Silly Seagal, Reincarnated Mobster

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Silly Seagal, Reincarnated Mobster

Postby admin » Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:31 am

STEVEN SEAGAL PROFILE
by Luke Ford

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Steven Seagal was born in Lansing, Michigan 4/10/51. His mother Patrizia Seagal was a nurse. His father was a teacher. He had three sisters and one brother.

Seagal was educated at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California and at Fullerton College in Southern California.

Michael Ovitz and Warner Brothers launched Seagal's career in 1988 with a string of B-actioners.

SoCal23521@aol.com writes on alt.showbiz.gossip 12/19/97: "It is a complete wonderment that this asshole continues to get work. I guess everyone is scared of his Mafia connections."

Steven met his first wife Miyako Fujitani in Japan. Born in 1948, she owned a martial arts shop. They married in 1975, had a son and daughter before divorcing in 1987. In 1984, Seagal married Adrienne La Russa. After La Russa got an annulment, Seagal married model-actress Kelly LeBrock in 1987. They had a son and a daughter before divorcing in November 1994. Seagal next married Arissa Wolf, former nanny to the children of Steven and Kelly's. Arissa's daughter Savannah was born in September 1996.

According to a 1993 Spy magazine article by John Connolly, Seagal was married to two other women at the time that he was courting her. He had a much publicized girlfriend around 1994 who got a restraining order against him. Apparently, his bodyguards had made some threats against her when she dumped him.

7/11/02

Anita Busch greenlighted journalist John Connolly to give the following to Rush & Molloy for a gossip item in the New York Daily News 7/11/02: "Los Angeles Times writer Anita Busch has been looking into the federal indictment of reputed Mafia captain Anthony (Sonny) Ciccone on charges of extortion and threatening to kill actor Steven Seagal. After digging into the story for a couple of weeks, Busch recently discovered that someone had come to her L.A. home and smashed her car's windshield, leaving a note that said, "Stop," sources tell us. She also found a metal box on the car. Bomb-squad cops found a dead fish [and a rose] in it. While police investigate the incident and other threats she has received, Busch has resigned from the story and is in hiding, say sources."

7/12/02

From the 7/12/02 LA TIMES (written by Paul Lieberman, titled "When Life Imitates a B-Movie"): NEW YORK -- When Steven Seagal first surfaced in Hollywood, as a ponytailed 6-foot-4 martial arts expert, he offered a background story full of murk and menace. He hinted in hushed tones of having done "special favors" for the CIA. Whether anyone believed him hardly mattered-what counted was how he put over the tough-guy image in films that cast him as a lone avenger caught in ominous conspiracies.

For a decade, Julius R. Nasso produced Steven Seagal films that grossed hundreds of millions of dollars. Seagal bought the house next to Nasso's mansion on Staten Island. They were close friends. They often dressed alike, all in black.

Prosecutors say that Nasso is an associate of the Gambino crime family who plotted with a local Mafia captain how to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from Steven Seagal.

Seagal... is expected to be a key prosecution witness against [Julius R.] Nasso and reputed mob enforcers...

Nasso, even while denying any wrongdoing, wonders how Seagal could profess ignorance on [Nasso's mob ties]. Didn't he know the kind of people Nasso grew up around? Wasn't one of Nasso's brothers married to a Gambino?

[Seagal's] first wife, Miyako Fujitani, recalls him plotting out script ideas after they met in 1974, when he was 23. "He developed a story about a foreigner becoming a dojo master, then went on to the U.S.," she said.

By the time Nasso met him, Seagal had a new Hollywood wife, actress Kelly LeBrock, and a powerful booster, "superagent" Michael Ovitz. Ovitz's agency set up a demonstration so Warner Bros. executives could see Seagal flip aside a parade of attackers.

The result was his screen debut, at 37, in "Above the Law," about a former CIA operative who discovers nefarious plots in the agency. Before it hit theaters in 1988, Seagal was profiled in a Times piece that cast a skeptical eye on his vague stories of having a "CIA godfather" in Japan.

[Sonny] Ciccone "on more than one occasion" met with the intended victim [Seagal]. Seagal told authorities that one such visit was in Toronto, during the making of "Exit Wounds."

Attorneys for Nasso, who is charged with conspiracy and attempted extortion, have not heard the tapes. But they have already floated another defense: that the actor knew these people on his own. "Steven Seagal is a mob nut," criminal lawyer Barry Levin said after Nasso's arrest.

The actor's lawyers angrily accused Nasso's side of trying to smear the victim in the case. But they acknowledge that Seagal may have met organized crime figures while interviewing "various people for authenticity" for the mob movie he and Nasso worked on.

As to whether Seagal knew of Nasso's alleged underworld connections, the Seagal camp allows that Nasso at times "acted as if" he knew mob figures but "no one believed him."

Nasso became intrigued by Hollywood in 1980, when Italian director Sergio Leone came to Brooklyn to film the mob saga "Once Upon a Time in America." Nasso got a job as a translator and gofer for the director. Nasso's parents emigrated from Italy when he was 3. He spoke Italian and English.

Nasso moved to LA and met Steven Seagal. At the time, Steven was married to actress Kelly LeBrock. His agent was Michael Ovitz. Steven made his screen debut, at age 37, in Above the Law. It grossed almost three times its $7 million budget.

Julius served as an unpaid intern on Seagal's next few movies. Then the two went into business together wtih Seagal Nasso Productions.

Nasso received his first credit (associate producer) on Seagal's third movie, Marked for Death. He became executive producer of "Out for Justice," filmed in 1990 in Brooklyn.

When Spy magazine questioned Nasso's mob ties, Seagal filed a suit. He claimed false and defamatory statements, such as that he was "friends with individuals who have ties to the 'Mafia.' " Steven later dropped the suit.

Many actors have flaunted their ties with the Mob, from George Raft who grew up with the Mob in NYC, to James Caan, who got to know the Mafia researching his role as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather.

After his divorce, Seagal fell under the influence of an obscure Tibetan Buddhist sect. In 1997, a recognized Tibetan Buddhist leader named Steven a "tulku," a reincarnation "of the [17th century] treasure revealer Chungdrag Dorje."

Seagal and Nasso went their separate ways soon after.

Nasso talked to the LA Times in June, 2002 about his life and accomplishments in Hollywood. Julius had a 1991 lunch at Le Cirque with Terry Semel, then chief executive of Warner Bros.; went with Donald Trump to the 1993 opening of the studio's store in Manhattan; went with Seagal to David Letterman's show to promote "On Deadly Ground."

7/18/02

AP: [Seagal] was in Canada when four alleged mobsters visited him to make demands. Wiretapped conversations show Julius Nasso, Seagal's longtime producer, participated in demanding Seagal pay $150,000 (U.S.) to the mob for each movie he made.

Ciccone told Nasso he should be tougher with the actor, saying "you really gotta get down on him ... 'cause I know this animal, I know this beast."

Investigators have said Seagal was so shaken he paid $700,000 to the mob. That information was not included in the new filing.

7/26/02

New York Post: A MARTIAL arts student of Steven Seagal has delivered a swift kick to the embattled action star with an embarrassing affidavit describing Seagal's strange behavior. Ahnume Guerios - an ally of Seagal's former partner Julius Nasso, who is suing Seagal for $60 million - claims the star:

* Declared that the Dalai Lama told him to keep making violent action films so Seagal could reach "an audience of billions" with his Buddhist beliefs.

* Required that applicants for a job as his female assistant submit their measurements and pictures, and be no more than 20 years old. * Claimed he had been poisoned in 1994, which resulted in damage to his liver, kidney and brain that left him with "parasites and heavy metals in his blood." Seagal later sought help from a Brazilian medicine man.

* Wanted to film a martial arts musical called "Blue Bayou" that would "combine action and music, so that Seagal would be able to show his musical talent."

8/8/02

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) Action star Steven Seagal got angry with a reporter on Thursday who asked him about his tangles with the Mafia.

Seagal was openly annoyed at the questions about Nasso's lawsuit, complaining to an assistant about being asked on-camera about it. "You can start talking about my personal life in America, but everyone in Hollywood knows it's beyond stupid, beyond ludicrous," said the 51-year-old, who described the lawsuit as a "publicity stunt" to draw attention away from Nasso's arrest "with 16 other major Mafia figures."

9/4/02

From the NY Times 9/4/02: "The author of a article in Vanity Fair about the actor Steven Seagal's allegation that he was extorted by the Mafia has told the police that he was threatened at gunpoint last week in Los Angeles, the police said yesterday. The writer, Ned Zeman, is the second journalist to report being threatened [August 28] while working on an article about Mr. Seagal's allegation, which grows out of a federal investigation into charges of corruption on the Brooklyn waterfront."

9/5/02

Ned Zeman writes in the October 2002 issue of Vanity Fair: "Seagal's film career is in a death spiral thanks in part to his vile, simian behaviour toward colleagues, women, employees and reporters - not to mention his serial dissembling, his dime-store theology and his all-round vulgarism."

NY Post: The [Vanity Fair] piece raises questions about Seagal's prowess as a martial artist, recounting how stuntman Gene LeBell once choked Seagal unconscious during an aikido demonstration, and how Seagal ducked a bout with champion black belt Bob Wall, who promised to rip off his head and defecate down his neck.

"With each misstep, from 'The Glimmer Man' (1996) to 'Fire Down Below' (1997), Seagal became a bigger liability, his waistline increasing, his hairline retreating," Zeman reports. "When Warner Bros. put him on a strict diet and supplied him with a trainer, they found cookie crumbs on the fitness equipment."

Seagal is now said to be working with Danny Provenzano, great nephew of late Teamsters boss Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano.

9/6/02

New York Post: DANNY Provenzano phoned yesterday to dispute Vanity Fair's report that he's replaced Jules Nasso as Steven Seagal's producer. Provenzano is set to go on trial this month in New Jersey as a Genovese racketeer. He has also directed "This Thing of Ours," and he's been hired by producer Anthony Esposito to helm "Sinking Springs," about a motorcycle gang that deals drugs to Amish kids. "He's a very good director," Esposito says. But Provenzano told us: "I would never work with Steven Seagal ever. I don't like people who are disloyal to their friends." Seagal, according to Vanity Fair, "had been bad-mouthing [Nasso] to a federal grand jury."

9/30/02

Newsday reports that Steven Seagal has a permit to carry a gun in New York City.

11/5/02

Newsday: A defense attorney in the Gambino crime family waterfront case has indicated that actor Steven Seagal, an alleged victim of mob extortion, is a subject of a federal probe into threats against two Los Angeles newspaper reporters.

Barry Levin, who is defending businessman Vincent Nasso in the Brooklyn racketeering case on charges he shook down Seagal, made public his claim about the actor in a letter dated Oct. 31 to federal judge Frederic Block.

"The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York is aware that Steven Seagal is the subject of a criminal investigation in California concerning actual violence, threats of violence and the extortion of two newspaper reporters" who wrote unfavorable articles about the actor, Levin said in the letter.

11/6/02

I've Got Questions About Warner Bros

Why were Warner Brothers and Terry Semel in bed with a Steven Seagal and his producing partner Julius Nasso, an accused Mafia associate, for a decade?

Why was former co-head of Warners, Semel, such good buddies with Seagal and Nasso? Why does Nasso have pictures in his home of himself with Semel? Why did Semel eat out with Nasso?

Why does Terry Semel, now CEO of Yahoo, have the reputation of being someone who will do anything to make a buck?

Why did Warners give the foreign sales rights on many Seagal films to Nasso? Warners has the best foreign sales team in the business.

A studio source says: "Being in bed with someone considered by law enforcement a Mafia associate would only bother a studio if the movies aren't working. If the movies made money, the studio would not care.

"Warner Brothers is not in the business of altruism. You don't give away foreign rights, you sell them. I assume that Nasso brought in sufficient investment to co-finance the movies in exchange for foreign rights. Many action movies are financed that way because they have a large foreign upside. It was the same in the heydey of Jean Claude Van Damme. The Hollywood studio would finance based on a US distribution guarantee and the producer would have to find money for foreign."

Foreign sales rights are a great way to launder money.

An FBI agent told the LA Times that Hollywood doesn't care about dirty money. "If you find that, in general, the people who should be your witnesses are not willing to give you the sweat off their brow, then you realize that you are faced with a situation where there is a community acceptance of a set of standards that might be offensive in some areas, but not here. And we have to look at it that way, just like we look at pornography, based on community standards. Unfortunately, we have a set of standards about how to finance motion pictures in Hollywood that is incredibly lax. In the last ten years or so, we've made six or seven efforts to try to ferret our allegations of organized crime in the movie business. And we got zero support from the industry. They don't view it as a threat. It's good money to them. It's a way of life, condoned, even embraced. Nobody wants to expose it." (LA Times 6/15/82)

What is the significance of Steven Seagal's friend Danny Provenzano pleading guilty Wednesday? I hear he's only going to serve one to three years, which means he's talking. If I were Seagal, I'd be nervous.

To get rid of his partnershp with Julius Nasso, Seagal went to Provenzano but Provenzano didn't have the power. Sonny Franzese, a scary guy at 84 years, had the power. Sonny Ciccone, a threat to Seagal on behalf of Nasso, was frightened away by Sonny Franzese. When Franzese was put away in jail, Nasso and Ciccone went back to work against Seagal, according to court documents. They've owned Seagal for 15 years. For 15 years, Seagal, a big star for Terry Semel's Warners, has been in the pocket of the Mafia.

Anthony "Sonny" Ciccone, a Mafia captain who rules the Staten Island waterfront according to court documents, threatened to kill Steven Seagal as part of a multimillion-dollar extortion scheme. (LAT, 6/12/02)

This investigation of Julius Nasso isn't about Nasso and extortion. It's about the infiltration of the mob into big money industries including entertainment.

Why did Warner Brothers go out on a limb for an unknown actor (Seagal) in 1988? The answer is that Terry Semel, former co-head of Warner Bros with Bob Daly, has a close relationship with accused Mafia associate Jules Nasso. On the recent E! channel special on Steven Seagal, in 1988, Seagal said, "I have a personal relationship with Terry Semel." What was that about?

Why, in 1996, did Terry Semel and Bob Daly convince Norman Pearlstine, Time editorial director, to spike a devastating profile of Seagal for Time magazine by reporters John Connolly and Richard Zoglin?

