[The real Tony Robbins is now appearing in court...they are going to show the court how Robbins intentionally gave false phone numbers to the court, intentionally edited documents given to the court, and was intentionally lying and hiding documents from the court, to try and cover up his affair with this married woman. Also, remember that Robbins was still married at the time this was going on. This is going to get VERY ugly for Robbins...]
"he plans to lead evidence into the lack of production by the plaintiff, as well as intentionally mistaking phone numbers and intentionally redacting relevant documents. Among the documents that were originally redacted by the plaintiff, Mr. Anderson discovered records of payment for Ms. Humphrey's trip to Fiji, and for tickets to the Broadway play in November, 1999. He hoped the judge would infer that there was intentional lying and non-production of documents relevant to the media defendants case.
There was also a whole series of documents lost by the plaintiff, some in a hurricane in Fiji in 2003, and others which have just vanished. It all gives an indication of the plaintiff's conduct in the lawsuit, Mr. Anderson said. "
CanWest's Sun trial gets to defendants' case
2005-07-06 20:33 ET - Street Wire
by Stockwatch Business Reporter
The libel trial of motivational speaker Tony Robbins versus CanWest Global Communications Corp.'s The Vancouver Sun and others heard the opening statement of the media defendants' lawyer on the 12th day of trial. The Sun said it would show that the developing relationship between Mr. Robbins and the woman who later became his wife was an influencing factor in the decision for Mrs. Robbins to dump her then-husband, John Lynch.
Mr. Robbins sued The Sun and others over articles and television news clips in June, 2001, which he says implied that he was an adulterous hypocrite who stole Mr. Lynch' wife, driving Mr. Lynch to try to kill himself. The media defendants have claimed that the some of the implications in the stories were true, and that the articles were not defamatory. Mr. Lynch was a defendant at the start of the trial, but settled with Mr. Robbins and apologized publicly for his 2001 comments.
After Tuesday's ruling to exclude the Lynch apology from evidence, Robbins lawyer Roger McConchie did not call any further witnesses. Defendant Gary Sir John Carlsen III told the court that he would not call any evidence. Rob Anderson, lead lawyer for The Vancouver Sun and other media defendants in the case, began his opening remarks.
Mr. Anderson pointed out that the court has not heard any testimony from plaintiff Mr. Robbins, his wife Sage Robbins, or her former husband Mr. Lynch, the three main players in the case. The only witness who Mr. McConchie called to support the plaintiff's version of the facts in the case was Pearl-William Humphrey, Mrs. Robbins's father. Defendant Carlsen was not privy to the events that occurred surrounding the Lynch divorce, and the court should remember that all of his information was second-hand, Mr. Anderson said.
The main article in the defamation lawsuit was the Jeff Lee story that appeared in The Sun on June 7, 2001, Mr. Anderson continued, and all other instances of publication stem from that article. The article written by Mr. Lee relied on statements from Mr. Lynch and Mr. Carlsen, as well as numerous divorce documents and interviews with representatives from Mr. Robbins's side, including Stephen Jaffe, a Robbins consultant, and Sharon Humphrey, Mrs. Robbins's mother. These communications took place even after Mr. Lee was told that Mr. Robbins would not comment for the story.
In the first draft of his article, Mr. Lee made four references to Mr. Lynch's defence in his divorce action, in which Mr. Lynch alleged that his wife, at the time known as Bonnie Lynch, was having an adulterous affair with Mr. Robbins. After consultation with Brian Wolf, Mr. Robbins's Los Angeles lawyer, Mr. Lee agreed to remove any adultery references from his article out of fairness to Mr. Robbins. Lawyer Mr. Anderson said it was ironic, because if Mr. Lee had persisted in reporting the adultery allegations, the story would have been protected from a defamation action based on a qualified privilege.
When he wrote the article, Mr. Lee also had other divorce documents from Mr. Lynch, which showed that the Lynchs stopped living together in January, 2000. The final Lynch divorce was granted on June 21, 2001. Mr. Anderson noted that Mr. Robbins and his former wife Becky were divorced in March, 2001. The defence lawyer later told the court that Mrs. Robbins had filed a second divorce action in late July, 2001, seeking to set aside the Lynch divorce's separation agreement, under which Mrs. Robbins received a lump sum of $60,000 and $1,000 per month.
