Thursday, April 3, 2008

Stopping by the Anthony Pellicano Trial

The Defendants:
Anthony Pellicano, 63
Mark Arneson, 29 year veteran of the LAPD, Pacific Division
Raford Earl Turner, 51, former field tech employee of SBC & PacBell
Kevin Kachikan, 43, computer wizard who developed "Teleseluth," a wiretapping software program
Abner Nicherie, 44, of Las Vegas. Pellicano client involved in a business dispute with a man who was wiretapped

Defense Attorneys:
Chad Hummel: Representing defendant Arneson. Hummel is a handsome looking man. He has two assistants with him in the courtroom.
Diana Kwok: Hummel's co-counsel, representing Arneson.
Mona Soo Hoo: Representing defendant Turner. Hoo was a member of John DeLorean's defense team that successfully defended DeLorean on all charges.
Adam Braun: Representing defendant Kachikian. Son of the famous lawyer, Harlan Braun.
Lawrence Semenza: Representing defendant Nicherie. Based in Nevada, in the 1970's he was the U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada.

The Judge: Dale S. Fischer: 11 years on the bench total in State and Federal Court.

The Prosecution Team:
Assistant U.S. Attorney, Daniel Saunders
Assistant U.S. Attorney, Kevin Lally

The Witness List

After I left the Phil Spector ten minute hearing, I dropped off my computer and phone in my car and headed east on Temple Street towards the Roybal building. Without my cell phone, I didn't know what time it was since I haven't worn a watch in years. Even so, it didn't take me long to get there. Just like the last time, when I passed through security I had to take my shoes off. This is in total contrast to the County Criminal Court building, where, during the Spector trial, I had several security guards chastise me for taking my shoes off before I would walk through the scanners. One time, the security officer told me that I had to have my shoes on because there could be glass on the ground. For me, it was easier to take them off and not put them back on until I had passed through the 9th floor security checkpoint. There must be metal in my shoes that kicks off the scanners because if I walk though without them, the scanners don't go off, and I'm spared having to lift my arms and my body scanned by the metal detecting wand.

Going through security at the Roybal, this time they asked to see a photo ID, and I complied, telling the suited officer that he could tell his grandchildren that he met Betsy Ross. He smiled when he looked at the photo. Since I entered from the plaza, I had to reorient myself in this building and try to find the correct bank of elevators for the 8th floor. The building almost seemed deserted to me.

As I pass through the scanner in front of the courtroom door, security asks if I have a cell phone and I tell them I don't. They seem pleased with that and tell me I don't have to wait for a break, that I can go on in. The courtroom is a bit packed, and I take a brown leathered upholstered chair in the back row right beside the door. I see the City News reporter Ciaran McEvoy is in the bench row in front of me in the center, and I see Steven Mikulan from the LA Weekly is in the back aisle row but farther down on the bench. He motions me to come over. (For those who don't know, I'm a big fan of Steven's writing because he's so witty. You can check out his latest story on the Pellicano trial, here. It's a great piece.)

Steven whispers to me ever so softly that Kissandra "Kissy" Cohen (now Kissy Tysman) is on the stand. I write in my book, under direct? Reading the note Steven nods his head. I didn't notice it when I was here before, but at the end of the defendants platform there is another huge DVD screen on a high cart with rollers and because of it, my view of some of the defendants is blocked from where I'm sitting.

As I'm coming into the middle Kissy Cohen's testimony, I try to relate what she is saying back to what I've read of other articles on the case. Kissy is a pretty young woman who graduated from law school at a very young age. She went to work for Ed Masry in 1999 but was fired in December of that year. Kissy claims that Masry wanted more than "just lawyering" from her, and filed a lawsuit against him for sexual harassment and slander. Masry hired a slew of lawyers to defend him as well as putting Anthony Pellicano onto Kissy.