Why Seagal break with Nasso? Because Seagal's career was on the skids. He became heavily involved in this Buddhist stuff. Danny Provenzano was telling Seagal, you don't need this guy Nasso. Come with me. Seagal and Provenzano didn't have the juice until they hooked up with Sonny Franzese, who then went to jail.

I hear that this guy Proctor was not hired directly by Steven Seagal. He was hired by somebody else, a player peripherally in the entertainment industry but widely known, and an associate of Seagal's.

Nasso is not the brightest and not Machiavellian enough to send goons after reporters.

The feds don't want to embarrass their star witness - Steven Seagal. Seagal is against Ciccone and Nasso.

Rob writes: I went directly to the fountainhead of all things Steven Seagal, http://www.stevenseagal.com, and his message board members are more concerned with their hero's expanding waistline than any of his alleged mob ties. Read and laugh!

Journalist John Connolly writes 11/6/02: Luke Ford, I was unaware of your website until this afternoon. Someone directed me to the Anita Busch articles. I'm quite impressed by your work. Very well researched and documented. Continued success. I also agree with your suggestion that the threats to Busch and Zeman originated in the [Steven] Seagal camp. I can assure you that Anita Busch was not the first reporter/journalist to ever be threatened by the "Seagal camp". My sources tell me to expect more arrests and that one of them, not an actor, will be someone very well, known in Hollywood. Stay tuned.

Luke asks: Weren't you threatened with death by the Seagal camp?

John replies 11/7/02: The only threat I received during the Spy story was from Seagal's legal Doberman, Marty Singer. When I refused to stop researching the story, they sued me to attempt to stop publication. They alleged that I had slandered Seagal by asking questions about him. A few months after they filed the suit, they were disabused of that notion and withdrew the suit. Neither Spy, nor myself made any corrections, retractions or settlement to Seagal.

The threat you mentioned happened six years ago. I had been hired by Time magazine to help Richard Zoglin write a feature on Seagal. Just prior to publication, Norman Pearlstein at the urging of Semel and Daly of Warner Bros. spiked the story. I took it to Penthouse and contemporaneous with the publication of the story I received a threat from the "Seagal Camp". Penthouse, my lawyer and myself took it very, very seriously. Without going into detail, the very same people that Seagal recently testified against were the fine folks involved in the very real threat to my life. I would think that the people involved in the threats against Busch and Zeman, might want to think about running to the authorities with their story before someone else gets there first.

LA Times Catches Up To Scoop Luke

Matt Lait and Scott Glover write in the 11/22/02 LA Times:

A man charged with threatening a Los Angeles Times reporter who was researching the relationship between Steven Seagal and an alleged Mafia associate told an informant for the FBI that Seagal was behind the threat, according to court documents.

Alexander Proctor, a 59-year-old ex-convict charged with threatening reporter Anita Busch, allegedly told the informant during secretly recorded conversations that he had been hired to carry out the threat by Anthony Pellicano, known as the private detective to the stars. [I reported most of this 11/13. I know the name of the informant, a man with ties to the Russian mob.]

According to the FBI, Proctor told the informant that Seagal had hired Pellicano to threaten the reporter. "He wanted to make it look like the Italians were putting the hit on her so it wouldn't reflect on Seagal," Proctor told the informant, according to a search warrant affidavit filed by an FBI agent assigned to the case.

On Thursday, more than a dozen FBI agents searched Pellicano's West Hollywood office. An FBI spokesman, Matt McLaughlin, said Pellicano had been arrested in connection with what appeared to be explosive materials discovered in his office during the search. He is expected to appear before a federal magistrate today, McLaughlin said. [I named Pellicano a suspect 11/13 and wrote that he had close ties to Proctor.]

One federal law enforcement source close to the case said that "at this time, other than Proctor's uncorroborated statements, there is no independent evidence that Seagal was involved in the threat made to the reporter." The source added that investigators were still assessing Proctor's credibility and possible motives.

An attorney for Seagal said his client had no involvement in the June 20 threat against the reporter, who woke up that morning and found a dead fish, a rose and a note attached to her car windshield, which had been punctured. The note was a one-word message: "Stop."

Before he was handcuffed, Pellicano declined to comment. As a celebrity sleuth with a star-studded clientele, he has cultivated a tough-guy image: He hands out paperweights to reporters saying, "Sometimes ... you just have to play hardball."

Proctor, who was being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles without bail, has pleaded not guilty in the case. His attorney, Victor Cannon, could not be reached for comment.

According to court documents, Proctor told the informant that he owed Pellicano $14,000 and agreed to intimidate Busch for $10,000. But after the job was done, Proctor said, "they" were so pleased with his work that Pellicano agreed to wipe out his remaining debt.

Proctor allegedly told the informant that he was supposed to "blow up" Busch's car as a warning so she would stop reporting on the story about Seagal. But he said it would have been too difficult to set her car ablaze, because she lived near an apartment complex. He said Busch also had a neighbor who stayed up late at night, and he was apparently afraid he would be seen.

In the end, Proctor allegedly told the informant that he bought the fish and rose and placed them on Busch's car, putting a bullet hole in the windshield and taping the cardboard sign to it.

After Busch's car was vandalized, she told authorities she thought the incident was related to her investigative work on an article about Seagal and his former producing partner, Julius Nasso, who had a bitter business fallout with the film star.

According to federal authorities, Nasso is an associate of the Gambino crime family. He was indicted earlier this year, along with other reputed mob figures, in connection with a plot to extort money from Seagal. He has pleaded not guilty.

Seagal is scheduled to testify next year as a prosecution witness at the trials of several alleged mobsters and Nasso in Brooklyn. Last month, Nasso's attorney alleged in a court document that Seagal might have been involved in the threat against Busch, and that could reflect on the actor's credibility as a witness.

Proctor's taped statements to the informant are detailed in a 21-page application for a search warrant [to search Proctor's residence].

According to the FBI, the agency's informant was facing criminal charges of his own, including mail fraud, at the time he agreed to cooperate with the investigation of Proctor.

The day after Busch's car was vandalized, the informant called the reporter, saying he knew who was responsible. He said Proctor at that time told him he had vandalized the car and was working for guys "back East" who were ruthless and wanted Busch to back off her story.

The informant then agreed to wear a concealed recording device while trying to coax out more details about the plot from Proctor.

During a July 3 meeting with the informant, Proctor reportedly said he had actually carried out the threats against Busch on behalf of Seagal, not ruthless men from back East.

According to the court documents, Proctor talked to Pellicano on several occasions. There is no indication in the documents that he ever met with Seagal.

According to prosecutors, Proctor is an ex-convict with burglary and narcotics-related convictions. He is charged with interfering with commerce by threats of violence. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

11/25/02

Jose Lambiet in the latest issue of the weekly tabloid The Star (12/3/02) has an interesting article on Steven Seagal and Julius Nasso. You won't read a lot about Seagal in the tabloids because Seagal is now regarded as a has-been.

There's a great photo of Nasso and Seagal before Nasoo bought Seagal a bunch of plastic surgery. Nasso sits in the picture with his shirt open, a hairy chest and a gold medallion hanging out. Every mobster's stereotype is in this picture.

Without plastic surgery, you could not have put Seagal on the screen. His chin was too big and his face was rough. He'd lost almost his hair before his first movie, so he needed hair transplants. He definitely had a nose job. There's also a rumor that Nasso paid for Seagal's acting lessons.

According to the 12/3/02 Star tabloid: "Famed Miami plastic surgeon Brad Herman, who has not treated Seagal, looked at the shots [printed in the Star] and confirmed: "Steven obviously had rhinoplasty surgery (a fancy term for "nose job"), a hair transplant and maybe some chin work."

"Spies in Nasso's entourage say he's the one who paid for the surgeries in 1987 to help make Seagal's face passable for moviegoers! "Nasso claims he spent at least $50,000," a source says. "And now Seagal repays him by siccing the feds at him."

11/30/02

Sharon Waxman writes in the Washington Post: Seagal, for his part, has long been relegated to the dustbin of Hollywood has-beens, making movies with small independent producers primarily for the foreign market because the studios aren't interested in working with him. Sources close to the actor, who likes to travel about town in a white stretch limo, say he sometimes seems delusional, as when he recently called his agent and demanded that former president Bill Clinton come to his office in 20 minutes.

2/8/03

Paul Lieberman writes in The Los Angeles Times: In the movies, Steven Seagal often portrays heroic cops. But when the action star found himself in a real-life Mafia dispute, he didn't turn to law enforcement -- according to federal authorities, he visited a New Jersey prison to get help from another mob family.

Seagal even paid $10,000 to a lawyer for an imprisoned mob captain, hoping the mobster would intercede with the group pressuring him for money to "see if we could settle this like businesspeople instead of like thugs," according to defense lawyers quoting from documents handed over to them late this week in the ongoing trial of seven reputed members of the Gambino crime family charged with racketeering along the New York waterfront.

Federal prosecutors say they may call Seagal as early as Monday to testify in U.S. District Court against the alleged mob crew accused of attempting to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from him, even as they pursued long-standing rackets along the Brooklyn and Staten Island docks and passed envelopes of cash up the crime family ladder to the brother of the late John Gotti.

...[D]efense attorneys said the FBI documents confirm that it's Angelo Prisco, a captain in the Genovese crime family serving a 12-year sentence for arson and conspiracy to commit racketeering -- and that Seagal also acknowledged giving Prisco's lawyer $10,000 after the visit in the spring of 2001.

John Brodie writes in the 3/03 GQ:

Steven Seagal's longtime lawyer Martin Singer says Seagal has nothing to do with Pellicano...

Anthony says he hates Seagal. "First of all, Steven Seagal is an enemy of mine and has been for seven years. I can't stand the piece of shit. He's a rat cocksucker. Nobody's going to believe that I did this for Seagal," Pellicano said, his voice bubbling to a crescendo at the perceived injustice of it all. "Number one, I didn't do it for Seagal. Number two, if I was going to intimidate somebody, I'm not gonna put a fish on their car. I'm going to be in their face like I've been all my life."

Other L.A. private investigators are troubled by Pellicano's version of events, noting that the work for Gorry Meyer & Rudd would have put him back into Seagal's orbit. In the past, Pellicano has been accused of playing one side of a case against the other. Nils Grevillius, a former Pinkerton agent and a rival investigator, interviewed the parking valets at Pellicano's office building last fall. As Grevillius states, 'I asked them, 'Say, didn't I see that actor Steven Seagal over here the other day?' And they said, 'Oh yeah, he comes here all the time.' Now, I was standing right next to Pellicano's Mercedes convertible, which has a special spot next to the valet-parking area, and they nodded to Pellicano's car when I looked at it. The night before Thanksgiving, I was talking to the security guard in the lobby, and I affected the mien of a rube and said, 'Gee, didn't I see Steven Seagal in here the other day?' And the security guard said, 'Oh yeah, yeah, he's here all the time. In fact, his private detective is upstairs. and he's the one who got in trouble.'"

But the government does not seem in any hurry to move past Pellicano and up the evidentiary chain - at least until Seagal has finished singing in the Gambino trial. According to Seagal's attorney, neither the FBI nor the LAPD has questioned his client in connection with the attacks on the journalists, nor has the FBI requested Seagal's bank or phone records. As of press time, no one has been arrested in connection with the attack on Zeman. The FBI scheduled, then postponed, a lineup.
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Re: Silly Seagal, Reincarnated Mobster

Postby admin » Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:31 am

STEVEN SEAGAL PROFILE

Image

Birth Name: Steven Seagal
Birthdate: April 10, 1952
Birthplace: Lansing, Michigan

Height: 6'4"
Occupations: Martial artist, action star, musician
Claim to Fame: Starred in Under Siege action films

Significant Other(s):
Wife: Miyako Seagal (née Fujitani); born 1948; married 1975; divorced 1987
Wife: Adrienne La Russa
Wife: Kelly LeBrock, model, actress; met in Japan; top Dior model; filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences, November 1994
Others: Arissa Wolf; born 1975; former nanny to Seagal's and Kelly LeBrock's children

Family:
Father: Stephen Seagal, math teacher
Mother: Patricizia Seagal, nurse
Sisters: Has three; one older, two younger
Son: Kentaro (aka Justice Seagal), actor, model; born 1976; mother, Miyako Fujitani
Daughter: Ayako Seagal; mother, Miyako Fujitani; born 1980
Daughter: Annaliza Seagal; born 1987; mother, Kelly LeBrock
Son: Dominic San Rocco Seagal; born June 21, 1990; mother, Kelly LeBrock
Daughter: Arissa; born July 24, 1993; mother, Kelly LeBrock
Daughter: Savannah; born September 1996; mother, Arissa Wolf

Education:
Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, California
Fullerton College, Fullerton, California
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Re: Silly Seagal, Reincarnated Mobster

Postby admin » Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:32 am

SEAGAL UNDER SIEGE
by Ned Zeman
Vanity Fair
October 2002
(Additional reporting for this article was done by John Connolly)

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It's tough separating myth from reality in Steven Seagal's world of CIA black ops, concealed Colt .45s, and a reincarnated Tibetan master. But prosecutors say Seagal got genuine death threats, courtesy of his former producer Jules Nasso, and the fading action star appears to have tangled with a top crime family.

Somewhere between the large marble panther in his foyer and the large marble lion on his front staircase, the biggest player on Staten Island pauses for quiet reflection. Lately, and pretty much ever since Jules Nasso got jammed up, he's been in a pensive mood. Fortunately, his house is all about reflectiveness. The place is 8,500 square feet of pure Zen, featuring a lagoon-style pool and a purple-and-green master bedroom with fireplace, sauna, and a spiral staircase that leads to a kind of library-in-the-sky--not to mention the ocean view, which is, as they say locally, "primo." Villa Terranova, Nasso calls the house. That's Italian for "new world."

Nasso grew up in and around the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, that famously Italian enclave, and the old neighborhood still informs much of what he does. And yet...and yet. Today, at 49, he's a long way from the streets of Bensonhurst, having parlayed a scrappy little pharmaceutical business into a big, honking career in motion pictures. With two Mercedeses in the gated driveway, there is success written all over his well-groomed diminutive personage. "The biggest people in Hollywood have been here," Nasso says. He's got the studio-mogul look down--a white-and-yellow terry-cloth beachwear ensemble, off-yellow slippers, a gold bracelet, a silver-and-gold wristwatch, a lovely assistant serving him sliced melon, then oatmeal, then noci cioccolati on gold-embossed china.

