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Hollywood Private Eye Pellicano Indicted

February 6, 2006 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Celebrity private eye Anthony Pellicano was charged Monday with wiretapping such stars as Sylvester Stallone and Keith Carradine and bribing a police officer for dirt on Hollywood figures.

Pellicano, 61, pleaded not guilty to racketeering, interception of electronic communications and other offenses. He was charged along with a Los Angeles police officer and a telephone company employee in an indictment unsealed Monday.

``These charges allege a disturbing pattern of criminal conduct in which money flowed freely to encourage sworn law enforcement officers to violate their oath to uphold the law,″ Acting U.S. Attorney George Cardona said.


The indictment said the information gathered was used for threats, blackmail and in some cases to secure ``tactical advantage in litigation.″ But prosecutors would not elaborate. At least in some cases, Pellicano was hired by clients to collect the material, according to the indictment.

Pellicano has worked for a galaxy of Hollywood stars, including Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Stallone. High-profile lawyers and agents also have enlisted his services.

The private investigator was released Friday from a federal prison after completing a 2 1/2-year sentence for possessing illegal weapons. He was transferred to San Bernardino County Jail. His trial on the new charges was set for April 4.

Before he went to prison, Pellicano said he would not cooperate in the wiretapping probe and would protect his clients’ confidentiality.

His attorney, Steven Gruel, would not comment directly on the charges but said the timing was an ``odd coincidence,″ since Pellicano was about to get out from prison.

The indictment said Mark Arneson, a veteran police sergeant, received at least $189,000 from Pellicano to search law enforcement databases for ``confidential, embarrassing or incriminating″ information. More than 60 people were run through police databases, including comedians Garry Shandling and Kevin Nealon, the indictment said.

According to the indictment, Rayford Earl Turner, an employee of SBC and Pacific Bell at the time, received at least $36,655 from Pellicano ``for the purpose of obtaining proprietary telephone company information and facilitating illegal wiretaps.″ Turner retired in 2001.

The indictment also charged Robert Pfeifer, former president of Hollywood Records, with wiretapping. His lawyer denied any wrongdoing on Pfeifer’s part.

Previously, a former Beverly Hills police officer arrested in the investigation pleaded guilty to fraud and unauthorized computer access.

Pellicano helped automaker John DeLorean win acquittal on cocaine trafficking charges in the early 1980s and was hired by Michael Jackson to fight child molestation claims in 1993.

Pellicano’s troubles began in 2002 when, prosecutors claim, he hired Alexander Proctor to threaten Anita Busch, a Los Angeles Times reporter working on a story about actor Steven Seagal and possible links to the Mafia.

Proctor allegedly placed a dead fish with a rose in its mouth on Busch’s car, made a bullet-sized hole in the windshield, and left a sign with the word ``stop.″

Pellicano and Proctor are charged with conspiracy and making criminal threats. Proctor is serving a 10-year prison term in Illinois on unrelated drug charges.