From the very back of the room, I try to gage her demeanor and how she comes across and from where I'm sitting it's hard to see her. Cohen is testifying about her phone line problems as well as harassment she experienced during the time of her lawsuit against her former employer, Ed Masry. Cohen is testifying that she made calls around that time and she vaguely remembers the names of potential employee recruiters on the Pellicano document she is being shown. Cohen testifies that she had problems with her home phone line, hearing strange noises, and she was worried that she was being wiretapped. The phone company did send someone out to check her house line.

KT: Masry was not the most moral individual so I was concerned about that.

Kissy also testifies about how she had "serious food poisoning" from a meal she had at the Olive Garden. She contacted the company, lodging a complaint about the particular dish she had and the company paid her medical bills. Another frightening experience was at Petco. She took her two pets to be groomed their bodies were cut during the grooming and they needed stitches. She brought a lawsuit against Petco.

When she was in the initial phases of her lawsuit against Masry, she was comfortable talking to her attorney over the phone. But once she saw that "strange things were happening" she got more concerned about talking over the telephone. She was trying to keep from Masry's attorneys that she was firing her attorney, because he was quite busy with a big California case and didn't have the time to devote to her case. Somehow, Masry's counsel found out that she no longer had representation and she was hit with a barrage of motions by them. She was at a distinct disadvantage because she didn't even have her file from her prior attorney. Masry's attorneys deposed her entire family, and so many motions that had to be responded to by a deadline, that made it difficult for her to acquire new counsel. She did eventually hire a new lawyer.

When she was finally deposed in it took six days. Four days in a row in November, 2000, and the other two days were months later. Amy Rice took her deposition. Shortly before her deposition, an acquaintance she met in college, Stacey Christian, called her on the phone out of the blue and wanted to reconnect. They did not have many friends in common and Stacey had been out of her life for many years. She had no contact with Stacey while she worked for Masry. When Cohen took that phone call, no last names were mentioned; she knew who it was when Stacey called her. During her deposition, Cohen was asked questions such as:

Did Stacey ever come over to the office? What was Stacey's last name?

Cohen was quite concerned because she couldn't figure out how they could know about Stacey, but not know her last name. Cohen could tell by the questions that were asked at her deposition that the only way they could find out was via a phone tap. Around that time she was planning a birthday party for a friend "Sean" and that was asked about in the deposition. These events had nothing to do with her work or with Nazarine. (?)

A few months before the deposition she had bumped into her childhood Rabbi, someone she had not seen in over fifteen years. She mentioned her legal problems to him and he offered to help her. She gave him her resume and he was going to pass it along to some potential contacts. She was asked about the outcome of this event in her deposition.

Pam Elliot, was a former employee with Masry and Cohen passed her name onto her counsel with the belief that this individual would be a good witness for her case. Very soon after that, Elliott was represented by Masry and his firm which basically precluded her from access to Elliot from then on. Cohen testifies that there was no way that Masry's counsel could have found out they were interested in using Elliot except through a phone tap. Her case eventually went to trial. She won on the slander charges but lost on the sexual harassment counts.

Chad Hummel gets up to cross Cohen.

Right off the bat Hummel makes it clear to the jury that this witness is suing his client in Federal Court. Hummel asks questions about where she went to law school, Laloya, and that she graduated and took the bar in 1999. She was still working for Masry in December 1999. She filed her lawsuit against him in April, 2000. Cohen states under cross that she moved out of her parents house and into her apartment in February of 2000. The car she was driving at the time, a Chevy Blaizer Sun was in the name of her parents. She is currently practicing general litigation law now.

Hummel is trying to get her to explain why the delay in her deposition, in some way implying that she was the cause of the problem. Why did they have to make motions to compel you to give a deposition? I'm not quite grasping all this foot work that he's trying to do here, but it also seems to me that he's trying to trip her up on the specifics of the motions that Masry's defense team mounted against her. Ah, now I think I'm getting it. Hummel is trying to imply that these motions could have revealed information through the regular course of the case and not through the wiretaps as Cohen is testifying. The trial concluded in 2002.