"Chi," Nasso says, stroking his marble panther. He drifts past the screening room, the 20-odd model ships (including a five-and-a-half-foot-long Lusitania), and the giant peacock mural. The walls are painted with florid images that Nasso describes as "illusional." By which he means: "Look at them one way and they're just shapes. Look closer and they've got meaning." Indeed, closer inspection reveals that one of the images is that of a large thumb, and not just any thumb, either, "Danny Aiello's thumb," Nasso elucidates, nodding. Aiello, the gifted and voluble character actor, and one of Nasso's closest friends, took a shine to the murals one night. Next thing he knew, his thumb portrait's on the wall, not far from a mural composed of female body parts, rendered by Nasso's omnipresent decorator, Jimmy DaLuise, a tattooed, thickly muscled gentleman with the body of a linebacker and the hands of an angel. "See?" says Jimmy, pointing to a particular section of the mural. "It's an ass."

It's not what is is," Nasso explains, speaking about the house in general. "It's what it gives off. It's Zen. It's chi. Like Mike Ovitz does it. It's Ovitzean."

Nasso traces both his chi and his "celebrityness" back to Hollywood's fallen Zen master. "Real gentleman, Ovitz," Nasso says. "Knows his Zen. Stand-up guy." After all, Ovitz discovered and groomed Nasso's former meal ticket, the swaggering action star Steven Seagal, whose partnership with Nasso spanned some 15 years, from 1986 until last year, and 10 films, including the hits On Deadly Ground (1994) and Under Siege 2 (1995). For years, Seagal even co-owned a large guesthouse adjacent to Villa Terranova. The two men's friendship wasn't simply about money and stardom. They shared an interest in Zen. And chi. And the Tao, as well as the Dow--i.e., they both made money.

But what of their friendship today? Where'd all the Zen go? Seagal's film career is in a death spiral, thanks in part to his vile, simian behavior toward colleagues, women, employees, and reporters--not to mention his serial dissembling, his dime-store theology, and his all-around vulgarism. That he is Hollywood's longest-running bad joke is no news flash. But the headlines that broke in June were:

MOB SAID TO HAVE THREATENED ACTOR. Courts: Steven Seagal is widely believed to be the murder target in extortion case.

As part of a 68-count extortion-and-racketeering case against 17 purported members of the Gambino crime family and associates, federal prosecutors had obtained wiretapped conversations in which Peter Gotti's fearsome number two, Anthony "Sonny" Ciccone, allegedly said that if Seagal didn't pony up millions of dollars the Gambinos were "gonna hurt him." On at least two occasions, Seagal was threatened until "petrified," Ciccone allegedly bragged. Then the kicker: on the other end of certain of the taped conversations was ...Jules Nasso, who prosecutors say was a key player behind the extortion scheme.

It got curiouser and curiouser. In June while reporting on the dispute, Los Angeles Times reporter Anita Busch found a hole smashed in her car windshield, evidently by a hammer, and a handmade sign which read, STOP. No arrests have been made, but police suspect the crime is somehow connected to the Seagal-Nasso melodrama. On the windshield of the car was a large aluminum pan, and inside the pan were two items: a rose and a dead fish.

By July the Get Shorty jokes were flying around Wilshire Boulevard, Seagal was lying low, and Nasso was an accused felon, waging a zippy P.R. campaign and insisting that he was the real victim here--that he went goombah only after Seagal extorted him. This accusation was swiftly denied by Seagal's attorneys, who emphasize that their clients stands charged with nothing. (Seagal declined V.F.'s numerous interview requests by way of his publicist, Paul Boch, who says, "We've been advised by his attorney that we're not to comment at all, any of us.")

Nevertheless, Nasso says, he's become a kind of prisoner in Villa Terranova, surrounded by security guards and Rembrandts. Actually, make that quasi-Rembrandts. "Don't say that I've got dozens of Rembrandts," he says, politely but firmly. "They're reproductions. Like on a movie set. I live on a movie set."

Trust is a big deal in Brooklyn; it's what distinguishes a stand-up guy from a lowlife. Both Nasso and Seagal trace their early development back to Brooklyn, and the fact that Seagal isn't from anywhere near there--he grew up in Michigan and California--has never really appeared to matter. From the moment they met, Nasso and Seagal seemed cut from the same cloth, right down to the fact that, despite Seagal's denials, both seemed to have had a Jewish parent--Nasso's mother and Seagal's father, who pronounced his surname the usual way: See-gul.

Seagal's biography is, like the man himself, sketchy--contradictions wrapped in half-truths shrouded in "poppycock," to use one of the action star's favorite words. Granted, veracity and candor have never exactly been the lingua franca of Hollywood actors, all of whom are 29 and just about The Work. Seagal, though, is in a class by himself. All we know for sure is that during the early 70s, when he was in his early 20s, he headed to Japan, married a woman named Miyako Fujitani (with whom he had two children), and studied aikido, the Japanese martial art. The rest is anybody's guess. At various points, Seagal has claimed to have run his own dojo, earned several black belts, and fought off heavies from Japan's notorious yakuza Mob--claims doubted by many, including Fujitani, whom he left in 1980, as he headed for Hollywood.

Nasso's heritage, by contrast, has never been in dispute--except perhaps for the time in the early 1990s when he claimed to a reporter that he and Seagal were related. (He's sure not claiming that anymore.) Little Jules was a classic Brooklyn scrapper, working his way through college at St. John's, in Queens, while climbing the ladder at Lowen's, a pharmacy not far from the Brooklyn Piers, which were lousy with mobsters who shook down the major shipping lines. (Nasso also earned a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Connecticut.) One day, according to Nasso lore, a man from one of the docked ships came in looking for medical supplies, but Nasso didn't have enough on the shelves. When his stock boys finally assembled the requisite supply, the man paid up, then peeled off an additional $300. "A service charge," he called it.

That's when Nasso got smart. He hatched a business called Universal Marine Medical Supply, whose name pretty much said it all. By the early 1980s he'd gone national, stocking ships from Maine to Texas to California. It was a living, but it wasn't...magic. Magic was for other people, especially movie people. Nasso had seen it during his first trip to California, in 1979, thanks to a very good friend from Brooklyn, Joe Baio, who happened to be related to the 70s teen idol Scott Baio. Whenever Nasso made a business trip to Los Angeles, he drank in the "celebrityness." He saw it all, rubbing elbows on the sets of Mork & Mindy and Happy Days, on which Scott played that hoodlum-with-a-heart-of-gold Chachi.

By 1983 the magic found Nasso--in, of all places, Brooklyn--courtesy of the late spaghetti-Western director Sergio Leone, who was in town making his gangland epic, Once upon a Time in America, starring Robert De Niro. Leone needed an assistant, and who better than Nasso, who spoke paesan and was, at the very least, familiar with the subject matter? At age 29 Nasso became Leone's gofer, earning $35 a day while keeping his day job. "You're a doctor?" Leone asked him, embarrassed that a pharmacist was fetching him lunch. "What are you doing here?"

"You're the master," Nasso replied.

If ever there were a little taste of Brooklyn in Beverly Hills, it would be Madeo, a chubby Italian fixture famous for its prosciutto, its veal, and an atmosphere not inhospitable to gold jewelry for men. That's where Nasso and Seagal first met, in 1986. Seagal was there with his girlfriend, the actress Kelly LeBrock, best known for her role in the 1984 Gene Wilder comedy, The Woman in Red, and for a shampoo ad in which she famously said, "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful." Their romance had begun at Hong Kong's Peninsula Hotel, where she was on a modeling assignment and he was on a mission for love, having persuaded friends that LeBrock was his "destiny." Which evidently came as something of a surprise to Seagal's wife at the time, Adrienne La Russa, whom he'd wed while technically still married to Fujitani, and who subsequently filed for an annulment.

It turns out that Nasso knew LeBrock through a friend, and pretty soon Nasso and the lovebirds were tight. A sweetheart, Nasso recalls of Seagal at the time. Stand-up guy. No booze, no drugs. Thin and fit. He wasn't yet a star, wasn't even acting. He was teaching aikido at a dojo on La Cienega but had some private clients as well. One of them, as fate would have it, was then the most powerful man in Hollywood, Michael Ovitz, who ran the vaunted Creative Artists Agency. They had met through another mutual client, actor James Coburn.

Nasso and Seagal each had a foot in the door, and soon their two feet became a pair. Nasso became the godfather of two of Seagal's children, and, increasingly, Seagal's alter ego. While Nasso put in his time as a producer-apprentice, Seagal dazzled Ovitz, who saw big things for his superintense aikido master--so much so that he arranged for Seagal to display his wares at Warner Bros. The studio executives were impressed, and it was just Seagal's and Ovitz's good fortune--their dharma, if you will--that the studio's president, Terry Semel, had devised a business model in which Warner Bros. could make a few bucks off lean, mean, Dirty Harry-type action movies. (At the time, due to Schwarzenegger-and Bruce Willis-mania, action movies were hot.) The deal memos went out. In 1988 an obscure 37-year old aikido instructor was cast as one pissed-off cop in Above the Law, which grossed a tidy $18.8 million and unleashed Steven Seagal on an international movie audience.

Nasso attached himself more or less officially as Seagal's producing partner. What he lacked in filmmaking savvy he made up for in other ways, contrary to what some in the industry were saying about him. "He's the one that kept the horse on track," says Steve Perry, who produced Under Siege 2. "To categorize Jules as just a tagalong guy that got to producer? No. Not true. There were other, bigger producers in some of their movies, but in a lot of their movies it was just Jules."

As ever, there were whispers about the duo's rather exotic origins--Nasso's in gangland, Seagal's in his own mind. Nasso, especially, had colorful connections. There was his Uncle Julius, whom federal authorities describe as having connections with the Gambino crime family, and there was his brother, whose wife's maiden name happens to be Gambino. "I've known the good, the bad, and the ugly," Nasso says. "On my block there's been a judge and a gangster." The latter would be Tommy Bilotti, who in 1985 was whacked alongside former Gambino boss Paul Castellano. "That's the way of life in Staten Island. We all do what we do, and then, when we go home at night, we're neighbors."

What? You don't believe him? See, that's the problem--the problem faced by every hardworking Bensonhurst guy who's trying to earn a decent living. Just ask Nasso's friend Danny Aiello. "If I were to swear on anyone I've met in this world of mental fuckin' midgets and physical assholes and computerized robots," Aiello says, with characteristic understatement, "this is the most stellar person I think I've met in my life.....This man is the cleanest little bastard you'll ever meet." He and Nasso are Brooklyn guys from way back, when the place was crawling with wiseguys. "Jules chose the same path as I--to be something different than those people are. But because we all grew up in the same neighborhood, some of us became FBI, some of us became cops, some of us became gangsters....[Jules] is the type of guy, I suppose, who could've fallen into the hands of the mobsters, but he never did."

As Nasso's past receded, Seagal's moved to the fore. While barnstorming Hollywood in support of 1988's Above the Law, Seagal regaled journalists (and pretty much anyone who would listen) with dark allusions to his years in Japan working with, among others, the Central Intelligence Agency. "They saw my abilities, both with martial arts and with the language," he told the Los Angeles Times. "You could say that I became an adviser to several CIA agents in the field, and through my friends in the CIA, met many powerful people and did special works and special favors."

Seagal's not-so-secret history, it must be said, was a PR masterstroke, the beauty of it being that the CIA never comments on personnel matters--if Tori Spelling claimed to be an agency assassin, no one could disprove her. So on Seagal went, self-mythologizing in the grand Hollywood tradition. "Steven had to re-invent himself to fit in," says his friend Bob DeBrino, a former New York cop and all-around Hollywood dabbler. "Hollywood's a tough place to fit in, and he did a good job, man. Coming from nothing. Whether he lied, acted, or whatever, he made it and he became a star."

The CIA story "became almost like his script, and he became very good at selling it," recalls talent manager Freddie Fields, who knew Seagal socially. "I always doubted the truth of it, but at first he was very fascinating. Whether he was bullshitting or not didn't matter, because the bullshit was kind of fascinating.....In a way, you kinda had to admire him because he had such a positive point of view on himself. And such an ego. He was going to be well past Mel Gibson. He was going to be the new McQueen. He was so sure of it that when it all happened it was amazing."

Never mind that his tales hardly sounded credible. "Not at all," says Fujitani, his first wife. "He was never in the CIA."

But, see, there's the rub. With international men of mystery, you never know. Seagal is an expert marksman, rides horses like the wind, and speaks four languages. That satellite phone he used in Under Siege came from a friend in the intelligence community, studio sources confirm. A famously quick study, Seagal once kept an executive waiting, a source recalls, while emissaries from a major auction house had him authenticate an ancient samurai sword. When the executive expressed incredulity over the actor's antiquarian skills, the emissaries said of Seagal, "Outside of the East, he's probably the world's foremost expert on these swords."

When Warner Bros. conducted an extensive background check on Seagal, it turned up no official CIA connection. And yet...and yet. The studio determined that Seagal had hung out with some shady characters--shady "in a black-ops sort of way," says one studio source.

According to martial-arts experts, contradictions inevitably arose, such as the time noted Hollywood stuntman Gene LeBell choked Seagal unconscious during an informal exhibition of aikido. "He's a good martial artist and a great actor," says LeBell today.

Then, after publicly denigrating Chuck Norris's martial-arts prowess, Seagal ran afoul of Bob Wall, a champion black belt who seriously questions Seagal's skills. "I picked up the phone and called him and said ..., 'Just you and me. Man to man. I'll come down there at midnight if necessary--I don't wanna be arrested, you don't wanna be embarrassed. Let's just see what you got.' And he goes dead silent. And then he goes, 'Well, if you come down here, I'm going to shoot you.'" When finally mano a mano, Wall says, Seagal wouldn't shake his hand. "So I stood on his little foot and I placed my face gently in his face and he said, 'If you want to fight me, come to my school.' And I said, 'No, let's do it right here and right now because I'm going to rip your head off and shit in your neck.' And his knees went out, and he started apologizing and crying and that was the end of that."

Nasso says he never really bought the whole CIA thing. But he was Seagal's right hand, and the right hand never questions what the left hand is doing. That was his credo--so long as Seagal/Nasso Productions was in clover, which it was well into the mid-1990s. By then Seagal was commanding upwards of $16 million a picture and was palatially ensconced in Mandeville Canyon, above Sunset Boulevard. He owned a ranch in Santa Inez, with a winery that bottled Cabernets.

