Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Anthony Pellicano gets 15 years for using illegal snooping to help clients gain advantage in court

Pellicano Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison
New York Times
December 15, 2008

LOS ANGELES — Anthony Pellicano, a private investigator whose client list once included many Hollywood stars, was sentenced on Monday to 15 years in prison for his role in an illegal wiretapping enterprise.

The sentence, from Judge Dale S. Fischer of Federal District Court, was in line with what prosecutors had recommended. Mr. Pellicano, 64, already in custody, was found guilty in two different trials earlier this year on 78 charges, including wiretapping, racketeering and wire fraud. He and his two co-defendants were also ordered to pay a fine of $2 million...

The investigation of Mr. Pellicano began when an entertainment journalist, Anita M. Busch, was threatened in June 2002 by an associate of the private investigator after she wrote damaging articles about Michael S. Ovitz, once a prominent talent agent.

The investigation into the threat, which uncovered Mr. Pellicano’s wiretapping, seized Hollywood’s imagination with courtroom testimony revealing stars like Chris Rock as the beneficiaries of Mr. Pellicano’s illicit trade and other stars like Sylvester Stallone the victims. Ultimately, however, few industry players were charged.

Mr. Pellicano still must contend with a number of civil lawsuits that were delayed during the criminal proceedings. Those cases largely involve victims of wiretapping seeking damages for incidents in which private conversations were recorded.

Ms. Busch spoke at the sentencing, bitterly outlining the suffering that she said Mr. Pellicano caused her. “I no longer had my career, my peace of mind,” she said...

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