Legal Eagle Eats Crowe

Apr. 9 2008, Published 6:09 a.m. ET

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Russell Crowe’s telephonic tussle with Mercer Hotel conciergeNestor Estrada could have been settled with a simple handshake, we hear--if it wasn’t for the star’s hothead lawyer. In the daysfollowing the June 6 incident, one of the producers behind CinderellaMan arranged to have Estrada join Crowe for his June 8 Lettermanappearance, says a source close to the project: “Crowe would offer hisapology to Nestor, they would shake hands and make nice for a few precious TVmoments, and all would be right in the world.”

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ButCrowe’s attorney, Gerald Lefcourt, refused to let his client take theeasy way out. Instead, he advised Crowe’s publicist, RobinBaum, to deny that the phone hit Estrada—a move that engenderedenough bad press to hamstring the actor’s critically lauded boxing flick.Days later, when Estrada and his lawyer, Eric Franz, again suggestedthe pair shake hands, “Lefcourt wentcrazy,” says our source. “He just about told Nestor to go screwhimself. It made no sense.”

Another source close to the case says“Crowe’s lawyer is out of his mind. Maybe he just likes the pressand wants to be in the press.” Apparently Lefcourt, who did not returncalls for comment, also wants to be in court.Estrada’s lawyer tells Radar, “There’s been noresolution to the matter, and I’m in the process of filing a complaint.I’m curious to see what Mr. Crowe has to say on the witness stand when hispublicist isn’t scripting comments for him.” We’d love tospeculate, but Fresh Intelligence is a family column.


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