Techie talk replaces pillow talk
Dull day at Pellicano trial; agents take stand brieflyThe government's wiretapping and racketeering case against former Hollywood sleuth Anthony Pellicano went from sordid tales of love gone wrong Tuesday to the minutae of computer source codes and operating systems Wednesday.
Only one (welcome) interruption came during a break from examination of the government's expert computer witness, Jeff Edwards, when CAA partners Kevin Huvane and Bryan Lourd were called to testify. Their testimony was anti-climacstic, however, lasting barely 30 minutes.
The agents had been waiting all day down in the Roybal courthouse snack bar area waiting to be called as witnesses. That came when prosecutors told Judge Dale Fischer they had two witnesses who really needed to get back to work.
Huvane and Lourd fell into the Pellicano web after a fallout with CAA co-founder Michael Ovitz, who left to form a rival agency. The government claims that Ovitz hired Pellicano to investigate opponents.
Up first was Huvane, who testified that Ovitz "founded a rival company. We had a dispute with him and decided not to do business with him."
For both men, Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Saunders put up on the overhead projector printouts of records searches of them from 2001 that included their date of birth, Social Security number, the make and model of their car at the time and their driver's license information, which listed their address as the former CAA headquarters, where the agency was at the time of the searches.
The agents testified they use the agency's address instead of their own on their driver's license instead of home for "security" reasons.
"In case someone gets unauthorized access to your DMV records?" Saunders asked Lourd. "Yes," he responded.
Wearing a crisp dark suit with silver satin tie, Huvane sat stiffly in the witness box, answering "yes" sharply when asked to verify the information.
In contrast, Lourd, wearing a tailored dark gray suit, was all smiles as he took to the stand. The agent appeared more relaxed and personable than his partner.
Pellicano only cross-examined Huvane, asking him first if he ever worked with Ovitz. He then pressed Huvane if he ever hired a private investigator while at CAA and then asked if he knew a private investigator named Richard Di Sabatino. The two latter questions were objected to by the prosecution. Fischer granted their objections.
For the rest of Wednesday, the government focused its case on the TeleSleuth program that Pellicano hired software engineer — and fellow defendant — Kevin Kachikian to develop. TeleSleuth, and various versions of it, allowed users to digitally record telephone conversations.
The government established that there were bells and whistles in the program to cause it to do a "code wipe" of its digital audio files if someone other than those who knew the password — office322omerta — tried to get into the program.
On cross-examination, Kachikian's attorney Adam Braun pushed his client's defense that he created a program that Pellicano wanted to sell to law enforcement agencies, asking Edwards questions about security measures embedded in program that would be helpful if "agents" or "users" ran the program during a legal wiretap.