Robert Pfeiffer, a former music executive, testified today that he
hired Mr. Pellicano to destroy the life of his ex-girlfriend, Erin
Finn. Mr. Pfeiffer told the jury that after he brought a lawsuit
against a former employer for wrongful termination, his ex-girlfriend
testified against him and on behalf of his ex-employer, saying he'd
used drugs while employed. Telling the jury that he became irrational
and obsessive about Ms. Finn and her "betrayal," Mr. Pfeiffer said that
he hired Mr. Pellicano to not only get Ms. Finn to recant her testimony
about his drug use but to also "discredit her." Mr. Pfeiffer claimed
that Mr. Pellicano not only convinced him to a new lawyer, Alan Weil
(who is also coincidentally on the government's witness list), but also
got him to file several lawsuits against Ms. Finn, to harass her and to
agree to wiretapping her phones. Although Mr. Pfeiffer said that Mr.
Pellicano initially referred to his wiretapping of Ms. Finn's phone by
code (as in "I've just read something"), Mr. Pellicano ultimately told
him directly about the wiretapping and eventually invited him back to
his office for a listen.
Mr. Pfeiffer told the courtroom that Mr. Pellicano was extremely
effective against Ms. Finn. He said that Mr. Pellicano confirmed that
Ms. Finn was working as a prostitute at the time she was dating Mr.
Pfeiffer. Mr. Pfeiffer also testified that after the lawsuits against
Ms. Finn, campaign of harassment and the wiretapping of her phones, Ms.
Finn ultimately agreed to recant her testimony. He said that because of
Mr. Pellicano, he was able to settle his lawsuit with his former
employer and get on with his life. And, best of all, Mr. Pellicano also
ended up playing yenta to these two crazy kids and got them back
together for a while after Ms. Finn finally decided to be nice and stop
saying that Mr. Pfeiffer used speed.
Before Mr. Pfeiffer left the stand and went home to wait to be
sentenced on wiretapping charges, he told the jury a bit about the
goings-on at Mr. Pellicano's office. He said that he not only listened
to audio tapes there, he also saw another Pellicano client there, the
well known Hollywood manager, Fred DeMann. According to Mr. Pfeiffer,
Mr. Pellicano confided in him that Mr. DeMann had hired the detective
because he suspected that his daughter's husband was being unfaithful
and was gay and wanted proof. It seems that when it came to Mr.
Pfeiffer, Mr. Pellicano was all about giving out information--no omerta
code when it came to good old Bob. And, that's not all. Apparently,
while he was hanging at the Pellicano office listening to wiretaps, Mr.
Pfeiffer also managed to hear Mr. Pellicano cancel an appointment with
Michael Ovitz, spot the Nicherie brothers translating audio tapes from
Hebrew to English and chat up Tarita Virtue, the employee assigned to
work on his case.
On cross-examination, Mr. Hummel, Mr. Arneson's attorney, managed to
artfully question the motivation behind Mr. Pfeiffer's testimony. When
asked by Mr. Hummel what he hoped to gain by testifying today, Mr.
Pfeiffer tearfully explained that he hoped that the truth would set him
free, that he would find some sort of redemption and that, maybe, just
maybe, the Judge might show him a little leniency when sentencing him.
When Ms. Finn finally took the stand, she managed to deftly use a
number of euphemisms in referring to her prior occupation, telling
about being an "escort," "a two day minimum," "sort of being a travel
agent," and "occasionally providing sex" to "socially awkward geeks."
Wearing a conservative brown suit, Ms. Finn, an attractive blond and
well-spoken woman with unusually high cheekbones, told the jury about
how Mr. Pellicano and Mr. Pfeiffer harassed her, wiretapped her and
ultimately, drove her into bankruptcy. She said that she started her
escort service back in 1999 with a website, "educatedescort.com." She
said the site appealed to socially awkward geeks and that her services
included a two day minimum and sometimes involved sex.
Ms. Finn met Mr. Pfeiffer in a classic Hollywood way. He called to have
an escort come over--"but not for sex," Ms. Finn testified. It was a
classic Hollywood story--"boy meets girl," "girl falls for boy," "girl
leaves boy and testifies against him" and "angry boy retaliates."
Ms. Finn recalled that after she testified against Mr. Pfeiffer in his
lawsuit against his former employer, bad things happened. He harassed
her, sued her, got her personal information and sent it out to family
and friends. There were hang-ups on her phone, threats and she also
became convinced that her phone was wiretapped, even contacting the
phone company at one point to check it out. "I didn't know back then
that it was the phone company that was wiretapping me," she said with a
slight smile. Looking at notes allegedly taken by a Pellicano employee
of her private phone conversation, she identified several subjects,
including telling a friend that Mr. Pfeiffer had offered her $100,000
to not testify against him. She said that after months of harassment,
lawsuits and the feeling that her conversations were being listened to,
she finally agreed to meet with Mr. Pellicano and Mr. Pfeiffer's
attorney, Alan Weil. She recalled that Mr. Pfeiffer's lawyer, Alan
Weil, "made it clear that my life would be a living hell if I didn't
recant." So, she told the jury, "I said what I needed to so I could
have a life again."
Perhaps, the strangest moment in the trial came today when Mr.
Pellicano was cross-examining Ms. Finn. Pretending that the two were
the best of friends, Mr. Pellicano adopted a faux friendly attitude as
he asked her a series of fairly innocuous questions. When Ms. Finn had
trouble remembering some details about Mr. Pfeiffer's drug use and said
that it was because of nerves, Mr. Pellicano was extremely gracious.
"Maybe it would help you to relax if in the back of your mind you play
back 'Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone," Mr. Pellicano offered,
instead of a question. The prosecutors weren't sure what to say, but
Mr. Pellicano had made his point--whatever it was.
Mr. Hummel's cross examination of Ms. Finn was a classic. Just as he
hit the podium, Mr. Hummel asked loudly, "Ms. Finn, could you please
tell us the dates when you started being a prostitute and the date when
you ended being a prostitute." She answered referring to her website
start-up date and then said "it's been decades." Mr. Hummel didn't let
it rest. "Not quite decades," he countered. Finally, he questioned her
veracity, noting that she'd eventually recounted her testimony against
Mr. Pfeiffer and "lied under oath." He then finished her off by noting
that when she lied for Mr. Pfeiffer, she was under the same sort of
oath that she's taken before testifying today. And with that, he
stomped back to his seat, barely able to contain his eye roll.
The day ended with testimony from Jeffrey Edwards, a former F.B.I.
computer expert and member of the F.B.I. cyber crime squad (no, they
don't have a cyber crime fighting outfit). He testified about how any
agent seeking to wiretap would have to exhaust all other investigative
options to wiretap someone. He also said something about that agent
needing a warrant. Apparently, Mr. Edwards is unfamiliar with the
country's current warrant-less wiretapping legislation courtesy of Mr.
Cheney and Mr. Bush. In any event, he's due back on the stand tomorrow,
along with Mr. Pfeiffer who will be cross-examined by Mr. Pellicano.
The government indicated to the Judge that they expect to finish up
their case in around two weeks. Mr. Saunders said that tomorrow the
government expects Mr. Edwards and Mr. Pfeiffer will be back on the
stand and then, they will call Susan Hughes (another ex-client and
alleged wiretapper) as well as a number of phone company employees and
possible, CAA partners Brian Lourd and Kevin Huvane.
Read all of HuffPost"s coverage from inside the Pellicano courtroom