Nasso certainly wasn't hurting financially, either, but despite appearances, Nasso claims, he earned only union-scale wages during this period, while he mulishly built up enough film credits for the Producers Guild of America to become a full producer. "Never took a penny from him," he says of Seagal. "Never took dick."

In the mid-1990s, Seagal, having attained the stardom he so fiercely craved, swiftly became a caricature of himself. Studio executives, while pleased with his grosses, grew increasingly weary of the whole spy-versus-spy thing. One executive recalls how Seagal packed heat--usually a Colt .45 and/or a Browning 9-mm. "He always wore coats that had longer backs," recalls a source, who adds that Seagal once displayed a knife made out of a material that he claimed could pass through an airport metal detector. "He always had one gun, if not more. Often he had two." A stylist who fit Seagal for a tuxedo on Oscar night says, "I had to tailor the tux around two giant guns. He said he needed 'cover' in case 'they' rushed the stage on him. Who 'they' were, I have no idea."

When a studio executive asked why he needed to carry concealed weapons, Seagal replied, "They're out to kill me." "It was the CIA, or someone in the black-ops world, who was after him. Behind Seagal's back," a source says, "we all kinda laughed about it."

Well, up to a point. By the time Under Siege 2 went to video, Seagal's box-office appeal had "plateaued." With each misstep, from The Glimmer Man (1996) to Fire Down Below (1997), Seagal became a bigger liability, his waistline increasing, his hairline retreating. When Warner Bros. put him on a strict diet and supplied him with a trainer, they found cookie crumbs on the fitness equipment. On the set of Fire Down Below, according to a source, Seagal was so overweight that the crew spent much of its time trying to find flattering camera angles--which, given the final product, seem to have been few.

In the meantime, Seagal wanted mover creative control, more substance. He had big ideas for big scripts, such as the one he wrote about AIDS, which was, as he movingly explained to studio executives, hatched by the CIA in order to eradicate blacks and gays. The studio passed.

One day an executive walked into Seagal's trailer and found Hollywood's reigning manly man...weeping. "Oh, I'm reading this script," Seagal explained, still misty. "It's the most incredible script I've ever read."

"That's fantastic," the executive said, "Who wrote it?"

Seagal didn't miss a beat. "I did," he replied.

At this point, it's probably worth noting that Seagal became a reincarnated Buddhist master. Specifically, he became a tulku, or incarnate lama--the embodiment of Chungdrag Dorje, who founded a small Tibetan monastery in the 17th century. Seagal became a tulku in 1997. Half a world away, in a remote Indian monastery, chants were chanted and horns were blown and Seagal was deemed to be Terton Rinpoche, which means "precious jewel."

Nasso says that the star's first religious dalliance came during the filming of Under Siege 2, in 1995, on a train in Colorado. On Halloween day, Nasso says, Seagal was served with divorce papers from Kelly LeBrock. "Holy shit!" he quotes Seagal as saying. Holy, indeed. Next thing you know, Nasso says, Seagal was flying in a Nigerian healer he'd seen on TV. Then more healers. Then a mysterious hippie high priestess named Mukara, whom Nasso accuses in court papers of brainwashing Seagal to the point of financial and personal ruin. As evidence, Nasso hands over several thousand dollars' worth of canceled checks, drawn on Seagal's bank account in late 1995, made out to Mukara and other lama types, with handwritten notations such as "healer" and "Buddhist stuff." These checks, he says were just the tip of the iceberg that sank Seagal. Next he unfolds a piece of yellow legalpad paper filled with pencil scribblings and arrows and the words "Spiritual Path." A concerned relative found the note in Seagal's house and spirited it out, says Nasso, who calls it proof positive of Mukara's' plan to separate Seagal from his friends and relatives. "Can't talk to children [or] Jules," says one scribbling. (V.F. was unable to locate Mukara. Martin Pollner, one of Seagal's attorneys, says, "The partnership did not dissolve because of Steven's religious beliefs." Pollner blames the dissolution on Nasso, whom he accuses of shoddy work habits and "clashes" with colleagues. For example, he says, "over the last several years, Nasso did not show up on the set"--a claim Nasso disputes.)

"It's really quite amazing," says producer Damian Lee. "The staff really treats Steven as a guru. When you go over there and you have a meeting with him, you may be sitting there and he will be served plates of fruit and meat. It's almost like obeisance and offerings. They call him Rinpoche. You're over there for a business meeting and you're not offered a cup of tea or a glass of water and you've been waiting and waiting. Rinpoche comes and he's served this and he's served that. You won't be served anything."

Seagal's religious awakening came as some surprise to the studio executives who'd laid out millions in expectation of more fetishistic screen violence. Seagal had other ideas. Out went the malevolent black outfits; in came aubergine robes and saffron-yellow satin jackets, which made their screen debut in On Deadly Ground, directed by Seagal himself. His character didn't merely save Alaska from the clutches of a land-raping oil baron (played by Michael Caine), but had a third-act peroration on the environment and spirituality that spanned 14 minutes. Alas, Warner Bros. cut it to a mere four.

But it wasn't all about renouncing the flesh and embracing the light. "He's the only Buddhist I know who can use the words 'cunt' and "Dalai Lama' in the same sentence," says a source who has worked closely with Seagal. In 1991 four female office assistants on Out for Justice quit, alleging sexual harassment by Seagal. In exchange for their silence, three of the women reportedly received financial settlements from Warner Bros.--roughly $50,000 each. Around the same time, at least four actresses claimed that Seagal had made sexual advances, typically during late-night "casting sessions." "His message was clear," said one. "Have sex with me and you get the part.'" Another actress claimed that Seagal summoned her to the Hotel Bel-Air and "started talking about spirituality and other stuff. Before I knew what was happening, he was showing me meridian and acupressure points on my body. The next thing I knew, he had taken off my blouse and was touching my breasts under my bra, showing me those 'meridian points.' When I finally was able to get him to stop, he told me I had the part."

Even uglier accusations came from other women, including one of Seagal's former housekeepers, Leah Bumgarner, who in 1995 claimed that Seagal had "sexually attacked" her four years earlier. (Bumgarner later pleaded guilty to possessing items stolen from Seagal.)

Celebrities face nuisance suits all the time, often from no-account parasites grubbing for a quickie settlement. Seagal seems to respond to accusations with his own accusations followed by shadowy recriminations against the accusers, be they private individuals or professional journalists, whom Seagal routinely calls "scumbags" and "cocksuckers." Often, Seagal's wrath comes courtesy of his attorney Martin Singer, who once took the tack of suing a journalist before his story was even written. In 1993 a reporter who contributed to this article, John Connolly, began investigating Seagal for Spy magazine. Singer filed slander and libel suits against Connolly, alleging that he had falsely stated that Seagal associated with murderers and members of organized crime and had solicited murder.

After Connolly's article was published, the suits were withdrawn. The story contained bombshell allegations by former Seagal associates, including an ex-CIA operative named Robert Strickland, who'd collaborated with Seagal on an aborted film project. In 1990, Strickland said, Seagal had opened an attache case filled with $50,000 and asked him to kill a former friend and colleague of Seagal's. The article also quoted a "top-level security consultant" who claimed that in 1991 Seagal had asked him what it would take to "whack" a certain man from Chicago. Shortly thereafter Seagal denied the charge and questioned Strickland's sanity. (Note: V.F's editor, Graydon Carter, was a co-founder of Spy, and I was one of its writers, but neither of us worked there in 1993.)

Seagal's lawyers also attack the credibility of John Connolly, accusing him of harboring a "personal vendetta" against their client. Beyond that, the attorneys declined to answer most of V.F.'s point-by-point questions, choosing instead to issue a blanket denial of all charges leveled by Jules Nasso, including his claims that Seagal "muscled" him. In a letter to V.F., the attorneys wrote, "Mr. Nasso, already disgruntled by Mr. Seagal's severance of their relationship, now appears to be a desperate man seeking to discredit Mr. Seagal by inviting the media to publish as many defamatory falsehoods as he can muster."

Naturally, Nasso says he didn't know at the time about the stories in Connolly's article. Well, O.K., so he knew about some of it. "What can I say, it was Fatal Attraction without the sex," he says of his partnership with Seagal.

By 2000, Seagal's relationship with Warner Bros. was effectively over. The studio had given him one last shot, paying him roughly $3 million to play a supporting role in Exit Wounds, an action vehicle for rapper DMX. The film performed decently, grossing about $72 million worldwide, but Warner Bros., fed up with Seagal's work habits and bad karma, walked away from its 49-year-old Frankenstein, whose per-picture fee has dropped to about $2.5 million.

Undaunted, Seagal and Nasso endeavored to finance and produce a slate of medium-budget Seagal vehicles, starting with a movie called Prince of Central Park. But shortly before production began, in 1998, Seagal backed out of the movie and was replaced by Harvey Keitel. (The movie had a limited theatrical run.) Seagal's abdication, Nasso claims, cost him credibility and caused cash deficits with the film's co-financiers, who'd invested based on Seagal's participation. Worse, Nasso says, Seagal pulled out of three other projects, forcing Seagal/Nasso Productions to cancel more than $25 million in foreign-distribution deals. Besides which, Nasso claims, Seagal still owes him $500,000 which Seagal had borrowed to pay his taxes.

Seagal's lawyers say their client never signed a contract to star in any of these projects, and Nasso hasn't provided one. But, Nasso says, Seagal unilaterally shut down their Los Angeles office, thus preventing him from accessing any and all relevant documentation. "Nasso says something like, 'Well, there should be contracts on file,'" notes one of Seagal's attorneys, Martin Perschetz. "First of all, that tells you something about the degree to which he thinks there really are. Second of all, there aren't. They don't exist.

Fair enough. But Nasso says Seagal's camp has yet to rebut persuasively the raft of noncontractual evidence suggesting Seagal's tacit participation in the slate of projects. In 1998, Seagal/Nasso's corporate president, Phillip Goldfine, announced that Seagal would star in at least two projects, most memorably the story of Genghis Khan. The company took out full-page ads, featuring Seagal's name and face, in trade publications. "I always understood and was told by Steven that he was going to star in the movies," says Steve Perry, the producer. "We had a number of other conversations, and I understood that they were going to pre-sell the foreign rights."

By 2001, Seagal was all but estranged from Nasso, who by then was wondering why he'd earned a grand total of $850,000 from all those hit movies that had made Seagal a multimillionaire. Nasso dates their final conversation to July 5, 2001. The subject, he says, was weapons. Nasso no longer wanted his or his company's name on Seagal's New York gun permit, he says, and had gone to the police about the matter. When Seagal found out, Nasso says, he called in a rage. Nasso says the conversation ended this way:

Nasso: Are you finsihed?

Seagal: Yes.

Nasso: You'll never hear from me again. Go fuck yourself.

All was relatively quiet until this past March, when Nasso hit Seagal with a $60 million breach-of-contract suit.

Three months later, on June 4, in a lightning-fast pre-dawn sweep, police in New York and New Jersey arrested 17 accused mobsters in 17 minutes, charging them with 68 counts of extortion, threats, and loan-sharking in and around the waterfront of both states. The biggest fish by far was Peter Gotti, acting head of the notorious Gambino crime family and older brother of "Dapper Don" John Gotto, who would die in a federal-prison hospital that same month. Next in line were several Gambino heavies, among them Anthony "Sonny" Ciccone, Frank "Red" Scollo, and Primo Cassarinio. One of the smallest fish, though, was the most exotic: Jules Nasso, who was awakened and arrested at Villa Terranova, and charged with "conspiracy to commit extortion" and "extortion of an individual in the film industry." Nasso was released later that day on $1.5 million bail.

The "individual" went unnamed, but everyone knew it was Seagal. In the weeks preceding Nasso's arrest, word got back to him that Seagal had been bad-mouthing him to a federal grand jury. Nasso didn't take the news lightly. About a month before Nasso's arrest, his very good friend Bill McMullen, a former unit chief of the FBI's organized-crime division, contacted a law-enforcement officer, McMullen says. McMullen, who'd previously done some security work and technical consulting for Nasso and Seagal, says he told the officer, who would later arrest Nasso, "Listen, I have this friend of mine--I'm calling as a friend--and Steven Seagal is running around saying he's extorting money from him and putting contracts out on him."

Later, McMullen says, he tried to arrange a meeting between Nasso and the FBI. "I was told that I don't know all of the story, and that Jules is using me. And I said, "Well, if you know more than I know, then fine. But as far as I know right now, I haven't seen anything that would indicate that.' I said, 'Listen, he wants to come in without an attorney and talk to you.' I called a couple more times, and I was told he'd have to go into the witness-protection program. Then I called Jules back and said, 'Jules, what the hell are they talking about here? Where is this going?' And he said, 'I don't know.'"

Nasso's news about Seagal was right, in that he had testified before a grand jury, in May. But federal prosecutors had much more evidence than Seagal's word in the hopper. They had damning wire-tapped conversations among Ciccone, Cassarinio, Nasso, and Nasso's brother Vincent. Or so they claimed. During a bail hearing, prosecutors released only short, maddeningly oblique snippets of intercepted dialogue, which did little more than allow that Goombha Chic remains alive and well and dining on Staten Island. At one point, the irascible Ciccone says, evidently about rival heavies, "I don't give a fuck who they are.....I'm gonna go threaten this dirty cocksucker and they're gonna write it on my fuckin' asshole....What are you, fuckin' kidding me?"

Nasso's immediate response, after his arrest, was simple and utilitarian. He denied everything, via one of his attorneys, a big bear of a man named Robert Hantman, whose clients include a pagan sect called the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and models who posed topless with NYPD officers. Hantman denies even that it was his client on the tapes, on which Ciccone and Nasso allegedly discuss forcing Seagal to kick back $150,000 for every film he's made. "I don't think it's Jules at all," Hantman says, referring to the excerpts. "I think that's all they have. I think that what they've played--Sonny Ciccone berating or yelling at somebody, assuming he's yelling at somebody--is not Jules." Nasso sued Seagal for breach of contract in March, then Seagal testified in May. Ergo, Hantman deduces, "Seagal was hoping to use this as a way to avoid having to defend the civil suit." If Seagal was being extorted for at least a year, Hantman wonders, "why didn't he go after them earlier? Why would he wait till after the lawsuit?"

