‘So, What’s This About an Indictment?’

A key part of reporting on the Los Angeles U.S. attorney’s ongoing probes of big shot lawyers is the “So … I hear you’re going to be indicted? phone call.

They’ve become a rather common occurrence over the past few weeks, as federal prosecutors step up their inquiries of entertainment lawyers connected with celebrity private eye Anthony Pellicano.

When the rumor mills turn, reporters have to follow, even if it results in blindsiding lawyers who may not be involved.

While some hard questions can be couched, there’s really no way to subtly ask someone if they’re going to hauled into court.

The general reaction to such phone calls is a denial. But those denials take many forms, ranging from the high road (“That’s not true, I face no exposure?) to the low (“don’t call me again?) to the full panic (“click?).

Sometimes the necessary follow-up question (“Well, everyone’s saying you’re under investigation. Why is that??) is seen as an attack on someone’s integrity.

“I am honest,? one defensive partner countered.. “I am not a liar.?

When another partner was presented with the question, he responded with shock (but at the charge, or that we found out?). “Uh … no.? Then proceeded to go on a rant about his private investigator preferences and why he has never worked with Pellicano. Nervous much?

Of course, we get awkward questions too … most often a panicked, “You’re not going to print that, are you??

Kellie Schmitt & Justin Scheck

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