• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest

Hollywood Heist: How a Burglary May Impact the Future Of 'Superman' (Analysis)

One of those documents is a letter dated May 13, 2003, from Michael Siegel, son of Jerry, to his half-sister, Laura Siegel Larson, who now is in charge of the estate after her mother's death. According to sources, Michael Siegel was never close with his father, but as a member of the family was due a certain share of the proceeds from the outcome in the Superman case. Toberoff is said to have tried to bring Michael Siegel on board, but instead was rebuffed.

Instead, Michael warned Laura about getting involved with Toberoff.

In his letter to his half-sister, he describes Toberoff as a "mysterious billionaire" who was teaming with super-agent Ari Emanuel at WME on a secret agenda to control Superman for themselves. The letter contains some details about Toberoff's dealings and many disparaging characterizations of Toberoff. Interestingly, the letter's language seemed to become the basis for the cover document that Toberoff's ex-associate sent Warner Bros. with those heisted documents.

Ever since Warner filed the lawsuit against Toberoff last year, the studio and its ligitator Daniel Petrocelli have been trying to obtain all of the previously-stolen documents. The studio also tried to attain documents containing a "consent agreement" between the Siegel and Shuster estates not to independently do business with Warners, plus a formula for how the two estates will share proceeds on Superman were they to successfully terminate Warners' rights to the lucrative franchise.

Warners' first attempt to attain those documents through legitimate channels failed.

United States Magistrate Judge Ralph Zaresky ruled that the documents were protected by attorney-client privilege. But then, Warners got its hands on Michael's letter -- legitimately, this time -- which it waived around to the judge as a smoking gun that Toberoff was up to bad stuff. Plus, there was that little matter of what Toberoff had told federal prosecutors.

Next: A judge relents and gives Warner what it wants