Ex-Universal Exec Brian Mulligan Claims Vast LAPD Plot to Smear Him

Mulligan, whose run-in with police and use of bath salts made headlines, reveals internal e-mails suggesting a conspiracy to malign him and alleges the city is attempting to "bludgeon" him by forcing his traumatized family into testifying.
Brian Mulligan

Brian Mulligan is escalating his war with the Los Angeles Police Department. Attorneys for the former Universal Pictures executive have filed court papers claiming they have "incontrovertible proof" that powerful L.A. officials conspired to retaliate against Mulligan after he accused the LAPD of forcing him to rent a motel room, trapping him there against his will, attempting to extort him and then beating him in May 2012.

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Last February, Mulligan, the former co-chairman of Universal, filed a $20 million lawsuit against the LAPD over the episode. His allegations made national headlines, not only because of who he was in the entertainment industry but also because Mulligan admitted to using bath salts, a designer drug that can cause hallucinations and violent behavior.

In response to a press conference where Mulligan detailed his lurid allegations, the LAPD and the Police Protective League said its officers had acted against a drug-fueled assailant.

But in new court papers filed Monday and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Mulligan's attorneys blast government officials for the press leaks and point to the ways that a "public vilification" campaign was planned in response to Mulligan's allegations.

The lawsuit already is pretty heated. The latest revelations come in response to the government's attempt to hold in contempt Mulligan family members for not being available for depositions -- something the plaintiff's lawyers say is "a tactic to bludgeon Brian Mulligan into submission."

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Mulligan's attorneys -- Louis "Skip" Miller and Caleb Mason -- say this "started when the LAPD, in violation of its own rules, leaked the arrest report, first to website TMZ, then to CBS Television, KFI Radio and put it on the Internet. Then after Mulligan filed a claim for damages, the leaks intensified to a level that quite frankly, surprised even us."

One of the key pieces of evidence that hurt Mulligan's reputation was an audiotape that surfaced from a few days before the incident in question. It happened when Mulligan walked up to the Glendale police headquarters and said, "I know this is gonna sound crazy, but I feel like there are people following me."

During the 11-minute conversation, Mulligan discussed his snorting of bath salts.

Last September, police officials and the publicists they were working with wanted to get their hands on that audiotape.

On Sept. 8, 2012, PPL president Tyler Izen e-mailed an LAPD publicist about the tape being at the Glendale Police Department. The publicist wrote back, "Okay. We need Beck to get us a copy."

Charles Beck is chief of the LAPD, and it's alleged by Mulligan's attorneys that he "went into action."

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Other e-mails suggest the involvement of LAPD deputy chief Rick Jacobs and the LAPD's Force Investigation Division in efforts to get the tape. Meanwhile, as that was happening, Mulligan lawyered up, leading the publicist to write to his colleagues, "We have a new problem. Mulligan has a new attorney, Skip Miller, and now the COP [chief of police] does not want to release the tape until he sees what Skip is going to do.…I know Skip Miller, he is good, but he will fold when he learns what we have."

Then, on Oct. 10, 2012, L.A. assistant city attorney Cory Brente sent the audiotape to Izen, according to the documents.

What followed were several days of e-mails in which internal LAPD officials are said to have mocked Mulligan as they allegedly orchestrated the dissemination of the tape. Below is a look at one of the e-mails.

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The press release that followed was titled, "Self-Admitted Bath Salt User Attempts to Shake Down the LAPD."

Mulligan's attorneys say the leaks violate various provisions of the LAPD manual. They say that after news of the tape was circulated, Izen sent the city attorneys news clips, telling them it "may help you if the claim for damages turns into a lawsuit."

Mulligan's lawsuit has already survived one attempt at dismissal. His lawyers are now connecting the family's position on testifying with what's happening behind the scenes with city officials.

"When their effort to get Mulligan and his attorney to fold did not succeed, City officials went after Mulligan's family -- his wife and children," says the latest court filing. "They turned their guns on the family, knowing (because we provided doctor's letters) that the family members have been severely traumatized by what happened to their husband/father; and are extremely vulnerable and cannot withstand the stress of testifying."

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Protective League responded, "It is the position of the LAPPL that the unedited, complete version of Mr. Mulligan's tape-recorded conversation with another law enforcement agency is not confidential."

E-mail: Eriq.Gardner@THR.com
Twitter: @eriqgardner