She first learned in 2003 about her name being run by police when the FBI contacted her.

Pellicano gets up to cross.

Pellicano asks her why she fired her attorney, and Cohen testifies that she got along fine with him, however, he didn't have the time to devote to the case. He had a big case in California that he was concentrating on. Right after this Pellicano gets stuck in a particular area about "suing" and the Judge instructs him to ask a different question. I have in my notes here that Cohen is quite cute and innocent looking. She appears very open and is answering every question. If I have my math correct, she's 28-29 now.

Pellicano then asks a question that's totally out of bounds. The prosecution objects and the objection is sustained.

Mona Soo Hoo gets up to cross.

Q: Did you speak to someone at the phone company (about your phone line problem)? Did you call 611?

A: I can't remember.

Q: Did they give you a trouble ticket number?

A: I can't remember.

Q: Did they come out and tell you the problem was fixed?

A: They called me back.

Q: Do you remember the date of that call?

A: No I do not.

Saunders steps up to redirect. Cohen states that in her suit she was awarded $120,000 in damages and her attorney fees were in excess of $500,000.

Q: How much were you suing for?


Cohen states that the settlement was still damaging to her career, and that $120,000 was not a good verdict. She was not able to land a job in California and had to move out of the Los Angeles area to find work.

Hummel gets up to recross, and asks her point blank what was that $120,000 for. Tyman replies, "Mr. Masry went on TV and said I was incompetent and a liar. There were several similar statements.

Finally, Cohen is excused. I take this moment to ask Steven if anything interesting happened and he tells me that Susan Hughes cried on the stand.

The next witness is Keith Carradine. I'm ecstatic. I adore this actor. I tell Steven I got to see him in Will Rogers Follies. I especially liked him as FBI agent Frank Lundy, in one of my all time favorite shows, Showtime's Dexter. I really like this actor and am looking forward to what he has to say. I know that his ex-wife, Saundra pleaded guilty to two counts of perjury. She lied to a federal grand jury about her knowledge of Pellicano's wiretapping operation. I also understand that she dated Pellicano. As Carradine enters the courtroom I'm squinting trying to identify the dark color of his suit. In the recessed lighting, it looks as if it's different colors. Sometimes black, sometimes brown. It's perfectly tailored and he's wearing a white shirt and deep red tie with it. He looks great.

Carradine testifies that in April of 2001, he was still a legal resident of Colorado. However, at the time he was living in a trailer park in Valencia, California. (How terrible that he has to testify in Federal Court that after his divorce from Saundra Will, he was reduced to living in a trailer park in Valencia. For all I know it could have been a real nice one, but like Steven said, "Valencia is no Jim Rockford on the beach in Malibu.") His girlfriend, (now his current wife) Hayley Leslie DuMond was living with him at the time. Although the divorce was finalized, Saundra and Carradine were still litigating child support issues. At that time, he didn't know that his ex-wife was associated with Pellicano and that Pellicano was investigating him as well as his girlfriend.

After Carradine flew to Australia to work on a film, there was an attempted break-in at his trailer. His girlfriend was followed very aggressively in her car and while she was out to dinner with her parents, her tires were slashed. At one point someone with a bad accent contacted him saying, "...they had information to help him with his divorce." Carradine declined the help responding with, "I'm an honorable person with nothing to hide."

His girlfriend's parents were also harassed with phone calls at 2, 3 and 4:00 am in the morning, with no one on the other end of the line. While he was out of the country, Carradine also had problems with his phone line at the trailer, with the line going dead and no dial tone. He called the phone company and they performed a line check and stated they would come out. "They just came out and told me the problem was fixed," Carradine testified. Carradine then is asked to do what many of prior prosecution witness have been asked to do, and that is identify exhibits where his name was either run through police or DMV records. Carradine identifies several document exhibits that contain his information, his wife's, as well as a property he owned in Topanga Canyon and his wife's parent's Sherman Oaks address.

