With speculation swirling that charges may be imminent in the ongoing Mel Gibson saga, a newly-surfaced e-mail exchange with his ex-girlfriend/accuser and an overhaul of her legal team have some observers suggesting the case may be far from clear cut.
As CBS News Correspondent Tara Mergener reports, Oksana Grigorieva is gearing up for her battle in court against Gibson, hiring a high-powered public relations firm and assembling a dream team of attorneys for the domestic abuse case.
“I think,” says CBS News legal analyst Trent Copeland, “the fact that Oksana has changed her legal team, has overhauled it, brought in new lawyers, seems to suggest that she knows something is coming.”
A series of explosive audio recordings released by celebrity website Radaronline over the summer – supposedly of Gibson ranting at Grigorieva – were thought by many to reveal his extreme rage toward her – recordings such as one in which a man sounding very much like the actor is heard saying, “You need a f***ing bat in the side of the head… How about that?”
But now, says Mergener, a surprising e-mail exchange has come to light on celebrity website TMZ.com. The messages are said to have been sent two months after the apparent Gibson rants were recorded.
The exchange features an apologetic Gibson and a forgiving Grigorieva.
“I really am losing my grip,” Gibson writes. “I’m stuck. I try to be OK, but it overpowers me and I’m something I don’t want to be.”
Grigorieva replies, “Please don’t torcher urself like that, please!!! U dint do anything to be so hard on urself.”
“It’s the great paradox of this entire drama,” observes Radaronline Senior Executive Editor Dylan Howard. “Why, on one hand, after supposedly being bashed by Mel Gibson, having two front teeth being knocked out, being left bloody and bruised, two months later, are you still standing alongside that man at red carpet premieres and exchanges, for want of a better word, love letters between each other, showing deep affection for each other?”
The e-mails, notes Copeland, “really throw a fly in the ointment, and I think, somehow or another, the prosecution will have to try to reconcile whether or not this e-mail fits within this whole equation as to whether or not charges ought to be filed against Mel Gibson.”
Legal experts also believe the district attorney may be considering extortion charges against Grigorieva, Mergener points out.
Now, Radaronline has posted a text message Grigorieva supposedly sent Gibson, saying, “You keep saying that you’ll take care of us in a most generous way. I wouldn’t have played your messages if you were keeping your word.” That could, suggests “Early Show” co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez, impact the possible extortion case.
Separately, according to TMZ, there is mounting evidence Gibson was having problems, and had been writing rambling letters to Grigorieva for up to a year before his alleged blowup was caught on tape. In one undated letter, he writes, “I’m so ragged, I could drink or commit a crime. The anger seems to be out of my control. I need to do something about it (that lasts) – not just a Band Aid.”
In a handwritten letter, Gibson says, “I don’t know why I’m so whacky and depressed, but I need to get well and re-enter life. Please don’t I’ve gone. I’m just not myself and feel bad when I am so f***ked up and sick around you. I don’t want to inflict this unhealthy version of myself on you.”
He also writes, “I love you. This isn’t who I was meant to be. I know it. I’m scared I can’t get back.”
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