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DEC
26
3 YEARS

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

We contacted John Marder, the attorney representing the plaintiffs.

"I can say this for certain," he says. "My clients and no one related to my legal team has any connection to it. The Defendants went as far as taking DNA evidence from my clients to investigate their involvement and by their silence, it appears the test ruled them out."

Marder adds that he is not wed to the documents as "there is so much evidence against the defendants, the veracity of the documents they are questioning means little to me."

Then, Marder hurls counter-accusations against Warner Bros that the studio is the one really messing with the evidence. He points to the fact that Zwick claimed he was working on Last Samurai as far back as May 16, 2000. The defense was asked to produce evidence that would show this. In turn, a letter was produced from Zwick describing his ideas on the film.

"But here are where things get weird," says Marder.

The attorney says he got several different versions of the letter. The dates keep changing and some of the facts shifted. For example, in the fifth paragraph, there's no mention of a cattle drive in some of the iterations of the letter, whereas other versions contain such a detail. Some of the versions of the letter have signatures and others don't.

It seems possible that some of the letters were merely drafts and the letter wasn't sent right away, but Marder believes it demonstrates the reality of defendants' "extensive record of document tampering."

Here's a look at this document:

A hearing on the issues of discontinuing the case or pressing forward for further discovery will be held soon.

E-mail: eriqgardner@yahoo.com

Twitter: @eriqgardner