Mel Gibson finally got some good news: Amid reports that the Gibson rant recordings secretly taped by his ex-mistress Oksana Grigorieva have been tampered with, the celebrity Web site TMZ reports that the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is taking a cautious approach to the scandal. The L.A. D.A. does not plan to rush in and prematurely charge the movie star with a crime.
The threats of violence that are documented by the secret tapes triggered a domestic violence investigation by the L. A. County Sheriff’s Department. It currently is conducting witness interviews. Witnesses include her dentist, who reportedly treated her after Gibson punched her in the face, and Grigorieva’s 12-year-old son by former James Bond Timothy Dalton.
Grigorieva reportedly admitted that the damage to her teeth (which may have been limited to losing two veneers) was inflicted by Gibson. The dentist has pictures of the damage. Her son Alexander Dalton lived with his mother and Gibson and reportedly witnessed their conflict.
On Thursday, July 15th, Entertainment Tonight reported on its Web site that Grigorieva has turned over the secret recordings to detectives from the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. Meanwhile, TMZ and other sources are reporting that experts are saying that the Gibson rant tapes, which are featured on the National Enquirer ‘s Radar Online site, show signs that they were edited, likely to make Gibson appear that he confessed to hitting Grigorieva.
Radar Online has said it has not edited the tapes, but someone apparently has and it is a thoroughly professional job.
Are the Tapes Admissible in Court?
There likely will be a court battle over the admissibility of the recordings. On Good Morning America, celebrity lawyers Gloria Allred, Tiger Woods’ attorney, and Mark Geragos, the lawyer who defended Michael Jackson on child molestation charges, disagreed on whether the tapes are admissible in court.
California is a “two-party consent state,” meaning that sound recordings made secretly by one party of another party without their consent could not be used in a California court. The law requires the consent of both parties, which seemingly means that Mel Gibson would have to agree to them being entered into evidence.
However, Allred pointed out that under special circumstances, such as threats of violence, tapes could be entered into evidence without the consent of the party that did not know he was being taped. She said a tape can be introduced as evidence in cases where there is a “reasonable belief that the person is trying to obtain evidence of felony violence against the person.”
Geragos demurred, saying that the tapes are evidence that someone had committed a felony in the past and the law only applies to someone who is going to commit a felony in the future. He was referring to the tapes seemingly containing an admission that Gibson had indeed hit Oksana Grigorieva, as she has charged.
Allred stated that Geragos was wrong. In fact, Gibson on the tapes does make future threats, including murder, saying he is capable of planting his ex-girl friend in the rose garden. This would seem to indicate that the tapes would cross Geragos’ bright line of constituting a future threat and being admissible as evidence.
The lawyers moved on as to whether Mel Gibson can be prosecuted for what is on the tapes. Mark Geragos said that Oksana Grigorieva’s intent would be looked into as she seems to be entrapping Gibson. “If you listen to that tape, it almost sounds like it’s staged.”
The court, he claimed, will have to determine whether it was an actual conversation that was taped. The court will have to determine the integrity of the tapes, which could be an edited mash-up of different conversations.
Gloria Allred believes there is a sufficient evidence to support prosecuting Gibson for potential battery and child endangerment.
They then addressed the legal issues over the leaking of the tapes, which had been sealed by the Family Court at the request of Gibson. Geragos said that the L.A. County District Attorney did not need the tapes to prosecute him.
However, he made two final points: Gibson has charged Grigorieva with leaking the tapes as part of an extortion plot; and now that the tapes have been leaked and broadly disseminated by the media, it would be difficult for Gibson to receive a fair trial.
TMZ also reports that Mel Gibson’s lawyers plan to present “concrete evidence” Oksana Grigorieva was engaged in an extortion plot against their client. His attorneys have stated that they believe that Grigorieva is the source of the Gibson rant tapes and that she was paid for them. She could be in legal trouble if she did leak them as she signed a confidentiality agreement as part of her child custody settlement.
The National Enquirer is known to pay its sources, and pay them handsomely. Molly Hagerty, the masseuse who has accused Al Gore of attempted rape, has almost certainly been paid by the Enquirer, though it is doubtful whether she got the full $1-million dollar fee she initially demanded. The Enquirer at first was coy about whether she was paid, then denied it, but it was in essence only denying she was paid a seven-figure sum.
Grigorieva reportedly is incensed that a cohabitation agreement she signed with Gibson while she was pregnant has left her cut off financially. Before the gag order, Grigorieva was publicly crying poor mouth, denouncing Gibson as a terrible father in the British press and claiming he is not providing any money to her and the baby. She told the Daily Mail that Gibson hasn’t given her a penny and that she has been forced to live off of her credit cards.
Leaking the tapes via a third-party who is splitting the fee with her might be one way to get around the confidentiality agreement, hurt Mel and raise needed cash. She reportedly is preparing to go to court to get the cohabitation agreement thrown out.