Tags: Mel Gibson | Inquiry | Under | Way

Mel Gibson Inquiry Under Way

Tuesday, 20 Jul 2010 03:32 PM

By James Hirsen

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The Left Coast Report: A Political Look at Hollywood

A Newsmax Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Mel Gibson Inquiry Under Way
2. Meryl Streep Film Upsets Family of Margaret Thatcher
3. Michael Savage Still Banned by the UK
4. FCC Ruling Could Mean Trashier Television
5. Did Roman Polanski Get Help From the Obama Administration?

1. Mel Gibson Inquiry Under Way

In the midst of a custody dispute between Mel Gibson and ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, alleged recordings of the actor that were released on the Internet have resulted in a criminal investigation for domestic violence allegations.

Central to the potential criminal case are the recordings in question and a photograph of Grigorieva, which purports to show injuries that she claims she suffered in an altercation with Gibson.

The key question being considered by the district attorney’s office is the admissibility of the evidence in a court of law. Recorded phone conversations are illegal under California law unless both parties consent. Since Grigorieva recorded Gibson without his permission, there is a presumption that the recordings are inadmissible.

However, the California penal code allows an exception for “crimes involving threats of violence.”

The judge will have to conduct a factual inquiry, much like a preliminary hearing, to determine whether the recordings can be used as evidence. Gibson’s lawyers will argue that the tapes should be tossed because they have been altered.

Bonnie Fuller, editor of HollywoodLife.com, retained forensic audio experts to examine the recordings. The experts concluded that the audio was edited, with parts of the conversation having been removed and phrases pieced together. “There are words that are edited out, there are spaces, there are gaps,” Fuller told “Good Morning America.”

As to the photo, a dentist who is familiar with Grigorieva, and had repaired her veneers, Dr. Ross Shelden, took the pictures and gave them to her lawyers.

TMZ reported the dentist said that “100 percent the photo circulating on the Internet has been altered” and additionally suggested that “the nose is not hers. The lips are not right. It's not a true and accurate picture.”

Grigorieva’s request to strip Gibson of all of his custody rights was denied by the judge in the case. This was due, in great part, to a declaration filed by Gibson’s estranged wife who said he never was abusive to her or acted in a violent way toward their seven children throughout almost 30 years of marriage.

Under the circumstances, if Gibson is charged with a crime, considering that he has no serious conviction on his record, the charge would likely be misdemeanor domestic violence.

When all of the complex proceedings are concluded, even if there were a conviction, it is probable that the outcome for Gibson would be probation and counseling.

Note: Mel Gibson is a business associate and friend. My sincere hope is that he will receive fair treatment in the media and the courts. I hope, too, that he receives the best available assistance for the personal issues with which he is dealing.


2. Meryl Streep Film Upsets Family of Margaret Thatcher

A new biopic called “Iron Lady” about the life of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has her children horrified, according to the U.K. Telegraph.

The movie, which stars Meryl Streep, depicts the legendary leader and close colleague of beloved President Ronald Reagan as a dementia sufferer who looks back at her life with sadness.

“Sir Mark and Carol [Thatcher’s children] are appalled at what they have learned about the film,” a friend of the family said. “They think it sounds like some left-wing fantasy. They feel strongly about it, but will not speak publicly for fear of giving it more publicity.”

Reportedly, the screenplay has scenes in it that show Thatcher talking to herself and unaware that her husband, Sir Denis Thatcher, has passed away.

Cameron McCracken, managing director of the production company, Pathé, claims that the movie “is the story of every person who has ever had to balance their private life with their public career.”

McCracken admits that the issue of Lady Thatcher's health will be in the movie but claims that the subject will be “treated with appropriate sensitivity.”


3. Michael Savage Still Banned by the UK

A new conservative coalition government led by Prime Minister David Cameron has decided to continue to prevent Michael Savage from entering the United Kingdom.

As a result, the successful talk-show host and multiple best-selling author remains on a list of 16 people who have been banned, which shoves him in the company of terrorists, neo-Nazis, former KKK members, and white supremacists.

The U.K. ban continues because of Savage’s political opinions and also his opposition to illegal immigration, which ironically is the policy of the new coalition government. The action has been condemned by those on all sides of the political spectrum.

U.K. Home Secretary Alan Johnson, who took the place of the previous home secretary that originally created the list, called banning Savage a “blunder” and had further announced in July 2009 that he would lift it.

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, wrote, “America still has a constitutional protection of free speech, and I have been amazed . . . to see how few people in this country are willing to stick up for that elementary principle . . . a country once famous for free speech is now hysterically and expensively sensitive to anything that could be taken as a slight.”

