Hollywood's favourite private eye goes to jail

Andrew Gumbel
Sunday 25 January 2004 01:00

Anthony Pellicano, the private investigator who became rich and notorious with his unorthodox approach to representing Hollywood movie stars, has been sentenced to 30 months behind bars.

The sentence, the result of a plea bargain struck in November, is for possession of hand grenades and plastic explosives found in Pellicano's office safe during a police raid 14 months ago.

The 59-year-old investigator is also in trouble over threats made to aLos Angeles Timesreporter. And he is the subject of an investigation into illegal wire-tapping.

The precipitous fall of a man who once represented Michael Jackson, Sylvester Stallone and Bill Clinton began with the 2002 arrest of a hoodlum called Alexander Proctor, who told investigators he had been hired by Pellicano to intimidate the LA Times journalist Anita Busch, over her reports into alleged links between Steven Seagal, the action star, and the Gambino mafia family.

Ms Busch found a dead fish and a rose on the windscreen of her car, as well as a note that read "Stop!" Police raided Pellicano's Sunset Boulevard office, finding the explosives and grenades and also seizing his computers, which appear to have contained transcripts suspected of being culled from wire-taps.

At his sentencing, Pellicano's lawyer sought to avoid a $6,000 fine, saying that his client had no money. Prosecutor Kevin Lally argued that exempting Pellicano would make a mockery of the justice system.

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