Prosecutor Daniel Saunders has issued his list of potential government witnesses in the Anthony Pellicano case, and we’ve got it exclusively.
The government may not call them all, but there are 244 names on the witness list for the trial set to begin Feb. 27, in which Hollywood private eye Pellicano faces federal charges of racketeering and illegally wiretapping celebrities.
The list — which was obtained by this column on Monday — includes a lot of stars, studio execs and other Hollywood players whose names are familiar either because they’re famous or infamous. You decide.
What’s clear is that the prosecutors have made sure not to miss one person who’s ever been connected to Pellicano one way or another.
Right at the top of the list are attorney Bert Fields and Paramount chief Brad Grey. They may not be marquee names, but if they are called to testify and do, there could be fireworks.
Ricardo Cestero, the Fields associate who represents Tom Cruise and who worked for Pellicano before becoming a lawyer, is there, too. So are several other members of Fields’ firm, Greenberg Glusker: David Moriarty, Jill Cossman and Chuck Shepard among them. I told you in a column back on Oct. 21, 2006, that they’d all been interviewed by U.S. Attorney Saunders.
Ron Meyer, the head of Universal Pictures, would be next of interest, followed by Bilal Baroody, Meyer’s former neighbor. CAA agents and partners Bryan Lourd and Kevin Huvane are wanted by the prosecutors, as well as their former boss, Mike Ovitz, who may have used Pellicano to spy on them.
The list I received, which was distributed to several others, is so inclusive that at least two of its entrees are dead men: Herbalife founder Mark Hughes, who passed away several years ago. But then again, Hughes’ first wife and his widow, respectively, Suzan Hughes and Darcy LaPier, are noted, as well. And Bette Midler’s former manager, Aaron Russo, has been dead since last August. Someone better tell the feds.
Key legal players named on the witness list, of course, are journalist Anita Busch, who triggered Pellicano’s descent into the court system when she discovered a dead fish placed on her smashed windshield. Also named are divorce lawyer Dennis Wasser and director John McTiernan. The latter already is in jail on matters relating to Pellicano.
There are plenty of actors, such as Keith Carradine and Kevin Nealon, not to mention Carradine’s ex, Sandra Will, who once was Pellicano’s girlfriend. Actor/comedian Garry Shandling, who sued Pellicano client Grey over his TV show, could be a big draw. They’re all on the list.
The names go on and on, and if even half of them make it to testimony, the Pellicano trial will be a hot ticket. Chris Rock would make an amusing witness, no doubt. So would Sylvester Stallone.
Actor/producer Andrew Stevens, as I predicted some months ago, could be a linchpin in all this. So could producer Bo Zenga, who’s in the middle of a legal wrangle with Grey over the discovery that Pellicano was wiretapping him — Zenga — during depositions in a previous case against Grey.
Of course, within the witness list there are little soap operas. Just establishing them in front of a jury will be riveting. Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian and his former wife Lisa and daughter Kira all are there. So are wealthy Alec Gores and his ex, Lisa, not to mention Gores’ brother Thomas. Bob Pfeifer, former head of Disney’s record division, is there along with his ex, Erin Finn.
Wealthy movie producer and frequent gossip column character Steve Bing is named, too. So are restaurateur Peter Morton, commentator Michelle Malkin, former Hollywood beat writer for the New York Times Bernard Weinraub, Pellicano’s wife/former ex-wife, Kat, former phone company manager Teresa Wright and "sexiest" private eye Tarita Virtue, as well as security expert Gavin de Becker.
To make the surreal Pellicano trial more like a reality show, the government has even included "Survivor" creator Mark Burnett.
More Pellicano names on Wednesday, most unknown to the public, such as hedge fund manager Adam Sender and Lilly LeMasters, a former Pellicano secretary.
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