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Studio Chief Grey Gives 2 Accounts of Pellicano Ties

April 14, 2006|Kim Christensen

In separate interviews with the FBI, Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey provided two accounts of the extent of his acquaintance with rogue Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano, the studio chief's attorneys confirmed Thursday night.

But there was nothing inconsistent about the two accounts, the lawyers said. The second interview was more expansive, they said, simply because Grey agreed to waive his attorney-client privilege and speak freely about using Pellicano to work on litigation in which he was involved.

The attorneys made the comments in response to a report in today's New York Times.

There is "nothing significant" about Grey's calling Pellicano a "colorful character" during the first interview and then more fully describing his relationship with the private investigator in the subsequent interview, said attorney Carl Moor, who reiterated that his client is only a witness in the case.

"He has been repeatedly told he is not even a subject, much less a target, of this investigation," Moor said.

Fourteen people have been charged in the widening investigation of Pellicano, who is accused of directing a racketeering enterprise that invaded the privacy of dozens of celebrities and executives.

A 110-count indictment alleges that Pellicano and others used wiretaps and illegal background checks to obtain "confidential, embarrassing or incriminating" information, typically to help attorneys and other clients gain an advantage in civil or criminal litigation.

Those who were allegedly spied on included reporters Bernard Weinraub and Anita Busch, who were working for the New York Times at the time.

Both had contentious relationships with Michael Ovitz, the former super-agent once known as "the most powerful man in Hollywood."

Quoting from FBI interview summaries in the Pellicano case, the New York Times reported today that Weinraub and Busch were among "15 to 20 people" on whom Ovitz paid Pellicano for information.

Bart Williams, one of Ovitz's lawyers, disputed those numbers Thursday night, saying his client used Pellicano through his attorneys in three lawsuits.

"If information was gathered on people other than people in litigation, that information was collected without [Ovitz's] knowledge," Williams said.

Ovitz's lawyers reiterated that he is nothing more than a witness in the case.

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