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Pellicano Trial: Murder Threats, Misery and Inbred Marital Affairs


Adam Sender, a hedge fund manager who testified for the government today, was just the latest in a series of extremely wealthy witnesses who paid Anthony Pellicano to wiretap and harass an adversary. Mr. Sender's testified that after hiring Bert Fields to represent him in a lawsuit against Aaron Russo, he then hired Anthony Pellicano to serve and investigate Mr. Russo. And, as tends to happen after Mr. Pellicano enters the picture, he began wiretapping Mr. Russo and playing these wiretapped conversations to Mr. Sender. Mr. Sender testified that Mr. Pellicano was very effective in his investigation of Mr. Russo, noting that the detective discovered through wiretapping that Mr. Sender's then partner was apparently talking to his legal nemesis, Mr. Russo. "I remember hearing a conversation that Mr. Russo had with my former partner," recalled Mr. Sender. "I remember being offended that my former partner was talking on the phone with someone that I had to sue."

Mr. Sender also testified that he never discussed wiretapping with his then attorney Bert Fields, he did throw David Moriarty, another Greenberg Glusker attorney, under the bus. "it was my understanding that Mr. Moriarty knew about it [the wiretapping.] He had the same information I did. Mr. Moriarty was at a lot of my meetings with Mr. Pellicano."

Mr. Sender testified that Mr. Pellicano was helpful to him in all kinds of ways in relation to his lawsuit against Mr. Russo. Although Mr. Sender declined to take Mr. Pellicano up on his offer to kill Mr. Russo (see previous post), he did give the detective the authority to do just about everything else. "You have, as far as I'm concerned, you know, I'm trusting you 100 percent, you have free rein to do whatever you feel will make this cocksucker as unhappy as possible," Mr. Sender told Mr. Pellicano in a tape played in court today. "And what about the lawsuit?" asked Mr. Pellicano. "Are you going to continue with that or drop it?" "No, I'm going to continue with that." Mr. Pellicano tried to get his orders straight. "In other words, we're going to do things on two fronts or on one front and I just want to know that." Mr. Sender made himself clear. "No, two fronts. I'm going to continue the lawsuit until doomsday. And in the meantime, I'd like to make the fuckin' asshole as uncomfortable as possible."

The government played a recording from April of 2001 in which Mr. Pellicano actually complains about having to work endlessly on the wiretapping of Mr. Russo. "I was there at 2:00 in the morning because I had a technical problem," Mr. Pellicano complains on the recording before asking for a bonus. "And if you really, really like what happens, then some day in the future you may give me a bonus."

In a recording between Mr. Pellicano and Mr. Sender from May of 2001, Mr. Pellicano assures Mr. Sender of his loyalty, noting "I've always been like that. And that's why Bert uses me on every case." Mr. Sender replies, "Good." Mr. Pellicano finishes up the call telling his client that Mr. Russo is inching closer to the cliff and "has no fucking idea it's coming."

Mr. Sender, whose remorse over the wiretapping seemed limited to be slightly "ashamed," testified today that Mr. Pellicano played him ten to fifteen wiretapped audio tapes of conversations involving Mr. Russo and that he listened to those recordings for over a year. The government played audio tape of Mr. But even after a year of listening to tapes and being allegedly frightened that Mr. Pellicano might kill Mr. Russo, Mr. Sender still didn't contact the authorities about either the wiretapping or Mr. Pellicano's alleged threat against Mr. Russo.

And, just in case anyone in the jury doubted Mr. Sender's testimony about Mr. Pellicano's threatening to kill Mr. Russo, Mr. Pellicano got up on cross and verified it. With one hand behind his back, Mr. Pellicano let the jury know exactly the nature of his offer to Mr. Sender. "Mr. Pellicano didn't actually murder Mr. Russo, he merely offered to murder him?" the former detective to the stars asked his former client. And then, Mr. Pellicano clarified that his suggestion not to kill, but to "whack" Mr. Russo and it was made after chatting about how much money Mr. Sender had already spent on this matter.

