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Today in Pellicano: Michael Ovitz to take the stand

April 9, 2008 |  8:58 am

Wiretapping_trial_of_anthony_pellic More Hollywood heavies take the stand today, while FBI agents who act as escorts execute a deft minuet to make sure witnesses don't have to see one another. Carla Hall has the scoop:

Today at the Anthony Pellicano trial, Michael Ovitz, the one-time Hollywood power broker and co-founder of Creative Artists Agency, makes a long-awaited appearance on the witness stand. On what could be the day the government rests it case, prosecutors are expected to ask Ovitz about hiring Pellicano.

Prosecutors say Ovitz wanted the private eye to look into former L.A. Times reporter and freelancer Anita Busch and former New York Times reporter Bernard Weinraub.  Both the journalists and two CAA agents that Ovitz feuded with were the subject of unauthorized confidential data base searches, says the government.  Prosecutors say that Busch was followed, harassed, and wire-tapped at Pellicano's direction. Ovitz has denied he knew about any illegal tactics.    

After Ovitz leaves the stand, depending on how quickly he gets to the elevators, he could bump into his alleged adversaries, Busch and Weinraub, who are expected to testify as well.  However, the FBI agents who escort witnesses in and out of the federal courtroom are pretty good at timing. Like a psychotherapist who allows patients to enter one door and exit another to prevent unwanted encounters, an agent sometimes waits for one witness to disappear into the elevator before signaling to another agent down the hall to bring on the next witness.

We'll have updates and a full story as the day -- and the trial -- progress.

-- Veronique de Turenne

Illustration: Associated Press