A column in the left-leaning U.K. newspaper, the Guardian, perhaps contained the strongest language: “The ban on Savage is so far from being a comprehensible act, so staggeringly capricious and stupid, as to defy evaluation.”

When evaluated, the action by the U.K. is a government interference with free speech using the concept of “hate speech.”

“Hate speech” refers to an Orwellian set of laws that are used to silence critics of government social policies in the name of tolerance, sensitivity, and political correctness. Through use of “hate speech laws,” governments in Europe have created an environment that attempts to police thought.

Freedom of speech is most brilliantly set forth in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But it is also in international human rights documents that the left so highly reveres. One example is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which describes the right to freedom of speech as “the right to hold opinions without interference.”

Most people the world over would agree that barring someone from entering a country, based on expression of ideas, qualifies as interference.


4. FCC Ruling Could Mean Trashier Television

Anyone remember the family hour in television programming? What’s left of it just may have been canceled out by a court.

The FCC indecency regulations were shrunk by a federal appeals court that called them “unconstitutionally vague.” This means that in the future Americans can look forward to even more sex, profanity, and family unfriendly fare on the little screen.

Broadcast television was already planning on further decimating the boundaries in the upcoming fall season with a profanity laden CBS program, “$#*! My Dad Says” and a promiscuous sex sitcom from NBC called “Friends With Benefits.”

Cable television has been successful with a flurry of programming unsuitable for families, partially because it is not under FCC jurisdiction. Even non-premium cable channels such as FX routinely air shows that push the envelope, while premium cable networks such as HBO and Showtime are specializing in lurid adult-oriented lineups.

Adding to the littered media landscape is the ever-growing Internet video programming.

The resulting mix is a formula for television execs to cave in to the competitive pressure and provide an assist to the declining culture.


5. Did Roman Polanski Get Help From the Obama Administration?

In a recent turn of events in the Roman Polanski legal drama, Swiss authorities refused to extradite the fugitive director and instead set him free. The miscarriage of justice appears to be directly related to a decision made by the Eric Holder Department of Justice (DoJ).

In an attempt by Swiss authorities to determine whether Polanski had already served his previously imposed sentence, some sealed testimony was sought by them from the DoJ. The testimony had been given by Polanski’s original California prosecutor, Roger Gunson.

The DoJ refused to give Swiss authorities the transcripts, according to a letter from Swiss officials to the U.S. Embassy. That letter was obtained by The Associated Press.

The DoJ is claiming that the Los Angeles district attorney's office approved the DoJ’s rejection of the Swiss request. However, a district attorney spokesperson, Sandi Gibbons, told The Associated Press that the Los Angeles office was “not specifically notified of the [Swiss] request” and had no idea that the DoJ had turned down the request.

Why would the Justice Department deny a reasonable request concerning a defendant who had fled the jurisdiction in order to avoid a sentence, which resulted from the defendant’s guilty plea to having had unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl?

A couple of facts point to an answer.

In September 2009, just days after he was arrested in Switzerland, Polanski hired a new attorney, Reid Weingarten, who was described by The New York Times as a well known Washington power player and “a former government lawyer who once worked in the Justice Department’s public integrity division.” The Times referred to Weingarten as one of Attorney General Holder’s “closest friends.”

The newspaper saw the recruiting of Weingarten as “a strong signal that Mr. Polanski’s legal team intends to push hard on the Washington end of the case . . . A critical step will most likely be a move to stop the extradition before U.S. authorities send the required documents to Switzerland.”

In October of 2009, attorneys for Polanski met with Justice Department officials and presented arguments against extraditing from Switzerland the then-jailed director.

According to court documents filed in Los Angeles, Polanski’s lawyers had sought help from Obama administration officials in the Justice Department, requesting that they not return the filmmaker to America.

Members of the director’s legal team met with a deputy assistant attorney general and other Justice Department officials on Oct. 2, according to an appellate court filing.

In summary, Polanski hired a lawyer who is one of Holder’s best friends, the DoJ was lobbied to help the director avoid extradition and the DoJ managed to withhold transcripts that allowed a fugitive to escape.

In thinking about the travesty, another fugitive came to mind, one who in the past also managed to escape justice.

He was in Switzerland at the time of his indictment for evading taxes, among other things. And he, too, received a helping hand from none other than Holder, who gave then-exiting President Bill Clinton a pardon recommendation for the ex-spouse of a big Democrat donor.

His name was Marc Rich.

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