The media defendants claim that three implications in the articles and broadcasts are true. These imputations are:
Mr. Robbins stole Mr. Lynch's wife.
The wife-stealing drove Mr. Lynch to attempt suicide.
Mr. Robbins is a hypocrite who does not practice what he preaches about working to preserve marriages.
Implication of wife-stealing
At the centre of the case will be the nature of the evolving relationship between Mr. Robbins and Mrs. Robbins, and the nature of the separation between Mr. Lynch and Mrs. Robbins. The defence will look for any indication that these two events coincided, in an effort to show that Mr. Robbins did "steal" Mr. Lynch's wife.
Mr. Anderson said that the plaintiff claims that Mr. Lynch and Mrs. Robbins separated as early as 1998, and that it was April, 2000, before the relationship between Mr. Robbins and Mrs. Robbins became serious. It is the stance of the media defendants, however, that the relationship between Mr. Robbins and Mrs. Robbins, in whatever aspect, had developed to the point where it was a factor in the separation and subsequent divorce of Mr. Lynch and Mrs. Robbins.
Suicide attempt implication not defamatory
Mr. Anderson moved next to the suicide attempt. It is the position of his clients that it is apparent from the context of the Lee article, if Mr. Lynch threatened to kill himself, or actually did try suicide, readers will not assume that was the fault of Mr. Robbins. In addition, in a June, 2001, letter sent to Sun lawyer Barry Gibson about the article, Mr. Wolf indicated that Mrs. Robbins told him that Mr. Lynch threatened to kill himself and to harm others. Mr. Wolf went on to say that nothing in his letter was defamatory of Mr. Robbins, including Mr. Lynch's comments.
(As part of his apology and retraction, as reported in Stockwatch on June 24, 2005, Mr. Lynch said, "I never took psychiatric counseling for constant depression, nor did I attempt suicide, contrary to my statements to the Vancouver Sun." The apology is not part of the evidence in the trial, following the judge's July 5 ruling.)
Hypocritical Mr. Robbins
Mr. Anderson tied the third imputation in The Sun story, that Mr. Robbins is a hypocrite, directly to the the implication that Mr. Robbins stole Mrs. Robbins away from Mr. Lynch. If at the end of the case the judge decided that one has been proven, then the other one will follow.
Mr. Anderson laid out his own chronology of events in the Lynch marriage. In 1991, just after Mrs. Robbins graduated from high school, she moved in with Mr. Lynch. On June 5, 1993, the two married. The couple travelled to San Francisco in June, 1998, and purchased a home in Langley, B.C., in September, 1998.
Mr. Wolf told The Sun in 2001 that Mrs. Robbins left Mr. Lynch for the first time in January, 1999. In June of that year, Mr. Lynch and Mrs. Robbins went on a vacation to Cancun, Mexico. In September, 1999, Mrs. Robbins went to work at a Robbins Life Mastery seminar in Hawaii. She met Mr. Robbins on Sept. 15, 1999. On the last day of the conference they spent hours talking about various things including spirituality, and exchanged phone numbers. As he is unable to ask Mr. Robbins or Mrs. Robbins about phone calls to each other after that seminar, Mr. Anderson plans to call representatives from Telus, Rogers and other phone companies to verify the records in court.
The phone calls between Mr. Robbins and Mrs. Robbins began soon after Mrs. Robbins returned home from the seminar. The calls continued throughout the month of October. Mrs. Robbins then travelled to Fiji on Oct. 26, 1999, the media defendants claim, at Mr. Robbins's invitation.
In November, 1999, Mr. Lynch and Mrs. Robbins went to Whistler to work out the details of their separation agreement. Along on the trip was Alan Lawrence, who had toasted the Lynches at their 1993 marriage.
More phone calls between Mr. Robbins and Mrs. Robins were exchanged throughout the month of November. On Nov. 26, Mrs. Robbins flew to New York. On the same day, Mr. Robbins's credit card records show he purchased tickets for a Broadway show.
On Dec. 3, 1999, Mrs. Robbins was in Fort Lauderdale for another Robbins seminar. In January of 2000, Mr. Anderson said, the two played golf together. On Jan. 14, records show that Mr. Robbins called Mrs. Robbins's cell phone, and shortly after the call Mrs. Robbins was on her way to the airport with her sister Debbie Humphrey, destination Fiji. The media defendants have documentation that shows Mr. Robbins paid for the sisters' flight to the island nation, which is a direct indication as to the evolving nature of the relationship between Mr. Robbins and Mrs. Robbins, Mr. Anderson said.
