Friday, May 16, 2008

GUILTY Of Illegal Dirt-Digging!!!!


Anthony Pellicano, 64, was accused of wiretapping stars such as Sylvester Stallone, and running the names of others, such as Garry Shandling and Kevin Nealon, through law enforcement databases to help clients in legal and other disputes.

Pellicano was found guilty of all but one of the 77 counts against him. He looked at the judge with his arms crossed and didn't react when verdicts were read.

The jury found him guilty of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy, along with wire fraud, identity theft, conspiracy to intercept or use wire communications and manufacture or possession of a wiretapping device. He was acquitted of a charge of unauthorized computer access.

Co-defendants Mark Arneson, a former Los Angeles police sergeant, and former telephone company worker Rayford Earl Turner were also convicted of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy counts.

Fourteen people were charged and seven, including film director John McTiernan and former Hollywood Records president Robert Pfeifer, have pleaded guilty to charges including perjury and conspiracy.

But the biggest power brokers with links to Pellicano, such as famed entertainment attorney Bert Fields, Paramount studio head Brad Grey and one-time superagent Michael Ovitz, insisted they didn't know about his methods and weren't charged.

Pellicano acted as his own attorney but called only one witness and rarely raised objections. The private eye decided against taking the witness stand to defend himself and kept true to his promise that he wouldn't betray the trust of his clients.

Jurors watched as an uncomfortable Chris Rock testified about a model he believed was trying to shake him down. They saw a confounded Shandling study his name on a police records audit, and a stoic Ovitz recount how he had hired Pellicano to find the source of negative news stories about a company he was selling.

Jurors had been urged not to get caught up in the glitz and glamor of the case. "This case is about corruption, about cheating, greed, arrogance and the perversion of the justice system. It just happened to take place in Hollywood," the prosecutor said.

During his closing argument, Pellicano insisted he shared no information with colleagues as he conducted investigations and allowed others to learn only what he wanted them to know. "There was no criminal enterprise or conspiracy. Mr. Pellicano alone is responsible. That is the simple truth," he told jurors, referring to himself in the third person as court rules require for people who act as their own attorney.

Throughout the trial, prosecutors portrayed Pellicano as a well-connected thug who ran a lucrative business by charging clients a nonrefundable retainer fee that started at $25,000.

They played a number of profanity laced recordings between Pellicano and his clients, including one with Rock, who hired the private eye to investigate a model who demanded money after claiming she was pregnant with his baby. The actor-comedian said he hired Pellicano through his attorney and did not know about his tactics.

In most of the tapes played in court, Pellicano reassures his clients that he would make their problems go away but told them not to divulge what he had disclosed.

Attorneys for Pellicano's co-defendants also pleaded ignorance and tried to distance their clients from Pellicano, painting him as ultra-secretive.

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