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PREACH IT! Mel Gibson's silence: What does it mean?

July 12, 2010 |  6:30 pm
Mel Gibson in "The Edge of Darkness" The Tale of the Gibson Tapes continues to unfurl, and unfurl. And Mel Gibson’s reputation continues to unravel, and unravel, seemingly in direct proportion. Whether the tapes turn out to be 100% accurate or even just a little bit accurate, Gibson is nonetheless getting hosed by the media. (And that includes us.)

The question is, where is his spin machine? Well, we know where his agents are, which is nowhere, and thank you, Ari Emanuel, for that. But what about Gibson’s legal team? By this point in a celebrity meltdown story, we’ve usually heard something from the movie star’s camp, even if it’s just a short denial from a publicist or a "the whole world is a bunch of lying liars and you'll be hearing more from us"-type of statement from a lawyer.

But the only sounds coming from Camp Gibson: silence. Why? Well, the Ministry tracked down a serious criminal defense attorney to explain what might be going on behind the scenes, and it’s pretty interesting.

Oksana Grigorieva Our expert speculated that Gibson wants to hold ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva accountable for taping him without permission. Whether or not he's right, going public with that tactic may not be the best idea for Gibson’s lawyers.

"If they say that these tapes were made illegally, they’re then verifying their authenticity," says Cynthia Orr, president of the president of the National Assn. of Criminal Defense Attorneys.

Fair enough. But what about just coming out and saying you're looking into it, or don't judge me, or some other typical celebrity trope? Even that could backfire right now, Orr explains.

"Saying something like, 'We will investigate and react to this' might be seem to be piling on this woman," Orr says. "If I were making these choices, I would be quietly contacting [Grigorieva], her attorneys and the publications disseminating these recordings" and trying to resolve the issues behind the scenes.

And now we know why.

-- Leslie Gornstein

Photos: (Top) Mel Gibson as Thomas Craven in Warner Bros.' "The Edge of Darkness." (Bottom) Oksana Grigorieva at the movie's premiere on Feb. 4. Credits: Warner Bros.; Jacques Brinon / Associated Press

Related dispatches from or presented by the Ministry of Gossip:

Whoopi Goldberg: Mel Gibson is not a racist

New Mel Gibson tape to be reviewed by detectives

A second alleged Mel Gibson tape goes public -- threats included

Mel Gibson domestic violence investigation began with formal complaint from former girlfriend

PREACH IT! The Mel Gibson mess: Could it get any worse?

PREACH IT! Mel Gibson isn’t sorry, never was, end of story

Report: Mel Gibson hurls the N-word and more in rants taped by Oksana Grigorieva

Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva teams trade accusations [Poll]

PREACH IT! Mel Gibson is in the hot seat -- again

Mel Gibson's ex Oksana Grigorieva hints at breakup scandal

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