fame

Tinker, Taylor, Hollywood spy

The trial of Anthony Pellicano, PI to the stars, takes a curiously Canadian detour

NICHOLAS KOHLER,REBECCA ADDELMAN April 21 2008
fame

Tinker, Taylor, Hollywood spy

The trial of Anthony Pellicano, PI to the stars, takes a curiously Canadian detour

NICHOLAS KOHLER,REBECCA ADDELMAN April 21 2008

Tinker, Taylor, Hollywood spy

The trial of Anthony Pellicano, PI to the stars, takes a curiously Canadian detour

fame

NICHOLAS KOHLER

REBECCA ADDELMAN

In better days, when he was the thuggish go-to guy for Hollywood muckymucks facing legal trouble, Anthony Pellicano wore double-breasted suits as he comforted his clients, calling the women “honey,” the men “brother.” But on this day, in a Los Angeles courtroom, the private eye wore a forest-green windbreaker over a T-shirt, his pleasantries limited to interjections such as—“Objection!” Pellicano is accused of engaging in illegal spying tactics to give his clients “a tactical advantage in litigation,” says an indictment filed in U.S. District Court. The trial has dragged into its maelstrom a number of entertainment luminaries, including comedian Chris Rock, who hired Pellicano to investigate a one-time squeeze attempting to shake him down, and who testified last Friday. With Rock’s departure, many reporters covering the trial left also. They missed a curious, and curiously Canadian, detour.

The court heard that Taylor Thomson, daughter of the late Canadian media tycoon Ken Thomson, and one of the world’s wealthiest women, was in the midst of a custody dispute with her estranged boyfriend in 2002 when she asked Pellicano to probe into whether her brother, David Thomson, now the 3rd Baron Thomson of Fleet and chairman of Thomson Corp., might be providing money to Michael Kolesa, the ex-boyfriend in question.

The request, worthy of a scene from a Raymond Chandler novel, was contained in an audio recording of an April 11,2002, phone conversation between Taylor and Pellicano, played in court by prosecutors. On it, Taylor asks him to probe the backgrounds of both Kolesa and her former nanny, Pamela Miller. Taylor had fired Miller in 2002 after the high-

end nanny, who says she was concerned about Taylor’s mothering, swore an affidavit in support of Kolesa’s bid for more time with the girl. “I want you to do whatever you can to get whatever information you need to on Pamela,” Taylor tells Pellicano on tape. “I’m not gonna ask any questions,” she adds. “And the same thing with Michael... I really want you to dig back into Michael’s background because he’s holier than thou.”

Taylor paid Pellicano US$50,000 in exchange for his services. In subsequent months, prosecutors say, a Pellicano associate now also on trial ran illicit criminal history and other searches on Kolesa, Miller and on members of Miller’s family, including her elderly parents. “We found her driver’s licence information... found where her parents are,” Pellicano tells Taylor’s assistant, Jennifer Megarry, in another recording. “We need to discredit her,” he adds of Miller. (Police uncovered the audio from computer hard drives found at the Sunset Boulevard offices kept by Pellicano, who had a Nixonian zeal for recording himself.)

“Is there any way you can check to see if my brother’s done any other bank transfers ... to Michael?” Taylor asks on tape. She knows of one transfer from David’s account to Kolesa, she says, but wants to know if there were others. “It can be checked. But not easily,” he

says. “David lives near you?” he asks. “Yeah,” she says. “But David is at the office most of the time. Huh?” he says. “Yes,” she says. Later he says, “I’m your guy, I’ll do anything.” (Court heard no evidence Pellicano investigated further money transfers between the two.) “I’m gonna run,” she concludes, “I have to take [her daughter] to ballet and to riding.”

In court on Friday, at the request of prosecutors, Miller identified the voices of Taylor and Megarry. “From your involvement in the child custody dispute,” asked a prosecutor, “do you know whether Ms. Thomson’s brother David provided money to Mr. Kolesa?” Replied Miller: “He was paying for Michael’s attorneys’ fees.” Pellicano, who is representing himself, objected. “Relevance,” he demanded. In the days leading up to her appearance, Taylor’s lawyers had sought to “intervene and to limit” Miller’s testimony through a motion the court ultimately ignored. She and Miller have a history of trading legal parries, including one that led to the destruction of a diary Miller kept while Taylor’s nanny. Asked by a prosecutor if she ever worried for Taylor’s child, Miller, who clutched a quilted Chanel purse, cited nutritional concerns. “I was prohibited from giving her carbohydrates to eat because her mother wanted her to be very thin,” she said. Outside, Miller grew emotional describing the surveillance her family allegedly suffered at Pellicano’s hands. “But he’s a hired gun,” she said. Miller’s real anger is at the people who hired him. M