Anita Busch testifies at Pellicano trial

BuschThe reporter who started it all — by being threatend via Pellicano and associates to lay off a story about Steven Seagal — took the stand this afternoon. She recounted the threat, wept under questioning by the prosecutor, then cried again under under cross-examination by Pellicano. Carla Hall in the Times:

[Busch] recounted coming out to her car on June 20, 2002, and finding a dead fish under a pan and a note saying "Stop!" By that time, she was working for the Los Angeles Times, but she had previously written unflattering stories about Ovitz for the New York Times.

"I was stunned," she described her reaction.

Nearly two months later, in August 2002, she said she was crossing the street in front of her home to get into her rental car when she saw a vehicle with no license plates bearing down on her. "I took two steps into the street and I heard a motor. There was a car coming toward me with no plates. I knew I was in trouble," she said.

She ran, barely making it into her car before two men approached the driver's side and ordered her to roll down the window, she testified. Busch said she complied, gripping the steering wheel. "I remember thinking, 'I'm going to die'," Busch said, bursting into tears on the stand. "I thought, 'This is how it ends.' " She remembered one of the men smiling darkly at her. She drove away without injury.

She also recounted problems on her phone line -- it had been tapped, the phone company told her -- and problems with her computer.

Pellicano later subjected Busch to intense cross-examination, leading her once again through the details of the story about being almost run down. ("When did you hear the motor? What color was the car?) As the investigator spoke, Busch broke down, dropping her face into her hands and crying silently.

She followed Michael Ovitz to the stand. In 2006 she accused Ovitz of trying to intimidate her.

Earlier today: Ovitz to Pellicano: 'I need you'

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