Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images
The defense calls George Clooney to the stand? Lucky defense.
The Oscar winner turned up in a Milan courtroom this morning to testify against two men and a woman accused of coopting his good name to promote their fledgling fashion line, which they not so cunningly called GC Exclusive by George Clooney.
Not exactly the workings of a criminal mastermind, but let this be a warning: if the fashion police don't get you, George Clooney will.
The star testifier—who incidentally turned up in a navy suit, crisp white shirt and red-spotted blue tie—is suing the trio for roughly $3.88 million (or 3 million euro) for using his name to promote their fashion line without his knowledge or approval.
There were no cameras allowed in the courtroom for the two-hour hearing, but there were plenty of fans on hand and the judge repeatedly had to call for quiet as their buzzing made it difficult to hear from other witnesses.
Clooney's time on the stand lasted just 30 minutes and at times laughter could be heard emanating from the courtroom. That Clooney. Always a card.
Under questioning, he was shown documents from the defense of paperwork that seemingly bore his signature. Clooney explained that most of the John Hancocks were fakes and the ones that resembled his actual signature were actually photocopies of autographs he's handed out over the years.
"I want to explain well," Italy's Corriere della Sera quoted Clooney (who addressed the court through an interpreter) as saying. "There are false signatures and then there are photocopies of the same signature, repeated 100 times. I want to say [they are] exactly the same signature. We've compared the sheets and they match perfectly.
"My signature is very easy to find on the Internet. But if someone wanted to borrow my signature, they should borrow various signatures of mine, not always the same one for 100 times."
Clooney then turned to the defendant (only one of the three was present in court) and sarcastically congratulated him on the scam.
"This is the first time I've seen him. So I'd like to say hello, nice to meet you...You've done a good job—very good. You should be proud of yourself."
The judge asked him to avoid making similar comments, but perhaps he was just getting the defense's lawyer back for the gem he uttered earlier in the hearing:
"We all know that Mr. Clooney is an actor—perhaps he is acting here?"
No doubt both utterings caused a few nervous giggles, but that was nothing compared to the raucous laugh riot George caused by quoting, well, himself, at the end of his testimony:
"No Martini, no party." (Apparently, this is a lot funnier if you're Italian.)
Also put before Clooney during the hearing were doctored photos of him with the designing trio, particularly the woman. A picture of Vanja Goffi photoshopped to appear alongside Clooney (in place of an ex-girlfriend) has been widely circulated in Italy and sparked numerous tabloid stories about a possible romance between the duo. It was these rumors Clooney was addressing when he got asked if he'd ever seen the woman before:
"Of course, I have seen her for the last three years in every single interview story nearly every day. I've never met her. I've never seen her."
He also took issue with some of the other promotional photos the trio had used of Clooney. On most of them, the group had edited Clooney's head onto another person's body, resulting in some curious critiquing on the stand.
"Here, for instance, I don't smoke and I don't wear that watch," Clooney said. "I also don't wear long jean shorts."
At the end of the hearing, Judge Pietro Caccialanza thanked Clooney for his time and said the proceeding, funnily enough, "has lasted as long as a movie."
Here's hoping it provides the same happy ending.