In July more detailed transcripts floated out of the U.S. Attorney's Office. Way more detailed. On February 2, 2001, according to just one of the government's 2,200 tapes, Seagal sat down in a Brooklyn restaurant with Jules and Vincent Nasso. Before they got down to business, though, Jules decided to switch locations--to Gage & Tollner, the venerable steak house near, of all places, the U.S. Attorney's Office in downtown Brooklyn. On the way over, perhaps so they couldn't be tailed, they also all switched cars. Once ensconced in a back room, they were joined by Ciccone and Cassarinio.

The action star was "petrified" by the location switch, Ciccone recalls after the meeting was over.

"I wish we had a gun on us," Cassarinio adds. "That would have been funny."

To which Vincent Nasso replies, "It was like right out of the movies."

On February 14, in a bugged Brooklyn restaurant, Ciccone asks a guy who sounds a lot like Jules Nasso whether he has asked Seagal for the $150,000 per movie.

"And did you do it? Did you carry it out?" asks Ciccone.

"Oh, I'll take care of it. I'll take care of it," says Nasso.

"We said that day that we were gonna tell him that every movie he makes, we want $150,000."

"Right... a hundred, and I said I want to get more for you."

In this same conversation, the guy who sounds a lot like Nasso encourages Ciccone to be even more forceful than he was at Gage & Tollner. "I think the first meeting that we had was a nice initial meeting to break the ice," Nasso says. "But the next one, you gotta get...you really gotta get down on him. 'Cause I know this animal. I know this beast. You know, unless there's a fire under his ass..."

Later, Ciccone, Cassarinio, the Nasso brothers, and another Gambino associate, Richard Bondi, paid Seagal a visit in California. They'd heard that Seagal had been complaining about their alleged threat. (What they hadn't heard was that they were under surveillance.) On June 5, Cassarinio tells Ciccone, "Your name was mentioned in a bad way [by] somebody over in California....He's running scared shit."

In a later phone call that day, Cassarinio says that Seagal believes "if he doesn't come up with that thing..." Then Ciccone finishes the sentence: "...that they were gonna hurt him."

(Note, if you will, the artfully cryptic speech, devoid of names and specifics, honed and perfected during years of eavesdropping by the Feds. At one point, enraged that his minion was getting a bit too expansive, Ciccone rails at Cassarinio, "Primo, I might as well have this conversation in front of the fuckin' courthouse....What the fuck is wrong with yous guys? I don't understand yous... It's a phone. I mean what the fuck? I mean, we're on phones.")

On June 6, Ciccone says, evidently referring to Seagal, that he'd directed Vincent Nasso to "smooth this guy over." His advice: "Be careful. You know, if some of the wrong people hear this fuckin' thing--you know what I'm talking about--that's the end." A month later, when Ciccone and Jules Nasso allegedly discuss the extortion of Seagal in detail, Ciccone is not happy. He says, "The reason I sound a little upset--and I'm gonna tell you why--'cause I got word that you been all over the fuckin' block."

"Who, me?" Jules replies.

"Yes, you....Telling people that I gave you the right to sue [Seagal]. Which I did."

"You said to me, 'I'll cover you.'"

'I told you that. I didn't tell you to go out and put [it] in the fuckin' newspaper....You been going around telling people that I said to you, 'It's okay to sue [Seagal].'...Which I did. But I don't want the fuckin' world to know."

"I'm sorry."

At another point, Ciccone excoriates Nasso, allegedly for promising to kick back expected proceeds from the lawsuit to other wiseguys, from whom he'd previously received a business "favor." "I didn't get a dime for my motherfucker pocket," Ciccone rages. "I don't give a fuck who they are....I don't do charity for fuckin' nobody."

"I know you don't," Nasso replies.

Nasso now says that maybe it is him on the tapes. But he can explain that. He was seeking help, he says, for the same reason that most people do--for protection, specifically from Seagal, who he accuses of first trying to muscle him financially. That the law doesn't make exceptions for protective extortion seems, for now, incidental.

What really matters, Nasso says, is that, if anyone here is shady, it's Seagal, whose relationship with heavies dates back to the 1990s. Never mind, says Nasso, that a reported Gambino associate was a technical adviser of Under Siege, or that Jerry Ciauri, a stepson of Mafia capo Robert "Bobby Zam" Zambardi, acted in Out for Justice--that is, before being sent away for conspiracy to commit murder. Never mind even the videotaped 1993 deposition Seagal gave while defending a civil suit brought by a parking-lot attendant who claimed that the star had roughed him up during a brief scuffle. The suit was settled, though not before a visibly agitated Seagal was asked whether he'd ever solicited murder. His response? He took the Fifth.

Forget all that. By Nasso's lights, the real action started in 1996, when Seagal ran afoul of his own Sonny, 79-year-old John "Sonny" Franzese, a feared capo in the Columbo crime family, not to mention a convicted bank robber. Franzese, Nasso says, was working for a man who'd complained that Seagal was chasing his wife. "Steven was panicked," Nasso says. "He kept telling me that Sonny Franzese was going to kill him." But Franzese didn't kill Seagal. In fact, within a few years the two men were working together.

At this point, it would be easy to dismiss Nasso's story as a diversionary tactic, were it not for the fact that other sources have confirmed it. One of those sources, Danny Provenzano, knows whereof he speaks, given that he's a great nephew of Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano, the murderous Teamsters boss, who died in 1988 while serving a 20-year sentence for racketeering. In September, Danny goes on trial in New Jersey, facing his own set of racketeering charges--44 in all!--stemming from his connection to yet another crime family, the Genoveses.

In the meantime, though, Provenzano has been busy with a burgeoning film career (executive producer, Vampire Vixens from Venus, 1995). Lately he's been producing and directing a more personal work, This Thing of Ours, featuring Vincent "Big Pussy" Pastore, the ubiquitous Danny Aiello, and Provenzano himself. "I play a crook," he told his local Bergen County paper, The Record. "Can you believe it?"

In the fall of 2000, Provenzano paid a visit to his very good friend Steven Seagal on the set of Exit Wounds in Toronto. "There was a lot of talk between people of questionable merit and Steven," recalls Damian Lee, who was in town at the time. "[Seagal was saying to people], "I have a problem. Can you help me with this stuff down in New York?" Some guys were muscling him." During Provenzano's visit, according to both Nasso and Provenzano, it was determined that Seagal would no longer be in business with Nasso. He'd now be working with Provenzano and his fellow producer, who was none other than Sonny Franzese. When V.F. asked Provenzano whether he had pushed Nasso out of Seagal's life, he replied, "'Pushed out' might be a little strong. But, yes, I took over his spot."

While filming in Rochelle Park, New Jersey, Franzese, Provenzano, and Seagal dined together at the South City Grill. "Danny is a good friend," Seagal said at the time. "I'm trying to get him involved in some bigger-budget projects."

Seagal's attorneys downplay Seagal's involvement with such fine, upstanding businessmen, "I have not done an investigation of all of Steven Seagal's friendships in the past," says Martin Perschetz, then deftly turns the spotlight back on Nasso. "But I don't think that it's particularly credible for somebody in [Nasso's] position to be making these kind of allegations about the person that the government alleges is the victim of this extortion." And where is said victim? Since throwing himself a birthday party at a Los Angeles club last April, he's been spending time with his girlfriend, Arissa Wolf, a former nanny to his children. Also, he's been working on a music career and traveling in the East. Current stop, Mongolia.

And as for Nasso? "You wanna know which one of us was the brains? Seagal's making straight-to-videos in fuckin' Bulgaria," he says exaggerating for dramatic effect. "I've been making big-time movies." (That would be Narc with Ray Liotta, out this December.) Still and all, Nasso remains the prisoner of Villa Terranova out of fear, he says. "I was the one who was threatened," he says. "Why do you think I've got 24-hour security? You think it's all staged? Let's put it this way: my children are not allowed to come here. I was told to get security. I can't go to my office. Not allowed. Three weeks, I haven't been there." He waves toward the trees, the house, the ocean. "Can't see 'em, but they're there." He smiles .
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Re: Silly Seagal, Reincarnated Mobster

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Seagal and the CIA
by Robert Strickland
SPY Magazine, 1993

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Dark 68-year old businessman and former contract employee [Robert Strickland] of the CIA, is on the set of Marked For Death, starring Steven Seagal.

Strickland has known Seagal for more than a decade, since they were both in Japan, where Seagal worked in his mother-in-law's dojo (Martial arts school) and Strickland worked for the spooks. Seagal has been telling the press that he too worked for the agency - a claim neither the press nor Strickland has been able to substantiate but that certainly adds to the aura of terminal menace the Mike Ovitz protege likes to project. Perhaps, goes a common Hollywood jest of the time, Seagal has the CIA and CAA [talent agency Ovitz founded] confused.

Strickland is enjoying the ultimate accolade that Hollywood bestows on civilians - he's sitting in the star's trailer. The star is mouthing off about one Gary Goldman, an ex-mercenary with whom he was collaborating on a screenplay the previous year. The two have had a falling-out over money and screenplay credits, and Goldman, in revenge, has written a letter to the Los Angeles Times exposing Seagal's supposed intelligence background as a tissue of exploitative lies. This has made the tough guy very unhappy.

Seagal gets around to the point of the meeting, pulling out of a drawer a confidential profile of Goldman assembled by private investigators. Strickland, long aware that Seagal can be hotheaded, finds this something of an overreaction to a squabble over a screenplay. But the dossier is peanuts compared to what happens next. "I'd like you to do me a favor," says Mr. Ovitz's fair-headed boy, reaching under the table and pulling out an attache case. "I'd like you to kill Gary Goldman."

He opens the case. It contains $50,000 in cash.

All the stunned Strickland can say is, "You're crazy."

The actor merely looks frustrated. "If you won't do it," Strickland recalls him saying, "get someone who will. Pay him what you want and keep the rest."

Late 1990. The set of Out for Justice. Same principals - Seagal and Strickland. Raeanne Malone, one of four women hired by Warner Bros. to serve as Seagal's personal assistants, is in the bathroom of his trailer, brushing her teeth. Strickland watches as Seagal begins loudly calling for Malone, saying he needs her immediately. She emerges still brushing her teeth. "Gee, Raeanne," says the man of honor and protector of the weak, "You look like that when I come in your mouth."

In May 1991 all four assistants - Malone, Nicole Selinger, Christine Keever and another woman - quit because of Seagal's continuing piggery. Three of them threaten to bring sexual-harassment charges against him. Malone and another of the women, in return for a pledge of confidentiality, are paid in the vicinity of $50,000 each.

Summer 1991: A top-level security consultant, a 28-year veteran of a government intelligence agency, flies from Washington to New York at Seagal's behest. He is picked up by Seagal's limousine, driven to his home on State Island and ushered out to the pool, where, shortly thereafter, he is joined by Seagal and his business partner, Julius Nasso.

The purpose of this meeting? Seagal wants the consultant to set up Alan Richman, a writer from Gentlemen's Quarterly. Seagal doesn't like the way he came across in a story Richman wrote about him; in fact, he ha already gone on Arsenio and called Richman "a five-foot-two fat little male impersonator." (Richman is, in fact, a lean, five-foot-nine former Army captain.)

Seagal tells the consultant that Richman is gay - "a fag," in the actor's words. (Richman is actually heterosexual.) He wants Richman Richman to set up with a homosexual "to get pictures of Richman going down on the man." The pictures are to be used to destroy Richman's career.

The security consultant, incredulous, refuses. But Seagal is undaunted. Later on in the meeting he asks his guest what it would take to "whack" a certain man from Chicago. Our man asks Seagal if he means whack as in "whack dead." Replies, Seagal, referring to the man's intelligence background, "Of course, you people do that all the time."

"You're crazy," says the consultant, and once again Seagal's bid to contract a murder is refused. (The consultant later told Spy, "I don't really know whether if you agreed to hit some guy, if he'd draw up a contract for you, or if this is just his way of saying that 'anyone who crosses me might get hit.'")

Steven Seagal is a movie star, more specifically an action movie star. The public has long since stopped believing in the movie star as moral paragon, but an odd residue of affectionate respect clings to action stars, probably because they're men of brawn-over-brain, seemingly incapable of the treachery, duplicity, and calculation associated with intelligence. Action heroes, whatever their personal flaws, benefit more than other movie stars from the mythical figures they portray. Steven Seagal, the latest addition to the pantheon, is no exception.

But Seagal stands apart from his action-hero brothers. With Seagal, the gap between myth and reality makes the shortcomings of Arnie, Chuck and Sly look like kid stuff. After a six-month-long investigation, Spy has concluded that Seagal is not simply a fraud, a liar, a coward and a bully but also a onetime bigamist who on at least two occasions said he wanted to contract out a murder, who had to settle a nasty sexual harassment claim and who, not surprisingly, hired and does business with people having ties to organized crime.

Almost everything you've ever bothered to read about Steven Seagal is a lie. It is true that he has starred in five motion pictures, and it's also true that he has a black belt in aikido. Apart from those facts, there is little you can count on.

Once, for example, Seagal said on Arsenio that he had spent a lot of his youth in Brooklyn. In fact, he was born in Michigan and lived there until he was five, when his family moved to California. He later clarified he recollection, saying he had visited cousins in Brooklyn. Also, he seems to have distanced himself from his Jewish side. Mom was Irish and the family worshiped indifferently, as Catholics or Episcopalians. But Dad was Jewish, and the family pronounced its name the normal way: SEE-gul. When he and Gary Goldman were in business together, Seagal said he didn't want to call their production company Seagal/Goldman Productions "because that would sound too much like two Jews from the garment business." Shortly after that, the actor returned from an art exhibit where he had seen a painting by Chagall. The work moved him to decree that thereafter he would call himself Se-GAL. He declined to attend his father's funeral in 1990.

The actor is even trickier about his personal relationships. He told Bob Strickland that he married Miyako Fujitani because he had gone to Japan in the first place to avoid the draft, and by marrying a Japanese national he would be less likely to be sent back to the United States. (Of course, if Seagal's birthdate is April 10, 1952 - other dates have been published - his lottery number of 194 was probably high enough that he had nothing to fear from the Selective Service.) In 1991, however, Seagal told Movieline that he'd married Fujitani because she was pregnant. Fujitani denies this. In an interview with Spy, Fujitani, who has a greater facility for dates, laid down chapter and verse. "I met Steven in California in the fall of 1974," she told us. "He followed me back to Japan in October. We got married in December 1974. Our first child, Kentaro, was born on October 3, 1975."

Seagal has often bragged that he was the first and only Occidental to own and run a dojo in Japan. In fact, the dojo, which was founded by Fujitani's father, a noted aikido black belt, was owned by his mother-in-law and managed by his wife, herself a black belt. Seagal has also boasted of his courage in battling criminals. Sometimes the thugs are members of the Yakuza, the Japanese Mafia; other times, they are mere garden-variety criminals. "I jumped right in their faces," Seagal told Movieline. "I was a tenacious motherfucker, man, and I was fearless."

"It is a lie," Fujitani told Spy. "He once chased a few drunks away from the dojo but never was involved with Yakuza." She also has some insight into Seagal's distinction as the first Occidental to receive an aikido black belt. "The only reason Steven was awarded the black belt was because the judge, who was famous for his laziness, fell asleep during Steven's presentation," she says. "The judge just gave him the black belt." And while Seagal has since risen to the sixth level of black belt, martial-arts buffs scoff at his prowess because he has never competed.

"Of course, Miyako Fujitani has reason to be unhappy with Seagal. She told Spy that it was Seagal's ambition to return to America to seek his fortune in either the movies or the restaurant business, and that she scrimped and saved for years, even denying herself and her children necessities, to help pay his way home. Before he left Japan in 1980, Seagal told her, "I always do the right thing; I never will betray you." According to Fujitani, he then availed himself of her savings and hied off to America, where, without bothering to divorce her, he married Adrienne La Russa in 1984.

If Seagal has a bad memory for dates, he has a simply awful memory for wives. About a year after entering into a state of bigamy with La Russa, Seagal became interested in the actress-shampoo pitchwoman Kelly LeBrock. According to [author] Joe Hyams, Seagal saw LeBrock in the 1984 Gene Wilder vehicle Woman in Red. Hyams remembers Segal saying, "She is my destiny." Hyams was friends with LeBrock's former agent, Jerry Pam; he arranged a dinner where Seagal could meet Pam. "During dinner," Hyams recalls, "Seagal asked Pam what was the best way to get publicity. Pam told him the best way was to be seen in the company of somebody famous. Later Seagal asked if Pam could help him meet Kelly LeBrock. Pam told Seagal that Kelly was currently in Japan."

The bigamist then flew to Japan to woo the woman who would become his third wife. Within two weeks they were lovers, and within the year she was expecting his child. By this time, Adrienne La Russa had decided to file for an annulment. Seagal did not dispute her motion, and she didn't seek any financial damages or support from him. "Not only did I not ask for anything," La Russa told Spy, "but I gave him money for months afterward just to get him out of my life." She added, "I can't say very much, because I am afraid of Steven and his friends." At about the same time, Fujitani divorced Seagal, leaving him free to marry LeBrock.

It's not surprising to hear that Seagal would accept money from women when he leaves them. Before he broke into movies, it was well known that he was having financial problems. A dojo he had opened when he returned from Japan in 1980 failed; a second one was doing only moderately well. According to his friend Bob Strickland, Seagal was so desperate for cash in 1985 that he arranged for a soldier-of-fortune friend to steal LeBrock's Porsche Carrera for the insurance money.

Seagal had other sources of wealth more mysterious than insurance fraud. His pal Mark Mikita, who runs a dojo in LA, and has known Seagal since his days as a martial-arts instructor, says that on at least two occasions a flat-broke Seagal disappeared for a week and returned flush with cash. (This claim has been corroborated by Joe Hyams.) According to Mikita, Seagal once returned with a new car and a stack of $100 bills six inches high. Seagal boasted to Mikita and Hyams that he had pulled a hit for the mob to get the money.

Is any part of this bragging the truth? And if it is, is the man personally dangerous? He certainly likes to be perceived as tough. He's fond of portentous phrases like "I'm not the one who got hurt or carried away," or - endlessly - "I'm a man of honor."

Hot air? Maybe. According to several Spy sources, Seagal packs a .45 in his belt, not just loaded but cocked and chambered.

The most frequent way Seagal projects danger is by referring to his period of service for the CIA. For example, he told the Los Angeles Times that while he was in Japan, he as an adviser to several CIA agents, and through them he met "many powerful people" for whom he did "special work and favors."

Seagal undoubtedly knew some agents: perhaps it was from them that he appropriated the heroic tales he tells about himself. According to Mark Mikita, the actor specializes in taking bits of other people's experiences and claiming them as his own. On one occasion, one of Seagal's students, a former Green Beret, was talking about his time in Laos. Later Seagal told the same story to another group, only now he had become the protagonist.

Once Seagal became famous, it was essential that he maintain his mysterious facade. In early 1988 he was collaborating on a screenplay with two writers, Temmak Kramer and the aforementioned Goldman, who describes himself as "an unconventional-warfare and intelligence specialist." During a Los Angeles Times interview at the time, Seagal once again floated a vague tale of his association with the CIA. Perhaps the reporter, Patrick Goldstein, was skeptical, because Seagal took the further step of persuading Goldman to back up his tale. "I know this much," Goldman told the Times. "I've been out with Steven on several missions, and he knows how to get things done. He has a certain high level of skill that you don't just pick up reading fantasy magazines. I don't think anyone would question his capabilities." Goldman then carefully added, "I think it would be fair to say that at some point in time Uncle Sam recruited Steven Seagal because they thought he had particular talents that would prove useful on certain assignments."

The following year, Seagal and Goldman had their argument about money. This prompted Goldman to send a letter to Goldstein recanting everything he had said about Seagal's CIA background. Spy has obtained a copy of that letter, dated August 18, 1989. "Please accept this written apology for any deception, stated or implied, that I may have conveyed," Goldman wrote. "The plain truth of the matter is that Seagal was and is a gutless coward who is trying to convert the heroic deeds of those brave men into a personal history for himself."

In an interview with Spy, Goldman says he had long known that Seagal tends to tell grandiose tales about himself. Late in 1988, a former soldier of fortune and treasure hunter named Randy Widner invited Seagal, Goldman and another man to hunt for treasure off the coast of Barbados. At that time, Seagal had been telling Goldman that he'd been a U.S. Navy SEAL. Evidently this was one frogman who did not take well to water. As Goldman recalls, "Randy was driving [a Zodiac raft] in circles while Steven and I carried the gear out to him. The surf was unbelievable, really tough... He started screaming and panicking and was sure he was going to die and all that crap." Goldman says Seagal had to be helped onto the vessel. "Widner had to pull Seagal by his hair; I pushed his ass onto the boat with my shoulder." Later that evening, Goldman says, he realized that Seagal could not read a compass or a map. (Seagal describes himself as "autistic with numbers.") With that, Goldman says, he totally dismissed the notion that Seagal had ever been involved in any covert operations. In his letter to the Times reporter, Goldman wrote that Seagal "would surely die of starvation if he was given a compass and a map that led to a restaurant five miles away."

After a month after Goldman wrote a letter to Goldstein, the reporter ran into Seagal at a movie premiere and brought it up. A few days later, Goldman says, he got an angry call from Seagal that ended up "almost conciliatory," with him assuring Goldman that he'd help him in the future.

Meanwhile - as we have seen from Bob Strickland's account - the actor was asking his old friend to kill Goldman for $50,000. But it wasn't enough that Strickland dismissed the offer out of hand. For months afterward, Strickland says, Seagal repeated the request, until early the following year, when Seagal told him Goldman had left the country. (Indeed, Goldman went to the Philippines in early 1990 and did not return for two years.) The Los Angeles Police Department recently started looking into the whole affair.

Among the reasons Strickland maintained the relationship was that they had other dealings. Seagal wanted to make a movie based on Strickland's life, and in May 1990 he paid Strickland a $50,000 advance on a $250,000 payday for the rights to his life story. In December 1991 they too had a falling-out. Strickland concluded that Seagal was representing his adventures as moments from his own life. He even saw Seagal on Arsenio recounting an adventure from his heroic days with the CIA; the adventure, of course, had really been Strickland's.

The CIA man, angry in the extreme, called Seagal and demanded that the actor stop appropriating his life, and said that if he didn't, he would expose Seagal as a phony. And in fact he soon did, detailing all these accusations in a letter to Seagal's agent, CAA chief Mike Ovitz.

Why Ovitz? Because Ovitz, as is widely known in Hollywood, is Seagal's protector, mentor and presumably - from time to time - his handler.

The boilerplate story about how Seagal got started in show business is that Ovitz was one of his martial-arts students. Ovitz, according to legend, believed Seagal had stardom written all over him and prevailed upon Warner Bros. to give him a screen test, then cast him in a movie. The rest, as they say, is history.

Unfortunately, the truth is less tidy. For example, Seagal was not exactly a blank slate upon which Ovitz could project his destiny-bending vision; friends say Seagal had been trying to get into movies as far back as his time in Japan. Additionally, the claim that Ovitz was Seagal's student - repeated as recently as this May in The New Yorker - has been refuted by Seagal, who told the Los Angeles Times in 1988 that Ovitz was never his pupil, but that the two "love each other"; in the same interview, Seagal described himself as Ovitz's "guru."

Joe Hyams is also a martial-arts buff; he and his wife, Elke Sommer, often put Seagal up early in his career. Hyams has no idea how the Ovitz-Seagal connection formed, but it was clearly strong. "For whatever reason," Hyams told Spy, "Ovitz wanted Warner Bros. to give Seagal a picture. He suggested to Warners that in return for giving Seagal a picture, he would have Richard Donner, who was his client, direct the sequel to the very successful Lethal Weapon."

At the same time, someone at CAA, possibly Ovitz, arranged for Seagal to demonstrate his martial-arts skills before a group of Warner Bros. executives. Dressed in full regalia - baggy black pantaloons and white robes - Seagal put on a show that deeply impressed the executives. "It was quite miraculous," Warner Bros. president Terry Semel told the Los Angeles Times. "With just a toss of his hands, Steven would send the other guy flying. It was pretty astounding." What Mark Mikita - who participated in the demonstration - finds astounding is that none of the executives seemed to know that the whole thing was orchestrated. "I still can't believe those guys at Warners didn't know it was a rehearsed demonstration," Mikita told Spy. "It shouldn't have fooled anybody, Seagal could not toss me or anyone else in the air unless we were in on it."

According to Hyams, Warners was impressed enough to hire Andy Davis, an up-and-coming director, and spend $50,000 on a screen test for Seagal. "The test was a disaster," Hyams says. "Seagal's voice was squeaky, and he did not come across well on-screen." At that point, Hyams said, Ovitz took a most unusual step: He went back to Warners and offered them Donner for Lethal Weapon 2 for the same fee he'd gotten for the incredibly successful original. Whether the latter part of this deal went down is unknown (Donner would not return our phone calls), but Seagal got his break.

In careful studiospeak, Warners acknowledged the unusual nature of an arrangement in which a mega-agent with a premium and well-established client may have trifled with that client's advantage in order to promote a total and minimally talented unknown: "Michael has been one of Steven's major supporters," Terry Semel told the Times. "He went far beyond the role of just being Steven's agent. In fact, with the type of superstar client list Michael has, you wouldn't normally see him work so closely with a first-time actor."

What's the explanation for Seagal's extraordinarily rapid advance? Does he have powerful friends other than Ovitz? Certainly he claims to, and they tend to be invoked when he has differences with people.

A case in point: After Bob Strickland noticed that Seagal was appropriating his stories, he left dozens of messages warning him to stop. Seagal filed a harassment suit against Strickland and got an order of protection against him. In answer, Strickland filed a sworn affidavit in Burbank Superior Court. Among much else, Strickland said, "On December 11, 1991, Steven Seagal stated to me, in my attorney's presence, 'If anybody from the CIA fucks with me, they will be hurt.' He claimed he was backed by very powerful people." (Charlotte Bissell, who was present as Strickland's attorney, confirmed his statement.)

The affidavit went on to state that a mutual friend named James Berkley "called me from New York...and advised me to 'watch my ass.' He stated that my safety could be in jeopardy because Steven Seagal is backed by powerful people who have a vested financial interest in preserving his image and reputation." When interviewed by Spy, Berkley elaborated a little, saying only, "You don't fuck with people from 18th Avenue in Brooklyn."

Julius Nasso is a 40-year-old pharmacist from Staten Island and the owner of Universal Marine Supply Company, which supplies pharmaceuticals to merchants vessels. He is also Steven Seagal's partner in Steamroller Entertainment, formerly Seagal/Nasso Productions, which has its New York headquarters on the second floor of Nasso's offices on 12th Avenue in Brooklyn. It's not clear how he and Seagal became partners. In an interview with Spy, Nasso said he broke into filmmaking in 1984, when he served as an assistant to the late director Sergio Leone during the filming of Once Upon a Time in America. He said his good friend Tony Danza, the actor, was instrumental in getting him involved. Danza told Spy, "I know Nasso, but he's no friend of mine. I didn't introduce him to Seagal."

Seagal tells people Nasso is his cousin, and Nasso sort of agrees. "Our ancestors were related," Nasso told us, although he couldn't be more specific. Nasso is Italian and immigrated to the United States from Sicily when he was three. Seagal is Irish and Jewish. America is a wonderful melting pot, but this seems to stretch all limits, baffling even Seagal's mother. "I never heard of Jules until a few years ago," Pat Seagal told Spy. "I know he's not related to us."

Of course, if in fact Seagal and Julius Nasso were cousins, they might have the same uncle. In an interview in The New York Times, Nasso shows respect for his successful uncle, the one for whom he was named, the one for whom at one time or another he worked. That would be Julius Nasso, the owner of Julius Nasso Concrete Corporation. In 1985 the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York charged Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno and ten other defendants with a wide range of racketeering activities, including extorting money from construction companies to submit fraudulently rigged bids. Julius Nasso Concrete was named in a civil case for participating in the bid-rigging scheme. Employees of Julius Nasso Concrete testified for the government, and Salerno was sentenced to 100 years in prison.

Whether or not Nasso and Seagal are cousins, they are certainly close. Nasso served as Seagal's best man when he married Kelly LeBrock, and he is godfather to two of their children. Also, they are next-door neighbors. And yet, they are more than neighbors - tax records show that Nasso is the co-holder of the deed to Seagal's Staten Island home, the one with the $560,000 mortgage, which sits across from the house formerly occupied by the late Tommy Billotti, who was whacked with Gambino boss Paul Castellano in 1985.

In a deposition in a civil assault case in which Seagal is involved, Seagal stated under oath that he doesn't know how much money has has, doesn't know what he owns and doesn't know what he is paid per picture. At that point, his attorney, Martin Singer, interrupted with a clarfication: Seagal does not have an individual contract with Warner Bros.; other people are involved. In fact, the contract is with Steamroller, and the other party is Nasso. Nasso seems to have quite a bit to say about Seagal's financial affairs. For example, when Bob Strickland's business deal with Seagal soured, he was told to repay the advance, which had been drawn on Seagal's personal account, not to the actor but to Nasso.

Last December, Nasso - whose business card identifies him as a Warner Bros. producer - hosted a party aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid in New York Harbor for the foreign distributors of Seagal's recent hit, Under Siege. In his interview with Spy, Nasso said he "was active in the foreign distribution of Seagal's films." Why Warner Bros., which has the largest foreign-distribution system of any studio, would need the help of a pharmacist is anyone's guess. Warner Bros. refused to be interviewed for this story.

Nasso's own explanation to Spy for his involvement in the global distribution of Seagal's first movie, Above the Law: "Because of my experience in the drug business [i.e., the pharmaceutical-drug business], I had contacts all over the world."

Goofy though this sounds, it's pretty harmless. Far less innocent are the people with mob connections who've gone Hollywood with Seagal. One of the technical advisers on the set of Under Siege was Robert Booth Nichols, who has been identified in federal wiretaps as associating with the Gamino crime family. [See The Fine Print, Spy, July 1989]. A retired Navy captain named Joseph John who was a technical adviser on the same movie - responsible for securing use of the U.S.S. Missouri for the movie - described Seagal and Nichols as "asshole buddies"; Seagal even cast Nichols in a tiny role. Another performer in a Seagal film, Jerry Ciauri, is the stepson of a Mafia capo, Robert Zambardi, who reportedly got Seagal to give his stepson a part in Out for Justice. Seagal hired Ciauri, who has ambitions to be a movie star, to play a bookmaker. In a key scene, Seagal beats up a number of bad guys in a bar; the one varmint who never takes a punch is Ciauri. "No way Seagal was going to take a swing at Bobby Zam's kid," Spy was told. Ciauri is awaiting trial on charges of attempted murder, grand larceny and coercion.

Seagal would have made his directorial debut on a film called Man on Honor. The movie, produced by Nasso and Seagal and written by Seagal and screenwriter Jim Carabatsos, was to have begun principal shooting earlier this year but was shelved when Fox withdrew financing. That was only the latest chapter in the picture's complicated financing. Originally money had been raised by Joseph John. Having caught the movie bug, John wanted to produce Seagal's next picture. "I raised $20 million from some of my Saudi Arabian friends," John told Spy, "but at the last minute Steve pulled out of the deal. Nasso then called and told me, 'We don't need your $20-million, we're going to raise it from friends in Brooklyn.'" Their friends didn't come through; just weeks later, Nasso approached John's Saudi friends for the money. They declined. Nasso and Seagal then went to Europe to seek financing. Among the places they stopped were Switzerland and Sicily. At press time, Man of Honor was on indefinite hold.

What happened, Spy has been told, is that Seagal annoyed his investors with his arrogance and high-handedness, and by failing to keep certain promises. Apparently his friend withheld their financing for Man of Honor as a way of giving Seagal a schiaffo -- a slap in the face -- so that in the future he would remember who's who and what's what.

Meanwhile, Jerry Ciauri's acting career is going nowhere fast.

There is an outside chance that all of Seagal's posturings, from his phony CIA stories to his real association with people of distinctly murky background, are the result of nothing more than obsession - that Steven Seagal has never been even remotely involved in the profession of war or murder; that he would never follow through on a threat or even a plan to whack someone; that he associates with the murky ones simply because that's the way he gets his kicks. That, in short, Steven Seagal is one sick hombre - a violence groupie.

But what makes Seagal of heightened interest are the specific terms and circumstances of his advancement.

Seagal's ascent was and has been guided by one man. And this raises intriguing questions. Why would so shrewd an operator as Mike Ovitz, at the height of his Hollywood power, undertake to promote Seagal's career so visibly? Some private motivation? Did Professor Ovitz see Seagal as a kind of action-movie Eliza Doolittle? Or did other considerations balance out the obvious limitations of Seagal's talent? Was Ovitz aware of his protege's background and provenance at the outset? If not, why would he not distance himself from Seagal once they become more apparent? These are just some of the questions Spy hopes to have answered in the very near future.
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Re: Silly Seagal, Reincarnated Mobster

Postby admin » Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:33 am

WHEN LIFE IMITATES A B-MOVIE
by Paul Lieberman
L.A. Times
Jul 12, 2002
(Copyright, The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times 2002 All rights reserved)

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When Life Imitates a B-Movie; Steven Seagal's ex- partner, accused of plotting with mob figures to extort money from the star, calls their saga a 'magic carpet ride.'

When Steven Seagal first surfaced in Hollywood, as a ponytailed 6- foot-4 martial arts expert, he offered a background story full of murk and menace. He hinted in hushed tones of having done "special favors" for the CIA. Whether anyone believed him hardly mattered-- what counted was how he put over the tough-guy image in films that cast him as a lone avenger caught in ominous conspiracies.

Julius R. Nasso showed up in town as a wannabe of a different sort. He presented himself as the poor immigrant from Brooklyn who started a pharmaceutical business with $500 saved from a clerk's job- -in a church. Then he set out, like so many others, to make movies. And for him, it happened.

During a partnership that lasted more than a decade, Seagal starred in films that grossed hundreds of millions of dollars, and Nasso helped produce them. They were close, almost like brothers. Seagal bought the house next to Nasso's mansion on Staten Island and they often dressed alike, all in black, just in different sizes. Nasso was a foot shorter than the imposing actor.

Nasso also was the easy one to deal with. Like many performers, Seagal could be self-centered and moody--"a stubborn, maniacal idiot," as he once described himself. But it was hard to find anyone who didn't like Nasso. "I would go in," he said, "and clean up the mess."

Yet it was worth it, he insisted. Every minute with Seagal.

"I went on the magic carpet ride with him," Nasso explained.

He says that even as the magic carpet threatens to land him in prison.

Nasso is free on $1.5-million bail, preparing his defense against a federal indictment that depicts him as an associate of the Gambino crime family, ruled in recent years by John Gotti and his kin. Last month, prosecutors revealed that a microphone planted to get evidence of mob influence over New York-area docks had picked up a meeting in a restaurant between the 49-year-old Nasso and a local Mafia captain.

Their alleged topic of conversation? A scheme to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from "an individual in the film industry" who was not named but whose identity was no secret: the don't-mess- with-me actor who broke noses and bones on screen.

Only a few snippets of dialogue have been released, but one has Nasso saying to the mob capo, "Tell me what I have to do and I'll do it."

It seemed like a plot turn out of the thrillers that earned Seagal and Nasso their stripes--and another chapter in the long history of mutual fascination between tough-guy actors and their real-world counterparts.

Seagal, who is expected to be a key prosecution witness against Nasso and reputed mob enforcers, is talking only through his lawyers- -who insist he had no knowledge that his partner might have had such friends.

Nasso, even while denying any wrongdoing, wonders how Seagal could profess ignorance on that point. Didn't he know the kind of people Nasso grew up around? Wasn't one of Nasso's brothers married to a Gambino?

"How could he not know?" Nasso asked.

So Nasso sat down recently to fill in what Hollywood calls the "back story" to a relationship he uses a film analogy to explain.

"It was like 'Fatal Attraction,' " Nasso said, "without the sex."

Where Did They Meet?

What attracted him first was Hollywood. He noticed right away how "anyone could walk around and say, 'I'm a producer.' " He sensed that to become a real player, "you have to do your time." He saw Seagal as his way to do it.

Nasso has often said he met Seagal in Japan, while on business for Universal Marine Medical Supplies, his Brooklyn-based company that sells pharmaceuticals and health gear to cruise lines and merchant ships. Nasso said he needed a translator and looked up Seagal, who was fluent in the language: He'd been married to a Japanese woman and had run a martial arts studio in Japan.

Nasso sometimes told people he and Seagal were distant cousins. They're not, and the whole Japan story is "puffery," Nasso now acknowledges.

He now says they met in Los Angeles in early 1987.

Nasso had been bitten by the show biz bug seven years earlier, when Italian director Sergio Leone came to Brooklyn to film the mob saga "Once Upon a Time in America." Actor Danny Aiello, who was in it, said that Nasso caught on as a translator and gofer for the director. Nasso, whose parents emigrated from Italy when he was 3, spoke Italian and English with equal ease.

After that, when Nasso came to L.A. on business, he would look up actors from his old Brooklyn neighborhood.

One was Jimmy Baio, who had gotten his break in the spoof sitcom "Soap."

Baio said Nasso was wide-eyed around anyone on TV and in the movies, and jumped at the chance to attend sitcom tapings.

Baio said he brought Nasso to a party where Seagal was a guest, and the two hit it off.

In later years, Nasso led friends to believe he "created" the star-to-be, molding everything from Seagal's squint-eyed stare to his pulled-back hairstyle.

In reality, Seagal had long-standing Hollywood dreams of his own. His first wife, Miyako Fujitani, recalls him plotting out script ideas after they met in 1974, when he was 23. "He developed a story about a foreigner becoming a dojo master, then went on to the U.S.," she said.

By the time Nasso met him, Seagal had a new Hollywood wife, actress Kelly LeBrock, and a powerful booster, "superagent" Michael Ovitz. Ovitz's agency set up a demonstration so Warner Bros. executives could see Seagal flip aside a parade of attackers. The result was his screen debut, at 37, in "Above the Law," about a former CIA operative who discovers nefarious plots in the agency.

Before it hit theaters in 1988, Seagal was profiled in a Times piece that cast a skeptical eye on his vague stories of having a "CIA godfather" in Japan. But it also found the gun-enthusiast actor a plausible rival to such reigning action kings as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, and he was: "Above the Law" brought in 2 1/2 times its $7.5-million budget.

Nasso describes himself as basically an unpaid intern on Seagal's first movies, learning what he could with one goal: "recognition."

One thing he was able to do for Seagal, friends say, was set up a dinner with Leone during a promotional trip to Italy. Nasso also invited the actor to spend time at his waterfront house, "the most beautiful home in Staten Island," Baio said. One room was filled with glass-enclosed models of the Titanic and other ships.

"He did want to impress Steven, and it worked," Baio said.

When Seagal decided to form his own production company, it became Seagal Nasso Productions.

Nasso got his first credit on Seagal's third movie, "Marked for Death," as an associate producer. He moved up to executive producer on "Out for Justice," which was filmed in 1990 on his old turf, Brooklyn.

Nasso was ready for his recognition. A New York public relations man pitched him as "a Horatio Alger character."

Three newspapers did profiles tracing his rise from humble roots, one account saying he had two doctorates, apparently not realizing that Nasso proudly counts a 1979 testimonial dinner at Fordham University as the equivalent of an honorary degree and bases his other on a membership certificate from the Connecticut Pharmaceutical Assn.

Another profile mentioned that his early jobs included pouring concrete for an "influential uncle," with no mention of how the elder Nasso's name had come up at a 1980s mob trial. According to testimony, the uncle attended a meeting with the then-head of the Gambino crime family to discuss the contract to pour concrete for the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

Later, when Spy magazine questioned such ties, Seagal filed a suit--eventually dropped--claiming false and defamatory statements, one being that he was "friends with individuals who have ties to the 'Mafia.' "

If Seagal wanted to distance himself from such associations, other actors have flaunted their hobnobbing, from early screen hoodlum George Raft, who grew up alongside the real thing in New York, to James Caan, Sonny Corleone in "The Godfather," who traced his friendships with mob luminaries to "research" for his films.

"Am I rubbing their elbows or are they rubbing mine?" asked Salvatore "Bill" Bonanno, the 69-year-old son of the late mob boss Joe Bonanno, one of many onetime wise guys who have gotten acting work.

One of his gigs: a bit part in Seagal and Nasso's "Out for Justice."

In 1992, after Seagal scored his biggest hit with "Under Siege," he and Nasso planned a mob-themed picture, "Man of Honor," about the son of a Mafia kingpin who becomes bodyguard for a beautiful informant. But their backer, a Saudi prince, stopped funding. In litigation with the prince, Seagal and Nasso presented themselves as unsophisticated about the business.

"I'm an artist," Seagal said in a deposition, adding that when the prince asked to fund the movie, "I said, 'Great. Talk to Jules.' "

View From the Studio

But studio veterans who worked with Nasso viewed him more as a talent manager--and benefactor--for Seagal than as a typical producer. Nasso later said he loaned Seagal $3.2 million over the years.

"Jules was giving him money out of his own pocket. He treated [Seagal] like he treated his own son," said Aiello, who became friends with Nasso. If Nasso sensed that Seagal was upset, he would fly to California "on a moment's notice," Aiello said.

Nasso said he believed he was assisting "the next John Wayne."

But the magic carpet began to turn downward about the time Seagal made his directing debut in 1994's "On Deadly Ground," in which he battled a corrupt oil company. While the film opened atop the box office chart, critics chided Seagal for becoming preachy, giving himself a 10-minute save-the-environment speech.

Later that year, filming of "Under Siege 2" was marred by clashes between the star and production personnel.

Nasso said Seagal became depressed on that shoot and started gaining weight after he was served with divorce papers by LeBrock, with whom he'd had three children.

In a lawsuit over the eventual breakup of their partnership, Nasso complained that Seagal soon came under "the active interference of a Buddhist spiritual advisor known as Mukara [and] a clandestine and unorthodox Tibetan sect," some of whose adherents camped in tents at Seagal's Los Angeles home.

Although a lawyer for Seagal called the allegation "absurd," the actor's religious life drew headlines in 1997, when a well- recognized Tibetan Buddhist leader named him a "tulku," a reincarnation "of the [17th century] treasure revealer Chungdrag Dorje."

Seagal heard the jokes. "They think the lamas are taking bribes," he said during a Buddhist retreat in Colorado. "Well, lamas don't have TVs and they don't know what a movie star is ... and they have said there is no doubt that I am tulku."

That year, Warner Bros. ended its exclusive production deal with Seagal and Nasso, with a studio executive saying, "This guy has been on a downhill run."

According to Nasso's subsequent suit, that provided the opening for him and Seagal to "develop, produce and market" projects on their own. He said he bought scripts and went overseas to sell $25.3 million in foreign rights to four films, "all of which stated that he [Seagal] was to be the star."

But only one was made: "Prince of Central Park," with Nasso's 13- year-old son playing an abused child who flees to the park. Harvey Keitel ended up playing the gnome who befriends him after Seagal "refused to appear," Nasso complained.

Seagal's lawyers say there was no "enforceable contract" requiring him to act in those films. New York attorney Martin L. Perschetz said there also were "solid business reasons" for Seagal to move away from his partner. Nasso had proved to be "unproductive and unprofessional ... like showing up late on the set" and was "rude and boisterous toward other people," another Seagal spokesman said.

Seagal may simply have had better offers.

Although he was nearing 50, getting on for an action hero, Warner Bros. gave him a comeback shot in "Exit Wounds," with rapper DMX. Seagal was slimmed down, and without his ponytail, for the filming in Toronto in August 2000.

Soon after, Daily Variety ran a short item reporting that Nasso was "moving away from action pics to softer fare" and forming his own company in New York. Seagal closed their L.A. office.

Federal prosecutors said that's about when the mob began conspiring to extort "a figure in the motion picture industry."

Conversation Taped

After a team of FBI agents arrived at Nasso's front door with handcuffs, at 6 a.m. on June 4, attorneys for the producer offered their own explanation of the charges: retaliation by Seagal.

In March, Nasso had filed his suit seeking $60 million in damages for the actor's failure to do the four films. "Do you think it's a coincidence that this happens after that?" asked Nasso's civil lawyer, Robert J. Hantman.

But federal prosecutors said it was coincidence--almost a fluke, in fact, that they uncovered the plot against Seagal.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Andrew Genser said a three-year investigation had targeted mob influence at the waterfront all the way up to the latest leader of the Gambino crime family, Peter Gotti, brother of the late "Dapper Don." The indictment named 17 higher-ups, soldiers and associates of the family, including members of the strong-arm crew run by Anthony "Sonny" Ciccone, a 67-year- old mob captain who allegedly called the shots at the dockworkers' union.

FBI agents monitored the phones of Ciccone's men and planted three bugs at tables at Brioso Ristorante in Staten Island, one of which recorded a man identified as Nasso speaking with the capo last year.

In a summary submitted at a bail hearing in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, prosecutors said Ciccone plotted to use the mob's muscle "to pressure the [film figure] to either pay money or include J. Nasso in the individual's film projects." He also told Nasso to "demand that the victim pay Ciccone $150,000 for each film the individual made," the document said.

Genser, the prosecutor, said in court that Ciccone was caught "admitting on tape that he's been threatening to kill this individual."

Court papers make no mention of Seagal paying extortion money, but say Ciccone "on more than one occasion" met with the intended victim.

Seagal told authorities that one such visit was in Toronto, during the making of "Exit Wounds."

Attorneys for Nasso, who is charged with conspiracy and attempted extortion, have not heard the tapes. But they have already floated another defense: that the actor knew these people on his own.

"Steven Seagal is a mob nut," criminal lawyer Barry Levin said after Nasso's arrest.

The actor's lawyers angrily accused Nasso's side of trying to smear the victim in the case.

But they acknowledge that Seagal may have met organized crime figures while interviewing "various people for authenticity" for the mob movie he and Nasso worked on.

As to whether Seagal knew of Nasso's alleged underworld connections, the Seagal camp allows that Nasso at times "acted as if" he knew mob figures but "no one believed him."

Such talk was dismissed, a Seagal spokesman said, as "people trying to get attention in Tinseltown."

Friends say they understand how Nasso could wind up at a table with Sonny Ciccone's crew.

Aiello said it was impossible not to meet "these people" in certain restaurants around New York. "If they walk over, what would you say, 'Get away'? "

When Nasso was asked how he wound up at that table, he said, "It's the neighborhood. I know them 30 years."

His lawyers would not let him talk about the restaurant conversation or those acquaintances. But Nasso went on for hours recently about his Hollywood career. Even with what's on the line-- "my freedom, my life"--he was eager to be seen as a legitimate player in that world.

Nasso has compiled a list of moments: a 1991 lunch at Le Cirque with Terry Semel, then chief executive of Warner Bros.; accompanying Donald Trump to the 1993 opening of the studio's store in Manhattan; going with Seagal to David Letterman's show to promote "On Deadly Ground." And on it goes.

He produced proclamations praising him for bringing filming to local streets, one declaring "Julius Nasso Day" on Staten Island. He reached in his wallet to show his Directors Guild card. "You don't get one of these," he says, "hanging around a cafe."

He is not the only one in his family embroiled in the criminal case. His brother Vincent, 43, is accused of paying the mob $400,000 in kickbacks in return for a three-year contract to administer a union prescription plan.

A second brother in health care, a chiropractor, was not implicated. He's the one who in 1989 married a daughter of Johnny Gambino, an imprisoned mob captain.

Nasso says he and Seagal were so close by then, "he escorted my mother up the aisle .... Steven was the star of the wedding."

Seagal's camp says that he is "still a big star," with two new films in the can and two more on deck. He also produces soothing herbal "essential oils," which are sold worldwide, on his Diamond Lotus Ranch near Mt. Shasta.

As for Nasso, he can't help worrying whether his magic carpet ride is over--with his pharmaceutical business. Since his arrest, "it's down 50%," he says.

But Hollywood? "Something like this makes you bigger out there," he said, with amazement.

How dare the prosecutor describe him in court as a "self-styled" producer?

As friend Aiello sees it, the great irony was in what Nasso did after the split from Seagal.

He made movies.

One, called "One Eyed King," is in the can. Nasso also was a producer of "Narc," shown at the Sundance Film Festival in January. That film, starring Ray Liotta, goes into nationwide release this fall. Tom Cruise signed on as an executive producer.

Nasso wouldn't miss the premiere if his life depended on it.

"Why wouldn't I go?" he asked Thursday. "The film is a Julius R. Nasso Production."

***

Times researcher Tracy Thomas in Los Angeles and staff writer Mark Magnier in Tokyo contributed to this report.

[Illustration]
Caption: PHOTO: Steven Seagal, left, and Julius R. Nasso on location in Colorado for 1995's "Under Siege 2." No longer working together, both have films in the can.; PHOTOGRAPHER: JOEL DAVID

Credit: TIMES STAFF WRITER
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Re: Silly Seagal, Reincarnated Mobster

Postby admin » Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:29 am

Steven Seagal gets Serbian citizenship
by RT.com
12 Jan, 2016

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Image
U.S. actor Steven Seagal © Maxim Shemetov / Reuters

American action hero Steven Seagal has been granted Serbian citizenship, the country’s official state newspaper reported on Monday.

A decree granting Seagal Serbian citizenship was signed by the country’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic on January 8.

Image
Serb Republic (RS) @SerbRepublic
Today, Hollywood actor Steven Seagal was granted Serbian citizenship by Prime Minister @avucic #Serbia #RS
5:13 PM - 10 Jan 2016


The decision came after the famous actor and producer made several visits to the country over the past months, when the 63-year-old actor and martial artist met with Vucic and Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, as well as with some other top officials.

In early December, the martial arts star was offered a job training Serbian special police forces and teaching them Aikido, as the American film star is also a 7th Dan black belt in that Japanese martial art. Seagal said earlier that he would like to establish an Aikido school in the Serbian capital of Belgrade.

RT ✔ @RT_com
Steven Seagal asked to train Serbian special forces http://on.rt.com/6y8x pic.twitter.com/oY6XNs4Sy5
9:12 AM - 2 Dec 2015


Also being a guitarist, Seagal, who has a large fan base in Serbia, took the stage for an open-air concert in Belgrade on New Year’s Eve.

Nenad @nenad_d1977
Najbolji deo. Best part, Steven Seagal #belgrade #serbia
7:55 AM - 1 Jan 2016


Seagal has praised Serbia’s government on his visits there and pledged to do “everything possible to promote Serbia” worldwide, AFP reports. The famous actor also stressed that Serbia has suffered injustice in recent history, adding that Americans harbor prejudices against Serbs as well as against their role in the Balkan conflicts in the 1990s, RIA Novosti reported.

Image
Balkan Newsbeat @BalkanNewsbeat
#Serbia has granted Hollywood actor Steven Seagal a passport, only weeks after he entered the country: reports
5:40 AM - 10 Jan 2016


The actor is also on friendly terms with Russian President Vladimir Putin and is a frequent guest in Russia, to which he has ancestral ties. While visiting Moscow, he told RT that his grandfather was a Russian Mongol, while his father is said to be a Russian Jewish emigrant.
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Re: Silly Seagal, Reincarnated Mobster

Postby admin » Mon May 30, 2016 11:58 pm

Clinton Dirty Trickster Faces New Charges: Private investigator Pellicano to be arraigned in celeb wiretapping case
by wnd.com
02/05/2006

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Anthony Pellicano

A former member of President Clinton’s “Shadow Team,” a private investigator known for dirty tricks and rough tactics on behalf of celebrity clients, will face unspecified charges tomorrow in a high-profile Hollywood scandal.

Anthony Pellicano, 61, worked for many of Hollywood’s elite before and after being commissioned by Hillary Clinton during her husband’s administration to spy on their perceived “enemies.”

His celebrity clients have included Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Sylvester Stallone.

Pellicano was released Friday from a federal prison after completing a 2-1/2-year sentence for possessing illegal weapons. He was transferred to San Bernardino County Jail, which is sometimes used by the federal prisoners. He was booked on charges that are under seal.

Before he went to prison, Pellicano said he wouldn’t cooperate in the wiretapping probe and would protect the confidentiality of his clients.

Pellicano first gained notoriety in 1977 after locating the remains of Taylor’s third husband after they were stolen from an Illinois cemetery.

He also helped automaker John DeLorean win acquittal on cocaine trafficking charges in the early 1980s. He was hired by Jackson to refute child molestation claims in 1993.

Pellicano’s legal troubles began in 2002 when prosecutors claim he hired Alexander Proctor to threaten Anita Busch, then a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, who was working on a story about actor Steven Seagal and possible links to the Mafia.


Proctor allegedly went to Busch’s home, placed a dead fish with a rose in its mouth on the windshield of her car and made a bullet-sized hole in her windshield. He also placed a sign with the word “stop” on the windshield, court documents show. The FBI later raided Pellicano’s office, found illegal explosives and seized documents and computers.

Pellicano and Proctor each face one count of making criminal threats and one count of conspiracy but neither have yet entered a plea. Proctor is serving a 10-year prison term in Illinois on unrelated drug charges.

During two terms of the Clinton administration, Pellicano was one of several private investigators used by the White House to conduct “shadow” operations. Others included Terry Lenzner, founder and chairman of the powerful Washington detective firm Investigative Group International, and San Francisco private eye Jack Palladino and his wife Sandra Sutherland.

But it was Hillary Clinton who hired the “Shadow Team” –- some believe to do work that employees of the federal government could not do.

Former congressional investigator Barbara Olson, who was killed Sept. 11, 2001, wrote that, “In the political life of the Clintons, it was she [Hillary] who pioneered the use of private detectives. It was she who brought in and cultivated the professional dirt-diggers and smear artists.”

Hillary’s detectives engaged in “a systematic campaign to intimidate, frighten, threaten, discredit and punish innocent Americans whose only misdeed is their desire to tell the truth in public,” former Clinton adviser Dick Morris charged in the New York Post of Oct. 1, 1998.

In his book, “Hillary’s Secret War,” author Richard Poe explains that Pellicano’s violent career as a private investigator reveals much about the sorts of qualifications Hillary sought in her “Shadow Team.”

In the January 1992 issue of GQ magazine, Pellicano boasted of the dirty work he had performed for his clients, including blackmail and physical assault. He claimed to have beaten one of his client’s enemies with a baseball bat.

“I’m an expert with a knife,” said Pellicano. “I can shred your face with a knife.”

FBI agents raided Pellicano’s West Hollywood office on Nov. 22, 2002, and arrested him on federal weapons charges. In his office, they found gold, jewelry, and about $200,000 in cash – most of it bundled in $10,000 wrappers – thousands of pages of transcripts of illegal wiretaps; two handguns; and various explosive devices stored in safes, including two live hand grenades and a pile of C4 plastic explosive, complete with blasting cap and detonation cord.

“The explosive could easily be used to blow up a car, and was in fact strong enough to bring down an airplane,” noted Special Agent Stanley Ornellas in a sworn affidavit.


The FBI raided Pellicano’s office after an accomplice ratted him out. Ex-convict Alexander Proctor told the FBI that Pellicano had hired him to threaten and intimidate Busch, who had been poking her nose a little too deeply into a feud between Mafia kingpins and actor Seagal. It seems that Seagal’s former friend and production partner, Julius R. Nasso, was tied to the Gambino crime family. When Seagal and Nasso quarreled, the dispute got ugly.

On the morning of June 20, 2002, reporter Busch approached her car, which was parked near her home. To her horror, she saw a bullet-hole in her windshield. A cardboard sign taped to the glass bore one word: “Stop.” A dead fish with a long-stemmed rose in its mouth lay on the hood.

Busch took the hint. She immediately went into hiding, staying in a series of hotels at her paper’s expense, while the FBI and the Los Angeles Police Deprtment’s organized-crime division investigated.


A break in the case seemed to come when ex-convict Proctor spilled the beans to an undercover FBI informant. Proctor reportedly told the informant, on tape, that it was not the Mafia harassing Busch –- it was Steven Seagal. Proctor said Seagal hired detective Anthony Pellicano to intimidate the woman into silence. Pellicano, in turn, had subcontracted Proctor to do the dirty work.

“He wanted to make it look like the Italians were putting the hit on her, so it wouldn’t reflect on Seagal,” Proctor told the informant. Proctor accused Pellicano of ordering him to “blow up” or set fire to Busch’s car to frighten her. However, Proctor said he got cold feet and merely damaged the car, leaving the dead fish and “Stop” sign as calling cards.

A federal judge sentenced Pellicano to 30 months in prison for possession of the hand grenades and C4. Later, on June 17, 2005, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley charged him with conspiracy and making threats against Busch.

Despite the sensational coverage of the Hollywood scandals, few news organizations have included the name of Pellicano’s most famous client -– Hillary Rodham Clinton.

A detailed, 1,680-word round-up of the Pellicano case published in the New York Times on Nov. 11, 2003 –- a full year after his arrest -– made no mention of Hillary’s name, nor even hinted at Pellicano’s White House connection.

Pellicano was deeply involved in Clinton damage-control operations -– including efforts to discredit former Clinton lovers Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky.
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