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Cussler/Anschutz Lawsuit Underway

The LA Times’ Glenn Bunting reports on the latest developments in the fight between author Clive Cussler and producer Philip Anschutz about the movie SAHARA – and whether Cussler inflated his sales figures by a great deal to secure the movie deal,which is what Anschutz alleges in a countersuit. Anschutz’s production company, Crusader Entertainment, would never have made the feature film “Sahara” if it had known that Cussler’s New York agent, Peter Lampack, had “concealed the true facts for several years,” according to the lawsuit. But Cussler’s lawyer, Bert Fields (the same lawyer who is bff with Judith Regan) shot back, “It is a typical Anschutz bullying tactic to try to intimidate a witness on the other side by suing him personally. It is disgusting and despicable.”

Testimony in the lawsuit entered its sixth day, and Cussler hasn’t been faring well under friendly questioning from Fields. When asked the name of an Academy Award-winning screenwriter whose script Cussler approved, the 75-year-old novelist said “David Hart” — combining the names of “Sahara” writers David S. Ward, who won an Oscar for “The Sting,” and James V. Hart. In another instance, Fields asked Cussler whether he got along with director Rob Bowman. “We didn’t,” Cussler responded. “I never met him…. Oh, I’m sorry…I got along with Rob Bowman… I thought you were talking about [screenwriter] Josh Friedman.” Anschutz’s lawyers have delayed cross-examination for another time, and no doubt there will be more fun developments as the trial progresses…

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