Hollywood detective faces life in prison over wiretaps

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The Independent US

Anthony Pellicano, the Hollywood detective who was convicted after a nine-week trial on 76 counts ranging from illicitly wiretapping stars to running their names through police databases, could be jailed for the rest of his life when sentenced later this year.

Pellicano, whose speciality was digging up dirt on other people for his A-list clients, was found guilty by a jury of 12 late on Thursday of all but one of the charges against him. Judge Dale Fischer ordered him returned to prison pending a sentencing hearing on 24 September.

The verdict brought to a close a trial that had gripped most of Hollywood, with appearances on the stand of several stars who were once the defendant's clients, including Chris Rock, Gary Shandling and Michael Ovitz, a former talent agent and Hollywood powerhouse.

Yesterday the film-making community was glad it was over. "We are certainly relieved," said Keith Carradine, the actor whose phones were wire-tapped by Pellicano in May 2001, according to prosecutors. "We're grateful the jury came to the right conclusion. We had our lives broken into."

The government was also celebrating a victory scored after an investigation that began six years ago when an entertainment journalist, Anita Busch, was threatened after writing an unflattering article about Mr Ovitz.

"The full story of Pellicano's reach has yet to be told," Ms Busch said in a statement after the verdict came in. "To Pellicano and his wealthy clients 'winning' meant completely obliterating someone's life and livelihood."