Carradine states that he didn't have any contact with law enforcement in April, 2001, and did not have any contact with Arneson. Carradine also testifies that DuMond went to Tennessee to visit her other grandparents. They had recently obtained their real estate licensing around that time and had been hired by Coldwell Banker.

That's what I have for the end of the prosecution's direct and the court takes a fifteen minute break. At the break, Steven and I bemoan the hard courtroom benches. Steven tells me that the courtroom security won't even let you bring in snacks or newspapers. Allison Hope Weiner is pointed out to me and I notice she's quite slender. I am having a tough time matching the woman in the row in front of me with her photo on the Huffington Post but that's because her hair is so different now.

12:35 PM We stand and wait for the jury to reenter the courtroom. Pellicano is the first to get up to cross Carradine. Pellicano asks about some court papers that were filed trying to move the child support issues to California, but Carradine denies this. He remembers there were issues about moving the divorce case itself but not about child support.

AP: Do you know if the child support issues remained in Colorado at that time?

A: Yes.

AP: Didn't you call the land your trailer was on a "mesa?"

Objection! Sustained!

AP: Do you know when you moved there?

Objecton! Sustained!

AP: Did you ever live at the Sherman Oaks residence with Ms. DuMond?

A: No. (This was her parent's home.)

AP: Did you call about the break in?

A: No. I was in Australia for three months.

AP: At no time did you live in Sherman Oaks?

A: No.

AP: Did you go back to your trailer in Valencia?

Objection! Sustained!

Pellicano asks about the slashed tires on his vehicle, and Carradine corrects Pellicano that they were not "his" tires, they were on his girlfriends car. It happened in 2001 when she was living in Sherman Oaks with her parents.

AP: When did you get the phone call with the funny voice?

A: It was sometime before the divorce was finalized.

AP: Would you characterize your wife as a vindictive person?

A: Yes.

Soo Hoo is the next to cross Carradine.

Q: Did you personally call the phone company about the deadline? Did you call 611?

A: I believe I did.

Q: Did you have more than one line.

A: Just the one line.

Q: Did you ask the phone company for a trouble ticket or maintenance number?

A: No.

Q: How did you know the phone was fixed?

A: It started working again.

Chad Hummel's co-councel, Diane Quark (sp?) gets up to cross.

Q: Do you have a suit pending against Mr. Arneson?

(Unfortunately, I miss getting this answer.)

Q: Do you remember when you first learned you name had been run?

A: Soon after the Vanity Fair article came out.

And that's the end of cross. I don't have any notes on any redirect. A friend later tells me that Keith Carradine and Hayley DuMond are suing Pellicano, Sandra Will Carradine, Pacific Bell (now AT&T), Mark Arneson and the city of Los Angeles. I wonder how they could have a suit against the city of LA?

12:45 PM The next witness is Richard Campau, a former employee of Pellicano's detective agency. Saunders performs the direct examination.

Campau is a former employee of PIA (Pellicano Investigations Agency). He was employed from October 1998 through the end of August, 2001. His title was Administrative Assistant and Legal Assistant. His responsibility was to take care of files and assist Lily LeMasters. Campau states that he knew Ray Turner and that he saw him a couple of times a week during the entire time he worked at PIA. Pellicano and Turner met in the war room or Pellicano's office sometimes.

A floorplan of the office is put up and Campau identifies that his office was the room marked "H" on the diagram. Campau also identifies the room that was called the "War Room" on the diagram and does the same for a photograph of the same room.

Campau testifies that Pellicano and Turner were in the War Room together once every couple of weeks. Pellicano asked Campau to contact Turner two to three times a day. The page that would be sent to Turner was "444." When Turner called back, the call would be forwarded to Pellicano.

Campau states that sometimes, he handled records with phone numbers and on one occasion, he assisted Gaylin (?) in entering these numbers into the computer. Gaylin was out of the office and Pellicano asked him to enter the numbers into the computer.