On Jan. 23, 2000, Mrs. Robbins and her three sisters went to a Robbins seminar in Florida, paid for by Mr. Robbins. The court saw video footage of that seminar, Mr. Anderson said, that showed Mrs. Robbins was not working at the seminar, but was rather a participant.
Court documents show that Mr. Lynch and Mrs. Robbins claim they stopped living together in January, 2000. In February, 2000, Mrs. Robbins attended Mr. Robbins's birthday party, location not stated. In April, 2000, Mr. Robbins claims that an "intimate relationship" between him and Mrs. Robbins began.
The letters from Mr. Wolf to The Vancouver Sun in June, 2001, indicated that Mr. Robbins and Mrs. Robbins began seeing each other publicly in January, 2000. Mr. Anderson notes that this was the same month that Mr. Lynch and Mrs. Robbins formally separated. If there is an overlap in those times, Mr. Anderson plans to prove it during witness testimony.
The plaintiff's lawyer was "all over the map" with its letters and timeline, Mr. Anderson said, and the judge should give more weight to what was said during the 2000 Lynch divorce. "At the time of the divorce action," Mr. Anderson told the court, "The only thing that mattered was the truth."
First Sun witness
Mr. Anderson called his first witness, Sam Georges, as an adverse, or hostile, witness. Mr. Georges is the president, chief operating officer and general counsel of many of Mr. Robbins's companies.
Before Mr. Georges could take the witness stand, Mr. McConchie jumped up and protested that Mr. Georges had not been on Mr. Anderson original list of witnesses. Knowing who would be on the witness stand ahead of time would help prepare for cross-examination, Mr. McConchie said.
Mr. Anderson indicated he will call Mr. Gibson and Mr. Lee from The Sun, as well as editor-in-chief Patricia Graham. He will also call several representatives from telephone and credit card companies to prove the truth of a pile of phone and credit card bills that he had previously planned to run through Mr. Robbins and Mrs. Robbins.
Other witnesses include Mr. Lawrence, who will testify as to the state of the relationship between Mr. Lynch and Mrs. Robbins in Whistler in November, 1999. Mike Murphy, at one time involved in a common-law relationship with Mrs. Robbins's sister Barbara Farnsworth, and Rick Zacklin, former husband of Mrs. Robbins's sister Christina Zacklin, may also testify.
Mr. Georges was questioned about how he assisted Mr. Robbins in delivering documents to the media defendants. Mr. Georges claimed that he could not answer those questions, based on his client privilege with Mr. Robbins. Mr. Anderson turned to an affidavit signed by Mr. Robbins on April 20, 2005. Flipping to the back of the affidavit, Mr. Anderson asked Mr. Georges if it appeared as if there were only two documents on the list from before April 17, 2005. Mr. McConchie objected, saying that it looked as if Mr. Anderson was going to ask the witness a series of tiny details.
Mr. Justice L. Paul Williamson excused Mr. Georges from the courtroom while the lawyers argued about the case. Mr. McConchie said that he expected to hear a litany of complaints from the media defendants about the plaintiff's lack of disclosure, and pointed out that the subject was already discussed in extreme detail at the trial's preliminary hearings.
Mr. Anderson disagreed with Mr. McConchie's interpretation, saying that he plans to lead evidence into the lack of production by the plaintiff, as well as intentionally mistaking phone numbers and intentionally redacting relevant documents. Among the documents that were originally redacted by the plaintiff, Mr. Anderson discovered records of payment for Ms. Humphrey's trip to Fiji, and for tickets to the Broadway play in November, 1999. He hoped the judge would infer that there was intentional lying and non-production of documents relevant to the media defendants case.
There was also a whole series of documents lost by the plaintiff, some in a hurricane in Fiji in 2003, and others which have just vanished. It all gives an indication of the plaintiff's conduct in the lawsuit, Mr. Anderson said.
Mr. McConchie replied by saying that as long as The Sun lawyer restricted his questions for Mr. Georges to information available in a publicly filed affidavit, he will not object.
The trial continues after lunch.
