Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hollywood Fall Guy

Late last week the Hollywood wiretap case involving Anthony Pellicano came to an end with guilty verdicts for wiretapping, racketeering, and other charges. The good New York Times piece points out that all the potential big fish got away. Maybe this is a script with "third-act problems," but more likely it's a good version of an even more familiar noir script. Possible top targets were never indicted, including Michael S. Ovtiz, the entertainment lawyer Bert Fields, Brad Grey, current studio chief at Paramount, as well as Pellicano customers Chris Rock, Courtney Love, Alec Gores (billionaire acquisitions specialist, Freddy De Mann, Madonna's former manager, Adam D. Sender, a hedge fund manager. In the noir script, folks like this have enough clout to pressure top law enforcement folks to show quick, definitive evidence against them or lay off. In the noir framework, it's not a huge shock that the government failed "to deal any crushing blows to people in power." One legal academic is quoted as saying “If the government has no plans to go higher than Pellicano, this is a depressingly pedestrian effort that shows a lack of ambition." But with all that money getting deposed and put in the witness box, all the ambition in the world doesn't amount to much.