Grey: Illegal acts 'never came up'
Par boss says he wasn't directly involved with PellicanoParamount studio head Brad Grey walked purposefully into a federal courtroom Thursday and testified that he was unaware of any illegal investigative techniques done by former private eye Anthony Pellicano.
Grey's long-awaited testimony was poised and polished and lasted less than an hour. He was called by the prosecution as a witness in the wiretapping and racketeering case against Pellicano and four others, including a software engineer, a former Los Angeles Police detective, a former telephone company employee and a former client of the investigator.
Asked to identify Pellicano, Grey pointed to his left where the former investigator sat, saying, "He's over there." Pellicano, wearing a prison-issued green windbreaker, smiled and raised his hand. Pellicano, who is serving as his own attorney, elected to not cross-examine Grey.
The Paramount chairman and CEO said he twice hired the celebrity sleuth on the advice of his lawyer, Greenberg Glusker partner Bert Fields, for cases in which he and his Brillstein-Grey management company were a defendant. Grey said it was "a matter of course" for Fields to hire Pellicano, describing the veteran entertainment lawyer as one of the "great legal minds and best litigators in the country." Pellicano was retained each time for $25,000, which initially was paid by Greenberg Glusker and then billed to Brillstein-Grey's finance department as part of the legal costs to defend the cases.
When asked by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Lally whether he was assured by Fields that no wrongdoing was involved with Pellicano, Grey responded: "My understanding was that Mr. Fields was very confident in Mr. Pellicano as a private investigator. I don't think we ever had a conversation about illegal acts. It just never came up."
Grey testified that he was updated by Fields on the case but was not involved in the day-to-day litigation.
"I was running at the time the most successful management company in the industry," he said. "Lawsuits were left to our attorneys to handle."
Pellicano was first hired when Grey and his management company were sued by comedian Garry Shandling over their 18-year manager relationship. Grey said the lawsuit was filed after he resigned as Shandling's personal manager and Brillstein-Grey informed the comedian that it would no longer represent him. His testimony came a week after Shandling told the federal jury that Grey kept his contracts under lock and key and refused to turn them over to the comedian (HR 3/14).
Shandling also testified that he believed Grey and Fields engaged in a smear campaign against him, that Grey threatened to "make my life miserable" and that he believed his phone and that of his former girlfriend, Linda Doucett, his accountant and others were tapped as a result of the lawsuit.
Under cross-examination by attorney Chad Hummel, who represents former LAPD detective Mark Arneson, Grey denied Shandling's accusations, saying they were "completely false."
He testified that Pellicano was brought into the case when a document was leaked "by Mr. Shandling's team" and Fields felt it was important to find out who leaked it. Grey reportedly told the FBI in 2003 that the document in question was a draft of a libel lawsuit against Shandling that was leaked to a magazine.
Grey told the federal jury that he spoke with Pellicano on the phone during the case.
"He would call, and we'd talk generally," Grey testified. "He was always very supportive. He felt strongly that I should see the case through. He felt it was baseless.
"I always felt him to be supportive and intriguing," he added.
But Grey said Pellicano didn't talk about what he was investigating.
Pellicano was hired again when Grey and his company were sued by producer Vincent "Bo" Zenga over profits from 2000's "Scary Movie."
"There were many witnesses coming forward who had been defrauded by Mr. Zenga," Grey told Lally. "Mr. Fields felt credibility was a main component of the case."
Pellicano interviewed many of those witnesses in the case and assisted the legal team, he said.
Under cross-examination by Hummel, Grey elaborated on the alleged fraud by Zenga. They included claims Zenga made that he had graduated from the Wharton School of Business when he had not, that he was a successful investment banker when he was not and that he had won a screenwriting competition that he created. The court eventually ruled in Grey's favor, dismissing the case, and the California Court of Appeals upheld the decision, also finding Zenga had misrepresented himself.
But Grey testified Thursday that he was unaware whether the information gathered by Pellicano assisted him in his litigation and had no indication in either case that Pellicano was engaged in something illegal.
Under redirect examination by Lally, Grey stood firm that he never knew of any wiretapping by Pellicano.
"I certainly was never told about wiretapping in either case," he said. "I only know what I learned since charges were file against Mr. Pellicano and what I read. But at the time, I was not aware."
Pellicano and his co-defendants are being tried on 110 counts of wiretapping and racketeering. All have pleaded not guilty.
The government has won guilty pleas from several in the case, however, mostly for lying to federal investigators about their relationship with Pellicano. Among them, "Die Hard" director John McTiernan, former Hollywood Records president Robert Pfeifer and Sandra Carradine, Pellicano's former girlfriend and the ex-wife of actor David Carradine and Craig Stevens, a former Beverly Hills police officer.