The big news today is that the government finally rested. The other big news is that on Friday, Mr. Pellicano will begin putting on his case--calling only one witness. Mr. Pellicano told the Judge that he plans to finish up his case in about thirty minutes, although he's also indicated that after all the other defendants have presented their cases, he plans to testify in his own behalf. Given that Mr. Pellicano's cross-examination has been all about showing the government and the F.B.I. agents that he knows more about wiretapping and computers than they do, we should probably expect more of the same when he takes the stand.
After Mr. Pellicano finishes his case presentation, we can expect Mr. Hummel to start calling witnesses for Mr. Arneson including F.B.I. agent Stan Ornellas, the guy who basically investigated most of the case against all of these defendants. And, Mr. Hummel announced his intention to call super lawyer, Bert Fields to the stand. When Mr. Saunders asked why Mr. Fields would be called (basically wondering about the relevance of Fields' testimony to Mr. Arneson's defense), Mr. Hummel noted that Mr. Fields would be called to testify how he worked with Mr. Pellicano and had no contact with Mr. Arneson. So, basically, Mr. Hummel plans to show that Mr. Arneson wasn't part of the criminal enterprise charged by the government because Mr. Fields didn't know that he was in the loop on the the wiretapping of legal opponents. Oh by the way, Mr. Fields has denied all knowledge of Mr. Pellicano's allegedly illegal activities and also stated that he never instructed Mr. Pellicano to wiretap anyone....just in case you forgot.
So, before the defense got a chance to talk about who it was calling, the government finished off it's case with a few recordings. First, we heard Ken Starr talk to Mr. Pellicano about conversations between Sly Stallone and his lawyer, Lawrence Nagler. Then, the government went for its big finish, playing one final audio recording. The recording was allegedly a conversation between Mr. Pellicano and former Sgt. Mark Arneson in which Mr. Pellicano asked Mr. Arneson to look up information of several people related to one of Mr. Pellicano's current clients. "I want everything I can get on her," Mr. Pellicano was heard telling Mr. Arneson. Mr. Arneson replied by letting Mr. Pellicano know that this woman (who Pellicano was investigating) had an arrest for drunk driving and had been placed on probation for five years. He also volunteered that those arrested for DUI these days must go into a rehab program or classes and pay a penalty. After giving Mr. Arneson some driver's license numbers and a social security number, Mr. Pellicano also provided the former police Sgt. with some variations on the name of the woman he was investigating. At the end of the conversation, Mr. Pellicano again implored Mr. Arneson to get him as much information as he could about the woman, saying "Pretty please with sugar on top."
And with that, the government rested. Mr. Saunders looked tired as he shook the hands of the F.B.I. agents who'd assisted him in presenting his case. Since the jury was sent home early today, the court took the opportunity to hear motions for a mistrial from the various defendants. The court also heard motions from the various defense lawyers that the government had failed to prove their case against each of the defendants. Mr. Pellicano made a motion on his own behalf to have the charges against him dismissed. Mr. Hummel, who reps Mark Arneson, argued that the government had failed to prove that his client was involved in a conspiracy, adding that the government had failed to offer proof of a common conspiracy. The other defense attorneys followed Mr. Hummel, each individually attacking the government's evidence and arguing on behalf of their respective clients. The Judge seemed unpersuaded by the arguments, although she listened attentively and allowed each attorney to have their say--particularly Mr. Braun, who represents computer expert and Telesleuth creator Kevin Kachikian. In perhaps the longest argument of the day (aside from Mr. Saunders rebuttal to the defense motion), Mr. Braun argued that basically, his client created a device for law enforcement and that he never participated or had any knowledge of Mr. Pellicano's wiretapping scheme. Mr. Nicherie's lawyer, Lawrence Semenza, argued that the government failed to prove that his client engaged in any interception of wiretapped recordings.
In a preview of his closing argument, Mr. Saunders slammed the defense for challenging the witnesses the government has called and carefully argued the elements of his RICO claim, noting that the government doesn't have to prove that every defendant engaged in the same elements of the conspiracy--or that every defendant had to know about the wiretapping to be convicted of being part of the criminal enterprise. He noted that "Mr. Pellicano was not a one man show," adding that he needed sources at the phone company and the police department to get the information "for which clients paid large amounts of money."
So, after dryly questioning witnesses for months about allegedly being wiretapped and looked up by Mr. Pellicano and his gang, Mr. Saunders finally showed some real emotion about the nuts and bolts of the government case. Unfortunately for the government, the jury wasn't there to hear him in action. But the end result of his rather forceful recitation of the evidence against the various defendants was that the Judge denied the motions for a mistrial and seemed completely inclined to allow the case to go to the jury. Basically, it seemed even when the Judge was listening to the defense attorneys' argue their motions that she was really just being polite. And so, tomorrow the defense will go forward. STAY TUNED for Anthony Pellicano's presentation of his defense with his one witness and Chad Hummel's direct examination of Bert Fields. Should be interesting....Glad someone is finally calling the attorney who supposedly sent Mr. Pellicano the bulk of his business.....
Read all of HuffPost's coverage from inside the Pellicano courtroom
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