Q: Were you aware of a phone closet outside in the hallway?

A: Yes.

Q: Was there concern that someone was accessing that phone closet?

A: Yes. Anthony was sometimes in the phone closet in the hall.

Campau states he was aware who the clients were. When asked if he knew of any clients who came into the office to listen to the tapes, Campau states that the only case where he can remember who came in to listen was a Jackie Coburn (? I do not know if I have that name correct, since nothing similar is on the witness list.) He saw her listening on headphones for a couple of weeks. She was listening to conversations at her residence. He knows that because "Anthony told me so. He asked me to have someone from the lab set up listening in his office (for her)."

At one point, Campau transcribed two phone calls concerning this case. Something about her chauffeur going out to the liquor store. Campau clarifies that the wiretaps were on her own phone at her residence.

Q: Do you know who the Nicherie's were? Do you know they were brothers?

A: (He knows) They once were in the office but he can't say he met both of them.

Campau identifies one of the defendants, Abner Nicherie.

Q: Did you come across a file called "Telesleuth?"

A: Yes. There was copyright information in it but it was from a long time ago.

Campau now identifies the defendant Kevin Kachikan. Campau knows that he designed the program and that he came to the lab and worked on the computers the entire time Campau worked there. Next, Campau identifies Mark Arneson, and states that Arneson came into the office a couple of times a week.

It's at this point I write in my notes that it seems to me like he's answering these questions as "matter of fact," sort of like, "of course, this is what happened." As if this was all "business as usual."

Arneson was paged similar to Turner, who was contacted several times a day. Arneson came into the office a couple of times a week. Campau states that employees saw DMV information, criminal history information (coming from the faxes). It was easy to tell that this information came from Arneson because his name was on them. The faxes came in daily.

At first, when those faxes came in, they would "cut off" the top portion of the fax and just put that report in the files. After he came to the company, the reports were reformatted eliminating the originator of the police or DMV computer files inquiry. Saunders has Campau identify a "typical" fax that came into the office. The fax he puts up on the overhead is one related to Anita Busch. (It was the stalking and death threats against Ms. Busch, a respected journalist that kicked off the FBI's Pellicano investigation back in 2002.) Next, Campau identifies what a "typical" reformatted document looked like that would be placed in the client files. This information was in most of the files. Sometimes, the original faxes would end up in the client files.

I observe Pellicano lean back in his chair while Campau is testifying about the daily office proceedures and how many files he saw: a couple hundred. Approximately 75% had information from police reports that were reformatted.

Campau was working at PIA during the John Gordon Jones case. After a conversation (Anthony had) with Karla Kerlin, Pellicano told them (the staff) to purge files. Any and all files with Mark Arneson's name in them. He was assigned this task and it took all day and then Pellicano said he didn't have to do that anymore.

Chad Hummel gets up to cross Campau.

Hummel asks about how timely the information that came by fax was reformatted. The typing might take three to four days for it to happen. It wasn't done very quickly. Campau is asked to identify a document called an "audit run" from May 29, 2002 and Campau states he's never seen it before. Hummel points out the fact that Anita Busch's name doesn't appear on that form, and Campau agrees that he can't find it. Campau testifies that he knew Arneson was a Sgt. with the LAPD but he never saw him bring anything into the office. Campau states that he didn't know the Beverly Hills police officer Craig Stevens.

Q: Did you ever suspect or learn that Anthony Pellicano was wiretapping any detective or DA's in the Jones case?

A: Yes.

Hummel asks Campau about his Grand Jury testimony, which appears to be different but Campau states that he doesn't remember saying that. Even when shown the transcript of the grand jury, he doesn't recall giving that testimony. He testifies today that he's sure Anthony did wiretap. In regards to the "big shred" day, he doesn't know if Arneson said anything to Pellicano on that day.

Soo Hoo now crosses Campau.

Q: Anthony Pellicano was concerned about security cameras, correct?

