Man Without Qualities


Tuesday, June 13, 2006


The Pellicano Case And The New York Times Just Keep Getting Stranger

From the New York Times:

What has not been publicly disclosed are the details of the single recording in the government's possession that it says is an illegal wiretap. According to written summaries of F.B.I. interviews seen by The New York Times, the recording concerns events that led to the divorce of a Los Angeles billionaire, Alec E. Gores, from his wife, Lisa A. Gores, in 2001.

If the government fails to crack Mr. Pellicano's passwords and turn up other direct evidence of wiretaps, that means the prosecution's star witnesses could be forced to make their painful private drama public.

Mr. Gores, principal of the private equity firm Gores Technology Group, admitted hiring Mr. Pellicano in 2000 to investigate his suspicions that his wife was cheating on him with his younger brother, Thomas T. Gores, another billionaire investor, according to summaries of F.B.I. interviews with all three family members. (A third brother, Sam Gores, runs the Paradigm talent agency.)

Mr. Pellicano installed wiretaps on both Lisa and Tom Gores's telephones, the summaries show, and confirmed Alec Gores's suspicions that the two had become inappropriately involved. Alec Gores admitted to the F.B.I. that he listened to Mr. Pellicano's wiretaps on several occasions, the summaries show. Alec Gores has not been charged, and has been assured he is only a witness in the case, said his lawyer, Louis Miller, who is also known as Skip.
So, let's see. A man (who happens to have made a billion dollars or so for himself) hires Anthony Pellicano to bug the telephones of his wife and brother - a serious and straightforward felony. He listens to the recordings. He pays Mr. Pellicano lots of money. And he has not been charged, and has been assured he is only a witness in the case?!

Boy is that weird. But there is no indication whatsoever that the New York Times thinks it's weird, or that they've asked Skip Miller or anyone else why Mr. Gores, a man who according to the Times admits that he hired and paid Mr. Pellicano to commit serious felonies, has been "assured" - apparently by the same prosecutors who have indicted Terry Christensen for allegedly doing exactly what Mr. Gores admits he did - that he is only a witness.

And if the Times doesn't find any of that worth asking about, how about this:

Why is billionaire Alec Gores relying on Skip Miller for legal advice in this case? Skip Miller is a highly competent and aggressive attorney who as late as 1994 was still claiming "white collar criminal defense" as a practice specialty. But the most recent description of Mr. Miller's practice provided by the firm he recently left to Meritas (now deleted from the web, but still available in cached form) does not even mention criminal defense as an area of Mr. Miller's practice at all:
His practice is varied and diverse and includes antitrust, securities, employment, energy, defamation/First Amendment, entertainment (motion pictures, television and music), copyright, toxic tort, civil rights, construction, real estate, inverse condemnation and other areas of the law.

Miller defended the City of Los Angeles in a series of cases arising from the operations of the LAPD including: the Rodney King civil rights action; First Amendment litigation brought by the then-Assistant Chief of Police; a dozen lawsuits brought against the Mayor, City Council members, Police Commissioners and City Attorneys arising from the LAPD's Special Investigation Section, culminating in two victories (1996 and 2000) in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; a $100 million inverse condemnation/civil rights case brought by Southern Pacific Railroad; and has handled energy litigation for private and publicly-owned utilities including the City's Department of Water and Power.

Clients from all walks regularly seek out Mr. Miller's services including artists and actors such as Rod Stewart, Elton John, Nick Nolte, Bob Dylan and a member of the Eagles, as well as domestic and foreign entertainment companies and prominent local politicians including the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. His practice also includes representing the investors who put a billion dollars into Internet incubator Indealab; winning a $7 million judgment against musician Michael Jackson in a four-month jury trial in Santa Maria; defending the City of Riverside in the nationally prominent Tyisha Miller civil rights case; prosecuting trade secret/unfair competition for the maker of 7 Jeans and on behalf of an investment bank and for a manufacturing conglomerate; and representing the Patron Tequila brand in a dispute with Seagram.

Other prominent cases handled by Miller include prevailing on behalf of a director of Executive Life Insurance Co. after a three-month trial in a multi-billion dollar claim arising from the largest insurance failure in California history; winning sexual harassment trials on behalf of the City of Pasadena and Rose Bowl and a Los Angeles City Council member and the City of Los Angeles; prevailing on behalf of the City of Anaheim in a $50 million dispute with its telecom provider; prevailing in the Ninth Circuit and in two district courts in a series of civil rights cases brought against the City of Beverly Hills and its Mayor, Chief of Police and Councilmembers; defending Beverly Hills against toxic tort claims in connection with Beverly Hills High School; and defending inverse condemnation and contractual disputes against the cities of Carson and Monterey Park.
Did the reader detect anything of a criminal defense nature in any of that? I don't think so. Maybe it's in that "other areas of law." Is that what Mr. Gores is paying for in a case in which the New York Times says he admits he hired Mr. Pellicano to commit felonies on his behalf? Is there some reason why Mr. Gores isn't looking for advice mostly to someone with more criminal defense experience - and having that special someone speak on his behalf to outfits like the New York Times? It's not as though Mr. Gores can't afford whoever he likes.

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