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Pellicano Trial: A Computer Expert and a Government Witness Bashed

05/02/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Computer Expert Kevin Kachikian was back on the stand this morning and having a bit of difficulty briefly answering Mr. Braun's questions. After a number of snarky objections from Mr. Saunders, who definitely looks like he could stand a good night's sleep and a little sun, the judge repeatedly instructed Mr. Kachikian to merely answer his attorney's questions with a "yes" or "no.' Mr. Kachikian, who continues to seem like a likable loyal nerd, testified today about how he tried to honestly answer all the government's questions. He told the court that he met with the government on at least four occasions and testified before the grand jury about his role in working on telesleuth. Apparently unaware that in most television shows law enforcement always gets their man by urging him that he doesn't need a lawyer if he has nothing to hide, Mr. Kachikian decided to speak to the government repeatedly without the benefit of counsel. In dialogue that could have come right out of a Law and Order episode, Mr. Kachikian proudly announced, "I didn't bring a lawyer to any interview because I had nothing to hide." Needless to say, the interviews didn't go that well since Mr. Kachikian is now sitting on the witness stand, nervously trying to explain that when he worked on Telesleuth, he was completely unaware that Mr. Pellicano would be using the device for illegal purposes. When asked if he felt badly about having worked on Telesleuth, Mr. Kachikian took a moment to ponder the issue. "That's a tough question to answer," he replied, seemingly perplexed by the situation in which he found himself. "I like the technology of Telesleuth, but I don't like how it was apparently used and I feel saddened that it was apparently used this way."

He also went after the government's witness, Tarita Virute. As you probably don't recall at this point, Ms. Virtue was a one-woman Pellicano-bashing machine when she took the stand for the government earlier in the trial. She identified all of the defendants as basically hanging at Mr. Pellicano's office and recalled Mr. Turner walking with telephone numbers and Mr. Arneson leaving with stuffed envelopes. And then, there was Ms. Virtue's tear stained account of a threatening call made by Mr. Pellicano to her father--a call that a defense witness later described as polite and non-threatening. Today we learned from Mr. Kachikian that Ms. Virtue was known as the office Jezebel following Mr. Pellicano's arrest on weapons possession charges--before this current arrest on wiretapping and conspiracy. Referring to an email that he'd received from Ms. Virtue after Mr. Pellicano's arrest on weapons possession charges, Mr. Kachikian revealed that he felt Ms. Virtue seemed flippant and proud about Mr. Pellicano's arrest. "There was talk around the office that she was the one who turned in Mr. Pellicano," Mr. Kachikian said. "I wasn't very happy with it. I let her know what I'd been hearing around the office."

As for whether Mr. Kachikian purposely destroyed Telesleuth codes and materials following Mr. Pellicano's arrest, the computer technician said that he merely followed the same procedures he always followed with clients. Telling the jury that the Telesleuth materials did not belong to him, he explained that when Mr. Pellicano requested them back following the detective's arrest, Mr. Kachikian did not hesitate to return all of the materials. He also put his copy of the materials in the trash of his computer and then used a program to delete all of the trash. (He used much more sophisticated terminology, but the bottom line was that after he trashed the Telesleuth materials, there was no way for anyone to recover them.) He explained to the jury that he'd done a similar thing when he'd gone on sabbatical back around the millennium. Whenever he stopped doing work for a client, he returned all materials and then destroyed his copy of those materials. He did that back in 2000 when he briefly stopped working for Mr. Pellicano and apparently, he did the same thing in 2003, following Mr. Pellicano's arrest.

STILL TO COME, CROSS EXAMINATION BY MR. SAUNDERS WHO SEEMS TO BE IN A PARTICULARLY BAD MOOD TODAY. In fact, Mr. Saunders' attitude was so abrupt and snarky during his objections to Mr. Braun's questions, that Mr. Braun asked the judge to please tell Mr. Saunders to change the tone of his objections.

Part 2:
In a great moment in this trial, nerdy computer guy Kevin Kachikian has done a great job of besting Mr. Saunders during what was expected to a relatively easy cross. Despite the judge's constant admonishment to answer the questions posed by Mr. Saunders, Mr. Kachikian, in his own geeky way, has managed to point out to the jury that Mr. Saunders is cherry picking paragraphs from his grand jury testimony in an attempt to make his testimony here in court look inconsistent with his prior statements. Mr. Saunders has attempted on several occasions to read a paragraph from Mr. Kachikian's grand jury testimony and had Mr. Kachikian refer him to additional testimony which was consistent with Mr. Kachikian's testimony here in court. In response, Mr. Saunders has gotten louder and louder, telling the witness that he doesn't want to have an argument and then proceeding to do precisely just that. Meanwhile, Mr. Kachikian has gotten into dangerous territory with the judge, adding various disclaimers and comments after every single one of his answers which just happen to explain the alleged inconsistencies in his testimony. At one point, Mr. Kachikian even agreed with Mr. Saunders' reading of the grand jury testimony, noting "that's what I said. Now, could you please put it in context." And then, at another point, after Mr. Saunders read testimony in which Mr. Kachikian allegedly admitted to not remembering whether Mr. Pellicano asked him to destroy certain Telesleuth documents, Mr. Kachikian directed Mr. Saunders to read from another portion of the grand jury testimony where he did remember what Mr. Pellicano had directed him to do. So far, if Mr. Kachikian ends up avoiding sanctions, the computer nerd had bested the seasoned prosecutor. But the day is still young.... and the judge is still angry.

Read all the coverage from inside the Pellicano courtroom.