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'Last Samurai' Legal Dispute Becomes Battle Over Which Side Is Forging Evidence (Analysis)

Here’s a look at the letter.

Dated March 29, 2011, the mystery letter comes from someone who says he used to admire Warner Bros., but now can’t stand “their deceit.” The letter runs a bullet point list of the company's various legal strifes.

Interestingly, one prominent individual mentioned high up in the letter is Marc Toberoff, the attorney who has been waging war against the studio for many years. Toberoff’s various battles representing the creator of the Dukes of Hazzard TV show and the estates of the creators of Superman are mentioned, including a note that an anonymous letter became evidence in the studio’s lawsuit against Toberoff.

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The letter references the lawsuit brought by Alan Ladd, Jr. over profits from a string of hit films in the 1980s and ‘90s.

And the letter reports some things that have never been reported and we certainly can't confirm. For example, that producers of Shakespeare in Love settled for millions of dollars a lawsuit alleging the idea behind the film was stolen.

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The bulk of the letter is comprised of purported communications from Warner Bros. vp Kevin McCormick and Last Samurai director/producer Ed Zwick that we described in our earlier story. Here's a full look at the letter that has sparked the legal firestorm:

Pretty inflammatory stuff. The Last Samurai dispute has turned into an exercise in the jurisprudence involved when purported smoking-gun evidence turns up on the eve of a big hearing. Read on...