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Ovitz Named In Pellicano Lawsuit

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Anita Busch, a former reporter with the LA Times has amended her lawsuit to include Michael Ovitz, the LA Times reported. The lawsuit, originally filed in 2004 against private investigator Anthony Pellicano, associates and a number of un-named defendants, alleges that Pellicano engaged in a systemic pattern of attempted intimidation and coercion against Busch. The lawsuit asserts that Busch came to Pellicano's attention because of the investigative journalism pieces that she was doing on the entertainment industry.

The only detail about Ovitz' possible involvement to come to light so far is his name replacing the previous John Doe 4 that had been specified in the suit. He is now included amongst the dozens of other defendants that the suit maintains were involved in "directing, organizing, commanding, employing and/or hiring individuals to engage in the unlawful and tortious conduct."

An attorney for Mr. Ovitz told the LA Times that "My client had nothing to do with this. It's unfortunate that Ms. Busch has chosen to involve him in this matter." while Ms Busch's attorney could not be reached for comment.

Pellicano was indicted in February 2006 in a federal court in Los Angeles on 110 counts of racketeering and conspiracy, wiretapping, witness tampering, identity theft and destruction of evidence. The indictment alleges that Pellicano unlawfully obtained confidential records from police sources, engaged in wiretapping and surveillance. Busch alleges in her lawsuit that he obtained her confidential records and left threatening messages for her while she was working on a story about Ovitz.

Michael Ovitz is an influential figure in the entertainment industry. Starting out at William Morris, he then left with four other agents in 1975 to form the Creative Artists Agency in 1975 which he headed up until 1995. During his tenure at CAA, he was responsible for the high profile negotiation when David Letterman left NBC for CBS and he also one of the pioneers of packaging concepts, writers, actors and directors for a motion picture. In 1995, he resigned from CAA and moved to Disney where he served as Vice President for 15 months. Friction with CEO Eisner eventually led to Ovitz' ouster and he created Artist Management Group which was not as successful as he might have hoped. Ovitz time with AMG was tempestuous, often coming into direct conflict with his old allies at CAA. Ovitz later claimed that a secret cabal, the "Gay Mafia" had conspired against him. He no longer works as an artist rep.

His connection to Pellicano is known. He retained Pellicano in 2002 to assist with the defense of several lawsuits that had been filed against his firm AMG. According to the LA Times, Pellicano was paid 75,000 dollars for his work.

To date, Ovitz has been subpoenaed to provide a sworn deposition on the matter and a former assistant U.S. attorney when asked to comment on the significance of Ovitz being named in the suit, told the LA Times that "Practically speaking, it means they are prepared to take him on and put the financial resources behind a lawsuit against a person with substantial means to defend himself."

Ovitz' attorney Ellis disagreed, telling the times that "That's pretty rampant speculation, and I fundamentally disagree with its premise," he said. "I'm certainly unaware that my client's status in this case has changed at all over the past few years." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers