The Pellicano Trial: The Closing Argument Good Enough For Hollywood

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The Pellicano Trial: The Closing Argument Good Enough For Hollywood

Thu May 01, 2008 @ 10:29AM PST

Posted by Eriq Gardner

Pellicano Anthony Pellicano's closing argument on his own behalf has been getting criticized as amusingly bad, but if it were a product of Hollywood scriptwriting, it might be called virtuosic. It touched all the right elements that usually compel a staged jury to free the defendant of charges.

Playing the anti-hero, Pellicano called himself a "lone ranger." (Who doesn't like Westerns?)

Pellicano diluted the meaning of guilt. "If (Pellicano) was a criminal enterprise, then just about every other private investigator is a criminal enterprise, and maybe even some of these journalists out here," he said. (Who doesn't hate the media?)

Pellicano alluded to Hollywood's gravest sin — betraying one's own ethics: "(Pellicano's) job was problem-solving through the acquisition of information with the purpose of having a positive outcome. In other words, winning, that's what it was all about."

“Perhaps his business card should’ve said, ‘I deliver,’ Pellicano continued. (That's on Jack Bauer's business card too, right?)

In a grand act of hubris, Pellicano blamed FBI agents and prosecutors as the true villains: "Had they not had those seizures and enlisted a brand new FBI employee ... who knew how to find, in simple English, encrypted files, you would have never heard the contents of those conversations" Pellicano said. "These conversations were never intended to be made public." (On ABC's The Practice", they might call that "Plan B")

Finally, possibly playing his true Hollywood trump card, Pellicano made his stab for innocence by insanity. "Mr. Pellicano has instructed me not to do that, and you know when Mr. Pellicano instructs you to do something, you do it," Pellicano said. (Pure "L.A. Law.")

Unfortunately, the Pellicano jury won't deliberate on a stage set, but there's still time for more theatrics before (or after) the verdict is read.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to

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