CanWest's Sun trial hears of phone record gap
2005-07-06 20:50 ET - Street Wire
by Stockwatch Business Reporter
The afternoon session of the libel trial of Anthony Robbins versus The Vancouver Sun and others heard on Wednesday afternoon how several of Mr. Robbins's employees slaved over phone records The Sun asked for ahead of the trial. The trial also heard about a two-month gap in the records.
The phone records were a matter of contention before the trial ever began, when The Sun asked for the records to help its defence. The Sun's lawyers, however, received edited versions of the phone records that apparently did not meet their needs. Sun lawyer Rob Anderson, in a pretrial motion, applied for and won a court order forcing Mr. Robbins's companies to provide unedited phone records.
The phone records will form part of The Sun's defence to Mr. Robbins's lawsuit against the paper. The records could show what, if any, communication existed between Mr. Robbins and his current wife after they first met.
The lawsuit so far
Mr. Robbins is suing The Sun over a story he says portrays him as an adulterous hypocrite. He says the paper defamed him when it published the story of John Lynch, his wife's ex-husband.
Mr. Lynch, a Langley businessman, told The Sun his wife left him for Mr. Robbins after she attended one of Mr. Robbins's motivational seminars in Hawaii in September, 1999. The Sun printed Mr. Lynch's story, including his claim that he was depressed and suicidal.
The Sun, for its part, argues the story did not mean anything defamatory.
The trial to date has mostly heard Mr. Robbins's lawyer, West Vancouver libel specialist Roger McConchie, present his side of the case. Mr. Lynch, originally named as a co-defendant, was dropped from the suit mid-trial after he apologized to Mr. Robbins and offered to make a charitable donation on his behalf.
The Robbins staff at work
Sam Georges, head of several of Mr. Robbins's companies, testified on day 12 of the trial about his hard-working staff that prepared the contentious phone records. Under questioning from Sun lawyer Mr. Anderson, he told the court he followed Mr. McConchie's instructions to the letter with the preparation of the records.
He said he asked his staff to supply both land line and cellular records in response to The Sun's pretrial requests. In the first version of the records, the edited version, Mr. Georges testified his staff deleted the last four digits of several irrelevant phone numbers to protect privacy.
He added that his staff left any phone calls to Canada on the lists.
(Mr. McConchie, earlier in the afternoon, explained the need to edit all the records. He said it is "quite staggering to see how many calls an organization of 200 people can make." He added that not all of the calls belonged to Mr. Robbins.)
Praise for the staff
Mr. Georges, several times in his testimony, praised the hard work of his staff in assembling the phone lists. He said he instructed his staff to "hastily" do a "diligent search" for all the records in question. "The team that did this deserves nothing but accolades," he told the court.
Mr. Georges testified that his people worked over weekends pouring through thousands of pages and hundreds of pounds of documents to get Mr. Anderson his phone records. He said his staff members "put their heart and soul" into assembling the records.
Two months missing
In spite of all the hard work, Mr. Anderson suggested there was a two-month gap in the records. It is not clear which two months are missing, however.
(The records covered the period from September, 1999, to April, 2000. The missing two months could be important, depending which two months they are. The Hawaii seminar Mr. Lynch's wife attended was in September, 1999. The court earlier heard testimony the Lynches were separated by December, 1999.)
Mr. Anderson questioned Mr. Georges about two months of records that could not be located. "I don't have a clue ... which two months," Mr. Georges replied.
When questioned further, he told Mr. Anderson, "These are matters I delegated to responsible people."
Mr. Anderson asked him if his staff was instructed to produce all records.
"I don't remember the specifics," Mr. Georges replied.
Mr. Georges's job
Aside from telephone testimony, Mr. Anderson also asked Mr. Georges to clarify his roles with the myriad of companies Mr. Robbins owns. Mr. Anderson said it is not entirely clear to him just what titles Mr. Georges holds.
Mr. Georges testified he is, or was at the relevant times, president of several companies, including Robbins Research, Tony Robbins Productions and Anthony Robbins Associates. Mr. Georges also testified that he serves as the lawyer and chief executive officer to several of the companies and agreed he is the top business adviser to Mr. Robbins.
The role of Mr. Georges was a point of contention earlier in the afternoon, when Mr. Anderson argued that Mr. Georges was serving as the company's president and not its lawyer some of the time. This is important to Mr. Anderson because Mr. Georges has declined to answer some of Mr. Anderson's questions, claiming solicitor-client privilege.
The trial resumes Thursday morning, with more testimony from Mr. Georges.