Sleuth to the Stars Gets 15-Year Sentence
If you wanted dirt on an ex-girlfriend, an old business associate or a nosy reporter in Hollywood, private eye Anthony Pellicano -- known as the "sin eater" -- was the go-to guy.
The Sicilian sleuth made a name for himself with his hardball style. In one notorious phone call with comedian Chris Rock, he told the actor, "You're not gonna get no blow to the career. It ain't gonna happen. I'm not gonna let it happen."
But after former Los Angeles Times entertainment reporter Anita Busch found a dead fish with a rose in its mouth on her car along with a sign that read "stop" in 2002, authorities began looking more closely at Pellicano. Busch had been reporting about one of Pellicano's clients, agent Michael S. Ovitz.
Pellicano, 64, was sentenced to 15 years in prison today for illegally wiretapping people for his famous clients and bribing police officers and other public officials for inside information. Earlier this year, he was found guilty in two different trials on 78 charges, including wiretapping, racketeering and wire fraud. He and two co-defendants were also ordered to pay a fine of $2 million.
U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer said Pellicano displayed "reprehensible" conduct. Her sentence far exceeded the nearly six-year sentence that was recommended by probation officials. "He did this eagerly, sometimes maliciously, and with pride," Fischer said.
After the fish incident, federal authorities investigated Pellicano's activities for three years. An indictment was unsealed in February 2006, just days after he completed a 2 1/2-year prison sentence for possessing illegal weapons.
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 and could reach hundreds of thousands of dollars," The Associated Press reported. He'll be eligible for parole in 2018.
By Derek Kravitz |
December 16, 2008; 12:30 PM ET
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