|Name Anthony Pellicano||Role private investigator|
Jailed Hollywood private eye says he has dirt on Michael Jackson
Anthony Pellicano (born March 22, 1944, in Chicago, Illinois) is a former high-profile Los Angeles private investigator. He has served a term of thirty months in a federal prison for illegal possession of explosives, firearms and homemade grenades, and in 2008 began serving time in prison for subsequent convictions for crimes, including racketeering and wiretapping.
- Pellicano Profile
- Jailed Hollywood private eye says he has dirt on Michael Jackson
- Carradine and Stevens
- Bonder and Kerkorian
On February 4, 2006, Pellicano was arrested for wiretapping and racketeering. On May 15, 2008, he and four others were found guilty of racketeering. In August, 2008, Pellicano was convicted of wiretapping and conspiracy to commit wiretapping in the District Federal Court in Los Angeles. In December, 2008, the court denied Pellicano's request for concurrent sentencing. Fifteen years were added to Pellicano's prison sentence and he was fined $2,000,000. On August 7, 2011, Pellicano gave his first interview to Newsweek magazine. On July 5, 2012, Pellicano's bail hearing was postponed due to poor health. The following day Tom Cruise was accused of conspiring with Pellicano to create a wiretap during Cruise's divorce from Nicole Kidman.
Prior to his first conviction, Pellicano was employed as a private investigator by Hollywood celebrities for a large retainer because of his reputation for solving their problems, particularly those problems with the tabloid press.
On November 21, 2002, FBI agents raided the offices of Pellicano. A threat had been made against film producer Julius R. Nasso, who was suing Steven Seagal. The FBI was looking for evidence that Pellicano was involved in making the threat against Nasso. The FBI agents found two practice grenades which were modified to function as homemade bombs and military-grade C-4 plastic explosive. Pellicano pleaded guilty to the illegal possession of dangerous materials. His sentence was thirty months in federal prison. His date of release was to be February 4, 2006. On February 3, Pellicano was transferred to the federal detention center, in Downtown Los Angeles to face new charges.
On February 6, 2006, in United States District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, Pellicano was indicted on 110 counts. His alleged crimes included racketeering, conspiracy, wiretapping, witness tampering, identity theft and destruction of evidence. Specifically, Pellicano was charged with receiving unlawfully accessed confidential records on celebrities and public figures from members of the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills police departments. For example, prosecutors alleged that Pellicano tapped the phones of Sylvester Stallone and Keith Carradine and accessed the confidential police records of Garry Shandling and Kevin Nealon. On February 15, 2006, the indictment was amended to include further charges of wiretapping and extortion. Pellicano was denied bail. On June 7, 2006, the Associated Press reported that Pellicano performed an illegal background check on a law enforcement official who was investigating a fake passport scheme involving Pellicano's client, Christopher Rocancourt.
The jury trial of Pellicano was to commence on February 27, 2008. The trial was delayed three times, due to a lengthy discovery process and retaining of defense counsel.
On August 29, 2008, Pellicano was found guilty of conspiracy to commit wiretapping. Specifically, Pellicano had recorded phone conversations of Kirk Kerkorian's ex-wife, Lisa Kerkorian, in an effort to disprove her claims that Kerkorian was the father of her daughter. Sentencing was scheduled for November, 2008 then deferred to December 15, 2008. Pellicano was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the majority of his convictions, overturning only two for aiding and abetting computer fraud and unauthorized computer access. The most serious convictions, for running a criminal enterprise, remain intact.
The investigation into Pellicano began after journalist Anita Busch found her car had been vandalized in 2002. The windshield was broken and a dead fish and rose were left along with a sign that said “STOP.” He is currently serving his time in a federal prison in Texas and is scheduled for release in 2019 at the age of 75.
Carradine and Stevens
On January 11, 2006, Pellicano's girlfriend Sandra Will Carradine (ex-wife of Keith Carradine) and veteran Beverly Hills police officer Craig Stevens pleaded guilty to lying about Pellicano's crimes.
Robert Joseph Pfeifer, at the time an executive at Hollywood Records, was a friend of Pellicano. Pfeifer was arrested on February 3, 2006, and charged with unlawful wiretapping and conspiracy. Pfeifer's then girlfriend, Erin Finn, assisted the FBI lead agent Stanley Ornellas in the investigation of Pfeifer and Pellicano.
On April 3, 2006, film director John McTiernan was charged with lying to the FBI about his relationship with Pellicano. On April 17, 2006, McTiernan pleaded guilty to the charge. On September 24, 2007, he was sentenced to four months in prison. The sentence was later increased to twelve months, and ultimately he was incarcerated in federal prison from April 2013 to February 2014.
Dennis Wasser represented Tom Cruise in his divorce proceedings against Nicole Kidman. Wasser retained Pellicano. Tapes of telephone conversations from 2001, made shortly after the announcement of the divorce, were found in Pellicano's offices in 2002. Wasser was not charged but was made a person of interest.
Bertram Fields, a lawyer for Tom Cruise and a client of Pellicano, denied any knowledge of Pellicano's crimes.
On May 28, 2004, Anita Busch, reporter for the Los Angeles Times, commenced a civil action against Pellicano, alleging harassment, including a death threat made in 2002:"In 2002 Anita Busch discovered a dead fish with a red rose in its mouth and a sign reading "stop" on the cracked windshield of her car. At the time she was writing about Steven Seagal and Mike Ovitz, both clients of Pellicano. The trail eventually led to his office where FBI agents discovered plastic explosives, grenades, pistols and about $200,000 in cash in Pellicano's safe. He pleaded guilty to weapons charges and went to prison."
Bonder and Kerkorian
The businessman Kirk Kerkorian was married to Lisa Bonder. In August 2006, attorneys acting for Bonder sued the attorneys acting for Kerkorian. They accused Kerkorian's attorneys of retaining Pellicano to wiretap telephone conversations between Bonder and Kerkorian to gain a tactical advantage in the divorce proceedings of Bonder and Kerkorian.
Pellicano investigated movie producer Steve Bing (a friend of Kerkorian). He took a strand of Bing's used dental floss to prove that Bing was the father of Bonder's daughter. Between June 2000 and August 2002, Bing paid Pellicano $335,000. Between April and May, 2002, Pellicano may have bragged to the attorney of Kerkorian that Bing had retained his services in relation to Bing being the father of Elizabeth Hurley's child. Bing, through his attorney Martin Singer, denied the fact, as did Pellicano.
Pellicano threatened financier Ron Burkle with extortion of $100,000 to $250,000 to avoid investigation by Michael Ovitz, another of his clients.
In July, 2006, New York Times reporter and lawyer Allison Weiner unsuccessfully attempted to interview Pellicano in jail by misrepresenting herself as his attorney.
During the night of November 27, 1997, a five-month-old girl disappeared from the home of her parents, Steven and Marlene Aisenberg. In 1999, Pellicano was an FBI wiretap consultant in the investigation of the Aisenbergs, who were charged with making false statements to police. In 2001, the charges were dismissed after county detectives lied about obtaining warrants to wiretap and lied about the content of the wiretap recordings.
Pellicano represented the Chicago mobster Anthony "the Ant" Spilotro, charged with monitoring the Las Vegas casino and skimming for the Chicago mob. Pellicano served a subpoena and gave a warning from Spilotro to Gustave Reininger, co-creator of the NBC television drama Crime Story.