big fat bore.
The government kicked off Wednesday’s sesh in its wiretapping trial against the P.I. by playing an extended conversation between Lisa Gores and her former brother-in-law Tom after an aborted assignation at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
The 25 minute recording, the only actual wiretapped call the feds will play in the trial, sounded juicier than it turned out to be: They spent most of the time reassuring each other that their affair won’t be discovered by her billionaire husband or his wife, and that each would be strong for each other.
“I’m not going to reveal anything unless I’m confronted,” Lisa Gores said. “I’ll just deny everything forever.”
The couple left the hotel that evening in 2001 after they became suspicious that someone was following them. In the call, Lisa Gores tells her brother in law that she had already confronted someone outside the entrance to her home in the gated Mulholland Estates community, but her husband Alec had denied having her trailed.
“He said, ‘You’re just being paranoid, Lisa,'” she reported to her paramour on the tape.
After much back and forth over who might be following her and what their story should be if her husband quizzed them on their whereabouts that evening, the conversation turned to Tom Gores’ meeting with “Ron Burkle’s security guy” to get a new system installed at his house.
By the end, certain courtroom listeners had renewed appreciation for Pellicano’s oft-repeated complaint on previous recordings about the tedium of illicitly listening to private calls.
The phone calls Pellicano secretly taped of his own conversations have proven far more interesting due to the P.I.’s penchant for tough-guy bravado and wheedling charm. Both qualities were evident in calls played for the court Wednesday.
During one call played early in the day, for example, Pellicano ranted to Giuseppe Corsaro, the owner of Giuseppe Franco salon in BevHills, about sworn declarations by two of his stylists that were causing problems in his case against late producer Aaron Russo.
“I was told a long time ago I should protect you and look out for you,” Pellicano said, adding, “I respect you as a member of the family.”
And during a recording with producer Andrew Stevens played at the end of the day, Pellicano turned on full smarm, pressing Stevens about a VIP card to a club he owned with Elie Samaha in between trash talking Intertainment execs he had wiretapped to aid Stevens’ aborted defamation suit against Intertainment USA prexy Stephen Brown.
“Is this guy a player? Is Stephen Brown someone we should pay attention to?” he quizzed before digressing to discuss his VIP request.
Being on the list at the door simply wasn’t good enough for the P.I., and Stevens, a self-described hothead, apologized if he had offended the private eye. This prompted Pellicano to affirm his loyalty, something he tended to do often, based on the recorded calls.
“I’m Sicilian,” Pellicano said. “If you’re with me, you’re with me. I’m going to take care of you.”
Franco made similar assurances to Pellicano during their call about his stylists’ sworn declarations. But Pellicano did not rely on the hair salon owner alone to resolve this obstacle in his case against Russo: The government suggested that Pellicano had police pay a social call to stylist Patrick Theohar, who was in violation of his parole on a narcotics charge and promptly went into hiding.
Within days, Theohar had modified his statement’s first statement about the subpoena Pellicano’s employees had served to Russo. The government made a persuasive case that Pellicano and Greenberg Glusker attorney David Moriarty pressured Theohar’s attorney to quickly modify the declaration.
“At the beginning of the conference call, Mr. Pellicano was very irate,” attorney Martin Marcus testified. “I told him whatever he was doing to stop doing it and that we could resolve this matter.”
Anita Busch, the showbiz media figure who became part of the Pellicano story herself after she was put under surveilled by him, popped up in testimony Wednesday, when former L.A.P.D. officer Denise Harvey confirmed that she had put the scribe under surveillance for Pellicano in May 2002, although she did not know who she was watching.
“Pellicano would only give me an address and tell me what he wanted,” Harvey said. “Anthony would never tell me why he wanted anything.”
Busch has yet to appear in the trial, although her appearance is highly anticipated by court watchers.