Comedian Garry Shandling became the first celebrity to take the stand at disgraced private investigator Anthony Pellicano's wiretapping and bribery trial on Thursday.
Shandling told the Los Angeles federal court hearing Pellicano was involved in a "spin campaign" to assassinate his character during a late-1990s legal dispute between the funnyman and his ex-manager Brad Grey.
Shandling testified that he was disturbed to learn his personal records had been looked at four times in unauthorized police database searches in 1999.
Prosecutors allege Pellicano bribed a Los Angeles police sergeant to carry out these checks.
At the time, Shandling had filed a $100 million lawsuit against Grey, who is now the head of Paramount Studios, accusing him of taking too much commission from TV hit The Larry Sanders Show. The lawsuit was eventually settled for $10 million.
While looking at the background check documents, Shandling told the court, "This bothers me as much as the first time I saw this. It's a creepy feeling. It was a spiritual test to get through."
Sylvester Stallone and Chris Rock are on the list of 127 potential defense witnesses who may take the stand during Pellicano's trial.
Pellicano, who is representing himself, has pleaded not guilty to the charges, including conspiracy and police bribery, in a 111-count indictment.
The 63-year-old private investigator is alleged to have collected information on celebrities for his clients to use for threats or blackmail.
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