On cross-examination by Mr. Hummel, Mr. Sender's apparent lack of remorse over his wiretapping escapades was even more apparent. "You gave Mr. Pellicano free rein and were glad to have him on your side?" Mr. Hummel inquired. "I was," Mr. Sender replied smugly, eliciting a proud smile from Mr. Pellicano.

During some tough cross-examination by Lawrence Semenza, defendant Abner Nicherie's attorney, Mr. Sender admitted that even today, he was still angry at Mr. Russo for duping him. Mr. Sender calmly told Mr. Semenza that while he started off with just a lawsuit against Mr. Russo to recover his money that his mission changed to "causing as much grief as he could." When Mr. Semenza asked if Mr. Sender was happy enough with the amount of pain and suffering he caused Mr. Russo, Mr. Sender replied, "I don't agree I put him through pain and suffering, so, no."

Finally, Mr. Semenza put Mr. Sender's testimony into some perspective for the jury. "So, Mr. Sender, " he said calmly, "Even after wiretapping Mr. Russo, paying Mr. Pellicano over half a million dollars and knowingly listening to wiretapped calls for over a year, you're still not being prosecuted." "No, I am not," Mr. Sender replied.

At the end of the day, Lisa Gores, the ex-wife of billionaire Alex Gores, took the stand. Looking like a Jennifer Aniston clone, Ms. Gores testified to having an affair with her then brother-in-law, Tom Gores. (The government asked permission from the court for Ms. Gores to testify out of order because she is leaving for Europe this evening.) Ms. Gores also told the jury that during her affair with her husband's brother, she often thought that her car was being followed and that he then husband was having her investigated. After a rendez-vous with Tom Gores at the Beverly Hills' Hotel, Ms. Gores testified that when she left, "I noticed a gentleman on one of the sidewalks that led to the room." She testified that that evening, January 8, 2001, she was so frightened after seeing the man at the Beverly Hills' Hotel, that she called her then husband's brother, Tom Gores, to discuss the matter. "I spoke to Tom about feeling like were followed," she said. "We were trying to get our ducks in order. We were both trying to figure out Alex's knowledge and comfort each other." (Ms. Gores testimony about the different Gores brothers became so confusing at one point that the Judge was forced to interrupt and ask her which brother she was referring to--Alex or Tom Gores. Ms. Gores testified about meeting with Mr. Pellicano after her affair had been discovered, citing her concern over the tape. )

Ms. Gores told the courtroom that she'd listened to an audio recording and determined that it was a recording of her conversation that night. (The government intends to play this recording tomorrow. Based on the government's own representations, this is the only alleged wiretap in their possession.) Ms. Gores said that following her conversation with Tom Gores that evening, Alec Gores admitted that he knew about the affair. Ms. Gores ended up meeting with all three Gores' brothers (Sam, Alec and Tom) at a restaurant in the valley where she and Tom agreed to end their affair. "They basically said they knew and they forbid it," she recalled of the "family" meeting. "Sam was mad at Alex for my husband's affairs and upset with me and Tom. I was told we could no longer talk to each other."

After the family meeting, Ms. Gores discovered that her then husband had paid Mr. Pellicano to wiretap her and had a tape of her conversation with his brother Tom Gores. Concerned about the tape leaking out to the public, Ms. Gores met with Mr. Pellicano and asked him to destroy the audio recording. Recalling her fears over the audio tape being released, Ms. Gores began to cry.

Before Ms. Gores' tears could dry, Kevin Kachikian's attorney, Adam Braun, was on his feet asking Ms. Gores about whether she actually slept with her brother-in-law. In Clintonesque fashion, Ms. Gores testified to having been "sexually intimate" with Tom Gores, but only to a "degree." And, just in case the jury wasn't completely turned off by Ms. Gores' testimony about having sexually intimate contact with her brother-in-law. Mr. Braun also got her to admit that she lied to the F.B.I. and like all the other really wealthy government witnesses, she wasn't being prosecuted for it.

Mr. Saunders ended the day by telling the Judge that tomorrow's witnesses will include: Giuseppe Franco (hairstylist to the stars) as well as former Pellicano employee, Denise Ward. He also said that the government hopes to rest sometime in the middle of next week.

Read all of HuffPost's coverage from inside the Pellicano courtroom