A: Yes.

Q: All files were kept in locked cabinets?

A: Yes.

Q: Mr. Turner didn't have access to the files did he?

A: No, he did not.

Campau testifies that it was office gossip that the phone lines in the office were also tapped.

Q: Turner never handed you pages of written numbers?

A: No.

Campau testifies that he was present when Wayne Reynolds would tell Pellicano that someone was in (or had accessed) the phone closet, and that happened about six times during his time at the company. Campau states that he did see Turner and Pellicano at the phone closet.

Q: You never saw Turner implement wiretaps or listening in on converstions with head phones?

A: No, I did not.

Now Pellicano gets up to cross his former employee. What is ensues is another round of Pellicano referring to himself in the third person, the witness trying to answer talking about Pellicano in the third person but many times just countering Pellicano's questions by addressing him back, directly.

AP: How do you get into the phone closet?

A: I have no idea.

AP: Was the phone closet locked?

A: I don't know that either.

Campau never tried to open the phone closet; he testifies, "You could see in the hall that the phone closet door was open."

If Lily (LeMasters) wasn't there, Campau made all the phone calls. That occurred about half a dozen times. Campau remembers that during his employment, approximately five to six times Wayne Reynolds went to Pellicano to notify him that someone was in the phone room and the light was on. Campano does remember that Pellicano did ask him to get Ray (Turner) on the phone one time. In his cross, Pellicano tries to pin Campau down as to the exact "day" this happened and Campau can't remember. I write in my notes at this point, "This is ridiculous."

Pellicano is now quizzing Campau about the War Room. Campau doesn't really remember what type or how many computers were in there. Pellicano seems to be taken back by this and is asking all these detailed questions about the equipment, work stations and whether or not Campau knows what different computers look like. Pellicano even has to ask the prosecution for one of their photos of the War Room, puts up the image and is badgering Campau with more questions about everything in there. It's totally crazy and I'm wondering if Pellicano is on some sort of self destructive cross examination here.

It's 1:45 PM and this cross just keeps going and going.

AP: Isn't it TRUE SIR, that you NEVER saw Mr. Pellicano in the War Room with Ray Turner?

A: No.

I could have sworn that the witness looked at Pellicano like he was crazy when he answered that last question. I can't believe this is going on for so long, or that the jury is staying awake. Now Pellicano is asking a question about Lily's typing skills and Campau says, "Lily couldn't type two words a minute," and many of the jurors break up over that comment. Campau goes onto add in a very serious tone, "I'm very close to Lily and I love her very much."

Pellicano gets Campau to admit that he never saw Pellicano hand anyone cash.

It's right after this note, that the gentleman sitting to my right leans over to ask me what blog I write for. I tell him, "Trials & Tribulations. Type that into Google with the word 'Sprocket' and my blog will come up." (Later, I ask Steven if he knows who this man is. Steven thinks he was at the Spector trial ~ I never noticed him ~ and that he might work for CNN. I don't even think to ask him myself who he is or writes for.)

Campano states that he doesn't have a visual image of Arneson being in the Lab with Pellicano. Pellicano asks one more quesiton, "How many cameras were there in the office?" and right after that, Judge Dale Fischer ends testimony for the day. The prosecution lists the potential witnesses for Tuesday, and Judge Fischer informs them that if there are any other witnesses besides the ones they listed, they had to make sure that information gets to Mr. Pellicano.

And that's it. I make my way back to the parking lot behind the Criminal Courts Building and head home.

I wanted to give a shout out and mention to someone very interesting who is attending the trial and covering it on their blog, and that's John Nazarian, a successful Private Investigator. I did not see if he was at the trial today, but I do recall seeing him when I first dropped in on this trial. I hope you stop by his blog and take a look at his coverage. It's very good. Nazarian is a celebrity in his own right with many articles written about his interesting career and the well known clients who have hired him.

Huffington Post at the Pellicano Trial Coverage by Allison Hope Werner

Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily