Getty Divorce Trial: Drugs In, Affairs Out

Los Angeles County Courthouse (photo: LAC Arts Commission)

Today in Los Angeles Superior Court, Division 22, Judge David Cunningham III–who has a really nice mustache and is super nice and warm and wants to make sure that First Amendment rights are protected–ruled that references to (Gordon) Peter Getty’s extra-marital affair(s) and his reading of sexually explicit e-mails from women he knows as related to his extra-marital affair(s) are inadmissible evidence. They really have no bearing on the domestic violence case before him and events leading up to Jacqui Getty’s broken arm or on the financial settlements in the pending divorce. (California is a no-fault divorce state.) Jacqui Getty seeks a divorce and a restraining order.

However the judge may allow, if foundations are laid, for the hole in Peter Getty’s septum to be discussed by his health care practitioner. The judge will allow personal observation in layperson terms about what was seen–for example, Peter’s bloody nose, white powder and tissues. And he may allow, if an appropriate foundation is laid, the introduction of Peter’s viewing of sexually explicit material online. Jacqui’s attorney makes the point that viewing such material and masturbating while locked in a room–as Jacqui claims Peter did–is one aspect of cocaine use, and indicates out-of-control behavior.

Jacqui Getty’s attorney has offered into evidence the photo of Peter with blood caked around his nose that we described. A ruling on that may come later.

Peter’s attorney is upset that the media have managed to report on Jacqui’s declarations and depositions, but the judge is firm that this will be an open hearing with full First Amendment rights. (TMZ is there–Hi Elizabeth! Cute shirt, btw.)

Before the judge came into the courtroom, Peter Getty appeared to be in a deep meditative state, his eyes closed and his head resting on his rather ugly pea-green striped necktie. He had way too much product in his hair, but he was well shaven. He had no one there supporting him, but his estranged wife had several girlfriends there–including Pamela Levy, co-founder/designer of Juicy Couture, and Eleanor Coppola, wife of Francis Ford Coppola, and the grandmother of Jacqui’s daughter. They were excluded from the court, along with Jacqui’s daughter Gia Coppola, because they may be called as witnesses.

Today will be a full trial day with opening statements and testimony from a Mr. Blumenthal. The trial will resume May 27 and 28.

We’ve got parts of the deposition up online in the sidebar, and I’ll be tweeting as is viable. The only Internet access is in the 9th floor cafeteria–and the food here is not very good.

Peter Getty: Coke Made Me a Better Writer, But Not an Arm-Breaker


for illustration purposes only - image not related to trial (via Just some dust)

Today Jacqui Getty’s attorney will introduce the March 16 deposition in which filthy, rich and filthy-rich Peter Getty discusses his drug use, including cocaine, marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms. In an earlier declaration, Jacqui claims her husband broke her arm when he was so high that his nose was bleeding.

In his deposition, Peter denies being high when Jacqui’s arm was broken. However he also states that cocaine made him a better writer. And didn’t impair his judgment. Okay, then. Where’s Bob Forrest and Dr. Drew when you need them?

Firedoglake has obtained a portion of Peter Getty’s deposition, focusing on his drug use and the circumstances involved in the breaking of his wife’s arm. In her declaration, Jacqui Getty claims that on June 15, 2008, Peter broke her arm at the house in Malibu, had been in his room using coke and when he emerged, blood was running out his nostrils. Peter denies this.

In his deposition Peter admits to doing coke nine or 10 times during 2008, but he denies being gakked when his wife’s arm was broken. Although he admits in 2008 he’d been so high that his nose bled only once. . . at least once.

Well, I’ve seen a photo immortalizing “at least once.” Getty sits at his computer, the screen reflected in the lenses of his black Buddy Holly-ish glasses, his hair greasy and unkempt, looking for all the world like a basement-dwelling blogger pounding away at his fapboard. Except instead of Cheeto crumbs, his sallow, unshaven face is stained with dried blood below both nostrils. Eeeuwww. Srsly eueew. Note to Peter Getty and men everywhere: If you are webcamming, someone will take your picture.

Here are some other deposition high points: When the lawyer asks if Peter ever used cocaine to the point where he had a nose bleed, he answers

Yes…probably back in 2008

He admits that the circumstance occurred probably more than once, then explains

I know it happened at least once. Beyond that…

He trails off. Several times when questioned about who was present and using cocaine, marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms with him, Getty’s attorney cautions him that he does not need to name his fellow partiers, citing privacy. So Getty doesn’t. More’s the pity.

The following excerpts are especially tragic displays of hubris and delusion that could have been lifted from an episode of “Intervention.”

Q: Do you think it impaired your judgment in 2008 when you were using cocaine?

A: Altered it.

Q: When it was altered, did you think it was impaired? You understand the word “impaired,” don’t you?

A: No, I haven’t the foggiest.

Q: Well, Mr. Getty, why don’t you tell me what you think the word “impaired” means.

A: Obviously I know what the word “impaired” means.

