If the old adage about the lawyer who represents himself having a fool for a client is true, then Anthony Pellicano's cross-examination today of Garry Shandling at his own trial (Underwhelming Hollywood with Nothing of Juicy Significance Since 2002™) was like the Comedy Store main room. When asked by the court what he does for a living, Deadline Hollywood Daily reports, Shandling responded, "That's a bad sign. I'm a comedian." To which the judge responded, "Not to me you're not." (To which the entire jury snapped in unison and remarked, "Ooooooh girl.") Shandling was there in connection with a long-running feud with onetime manager Brad Grey over lost earnings from his The Larry Sanders Show deal, during which Scary Hollywood Lawyer Bert Fields, a regular subscriber to Pellicano's eavesdropping services, allegedly used the P.I. to tap Shandling's calls. From DHD's courtroom report:
The prosecutor asked Shandling if he knew Pellicano was on board working against him.
The comedian said yes — and claimed that 5 yrs earlier Brad Grey had told him that, "With Bert Fields, you get Anthony Pellicano." Shandling went on to explain that his friend, security expert Gavin De Becker, immediately recommended they do a "bug sweep of Shandlings' phones "because of 'Bert Fields' reputation' ".
Shandling alleged that "they [presumably Brad Grey and/or Bert Fields and/or Anthony Pellicano] began a spin campaign to destroy my reputation by planting stories in newspapers that amounted to character assassination. It was a spiritual test." Shandling turned to the jury and spoke about "The creep factor. It's a feeling that's hard to communicate when you read articles about yourself that aren't accurate. I put up with a lot of pain and soul-searching to get through it."
Sensing what this kind of stinging indictment might do to his reputation as the firm but fair-minded Emperor of the Paramount kingdom, Grey has already issued a response to Shandling's morning testimony:
"I am extremely saddened by Garry's recollection of events dating back more than a decade. His representation is very different than what I remember and what I know to be true. Garry and I had a long personal and professional relationship, which frankly ended when he hired David Boies, and sued me and Brillstein Grey for $100 million. His actions forced us to hire our own lawyer — Bert Fields — and our friendship was overtaken by a legal process that was directed by lawyers and which ended with an equitable settlement. Even though we haven't spoken since that time, he remains one of the most talented people I have known and I wish him only the best."
It's a sad example of the damage Hollywood success can reap on an interpersonal level: One day, you're chasing aspiring actress ass with your best friend and client as you plot his eventual conquest of the primetime TV landscape; the next, the two of you are locked in a bitter feud, and some tech-savvy surveillance whiz your lawyer only calls "The Ears" is monitoring his conversation with a Morton's hostess for anything that might poke holes in a nine-figure lawsuit.