July 22, 2010 / 2:41 AM / 9 years ago

Secret Mel Gibson text message may prove extortion

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - After the disturbing Mel Gibson audio tapes became public earlier this month, Oksana Grigorieva sent a text to the actor explaining why she’d surreptitiously recorded their conversations, the Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Actor Mel Gibson poses during the Spanish premiere of the film "Edge of Darkness" in Madrid February 1, 2010. REUTERS/Juan Medina

According to a source familiar with the case, Grigorieva writes in the text that the reason she recorded him was because “you broke your agreement with me.”

The source says additional emails will likely be used by Gibson’s attorneys to prove that Grigorieva attempted to use the audio tapes to extort money from Gibson. The source adds that Grigorieva was also upset about the breakup and was looking to reconcile.

The Los Angeles County sheriff’s department on Wednesday confirmed it is investigating Grigorieva.

Based on sealed court documents reviewed by The Hollywood Reporter, it also appears that Grigorieva’s family law attorney, Manley Freid, hasn’t been helping her cause.

At a June 22 court hearing, the judge sharply criticized Freid for obtaining a temporary restraining order the day before for his client, specifically noting Grigorieva’s failure to tell the court about a previous $15 million settlement agreement between herself and Gibson.

“(Her lawyer) did something truly remarkable,” notes a source close to the case. “He did not disclose to the court that there was a settlement agreement between Oksana and Mel.”

“Manley Freid’s strategy accomplished nothing,” says a source close to the case. “It’s all out there now. They pressed the nuclear button and Gibson is still basically standing. There’s zero upside for Grigorieva in terms of money, custody and visitation.”

In other words, her whole strategy may have backfired.

Steve Jaffe, a spokesman for Grigorieva, had no comment. Gibson’s rep had no comment; his attorney could not be reached.

The actual transcript from the June 22 court proceedings, reviewed in its entirety by The Hollywood Reporter and excerpted below, reveals that the judge admonished Freid for his failure to inform him about the custody agreement reached between Grigorieva and Gibson.

Judge Gordon: (addressing Manley Freid) at the June 22 court hearing:

“My question for you is this. Why wasn’t I told about this agreement in connection with the request for a temporary restraining order? Mr. Kolodny (Gibson’s Counsel) is exactly correct. Had I known the parties had an agreement, I may not have issued the order the way I did; and I find it very troubling that someone comes in, without notice to the other side, represents facts to me, including the fact this woman is so afraid of Mr. Gibson that she needs immediate protection, even though by — based on her declaration, it’s clear that nothing happened for a few months.

“The things that happened were so horrible and it was quite understandable to me that she finally came to the conclusion that she needed a restraining order, even though the bad stuff happened in February.

“But no one then told me there had been this intervening agreement about the child, and I’m really quite troubled by that. “

Freid then unsuccessfully attempted to persuade the court that the settlement document was irrelevant because Grigorieva entered into the agreement because of false representations and without the advice of a family law attorney:

“She entered into that document because of false misrepresentations to her; that she was misadvised....”

Judge Gordon responded that not only was he troubled by Freid’s failure to inform him of the previous settlement agreement, but he found the lawyer’s arguments “disingenuous at best” and “very disturbing.”

The judge then proceeded to deny Freid’s motions and to order the tape recordings of Gibson sealed.

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