The questioning continues:

Q: So in 2008, when you used cocaine, do you think it reduced your ability to think logically?

A: No. Actually, that I wouldn’t say.

Q: Do you think it reduced your ability to act responsibly?

A: No

Getty goes on to say that he does not think cocaine affected his ability to recall and recollect events that happened while he was high on it, stating

No. I don’t think it had any effect on my memory.

Nor does Getty believe that cocaine affected his judgment in terms of language he used. Actually, Peter Getty thinks cocaine made him a better writer:

Well, it, you know, was euphoria kind of thing. I mean, just like the, you know, textbooks say, it’s, you know, causes a slight numbing sensation and a sense of well-being and, you know, self awareness…

I found, for instance, that when I was writing, I could get my ideas out better or more fluidly, you know. The same ideas, yes, but I could–I thought I could express them better…

…But, you know, my own views, my own opinions I thought I could–I’m speaking more here of writing than conversing, although it was also applicable in conversation. But it just made it easier to get my thoughts out in a, you know, compelling, understandable way.

And while a keyboard is a dangerous thing to use when blazed on wacky dust, at least Peter Getty didn’t get behind the wheel of a car, even though he felt he might be capable of handling it:

Well, I wouldn’t drive a car, you know. I–that’s not because I necessarily felt like I was incapable of it. It would just be, you know, a bad idea under the circumstances… Because I was on cocaine.

Sex, Drugs and Violence: Getty Divorce Court Date Today

(photo: alynch)

Today, a seriously good old-fashioned scandalous divorce trial hits the courts so I’m hightailing it downtown to LA County court to watch the unfolding. It’s Getty versus Getty as Jacqui Getty seeks divorce from her husband of 10 years, the filthy, rich and filthy-rich Gordon Peter Getty, known as Peter, whose father Gordon is worth $2.5 billion. Jacqui reveals a scenario ripped from an episode of Cops, except it takes place in several mansions instead of a double-wide or stucco suburban split level:

  • domestic violence including Peter’s breaking of Jacqui’s arm;
  • Peter’s cocaine abuse and use of other drugs;
  • Peter’s online porn addiction;
  • Peter’s extra-marital affairs.
  • Jacqui seeks a restraining order, claiming in addition to inflicting physical injuries, Peter threatened to have her killed. Here’s the back story that takes this sordid tale out of the trailer park and into the glamour zone.

    Jacqui de La Fontiane was a working-class teenager, pregnant with daughter Gia when her boyfriend and baby’s father, Gian-Carlo Coppola–son of Francis Ford Coppola–was killed in a boating accident. The Academy Award-winning director took care of Jacqui and Gia, incorporating them into his family, buying a house for them in the Hollywood Hills. He even walked Jacqui down the aisle when she married Peter Getty.

    Wow! Single mom with cool career– Jacqui worked as a film and video costumer and a fashion stylist for “Harper’s Bazaar”–marries super-rich guy with arty aspirations. How fairy-tale perfect! At one point Getty had his own band and had written an opera when he was still in his twenties; he also occasionally wrote a music blog under a pseudonym. Her celebrity friends Leo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore were in frequent attendance at her stylish parties. Her filmmaking family included Sofia Coppola (Francis’s daughter), Jason Schwartzman (son of Francis’s sister Talia Shire) and Nicolas (Coppola) Cage. Peter loved being included in the tight-knit clan–who wouldn’t relish watching Nic sing “Sister Christian” on Francis’s karaoke machine at Gia’s pre-teen birthday party? On his own, Peter had–well, cousin Balthazar, arty aspirations, and what appears to be in retrospect a rather substantial appetite for partying.

    During the marriage, Peter founded a record label, Emperor Norton, which had some nepotistic success, releasing the soundtracks to Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation before shuttering. But mostly his life was filled with people trying to get their hands on his money in one way or another. He always seemed a prisoner of his dazzling last name.

    Then in June 2009 Peter decided he wanted to make another dream come true: He wanted to be a real blogger, so Peter and his brother Billy began writing a column for the “San Francisco Chronicle”’s SFGate. Within hours of publication, Peter Getty got into an embarrassing online feud with Gawker which rightfully called out the Brothers Getty on their self-entitled, self-indulgent wankery.

    Peter Getty caved to Gawker’s jabs and jibes, trying to make nice after experiencing just a couple days of cyber snarking. Truly, the Getty columns for SFGate were tragic, unfunny, puerile. And they lasted a mere two months. When the brothers started writing the blog, “What the Butler Didn’t See,” Peter claimed he found

    real work. . . wearisome.

    Like when he ran a record label, Getty seemed to come to the conclusion that jobs–even blogging ones–are um. . . work.

    And maybe there’s something else problematic and destroying of potential here, aside from just being rich and not needing to earn a living: Peter Getty’s admitted drug use, which is a key point in the divorce trial, since it may form the foundation for his alleged online porn addiction, the extra-marital affairs and the domestic violence.

    More to come. . . .