By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 4, 2008
A longtime FBI agent has been accused of accessing bureau computers to help high-profile Los Angeles private investigator Anthony Pellicano in his recent federal trial on wiretapping and racketeering charges, according to charging documents and law enforcement officials familiar with the case.
Mark T. Rossini, 47, who lives in New York, was charged Monday in U.S. District Court here with five misdemeanor counts of illegally accessing computers at the bureau's headquarters between January and July 2007. Officials say he was searching for reports dealing with Pellicano.
The charges come in what's known as a "criminal information," which can be filed only with a defendant's consent and generally signals a plea deal is near. Rossini is scheduled to appear at a hearing on Monday. Rossini's status at the bureau could not be determined. His lawyer did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Rossini's girlfriend, the actress Linda Fiorentino, known for her role in "The Last Seduction," has personal ties to Pellicano, according to law enforcement officials.
In May, Pellicano was convicted by a federal jury in Los Angeles of conspiring to run a criminal enterprise that employed illegal wiretaps to dig up dirt on the rich and famous on behalf of his elite Hollywood clients. Pellicano is awaiting sentencing for convictions on those 76 counts, as well as for convictions in August in a separate trial for wiretapping and conspiracy to commit wiretapping.
In court filings in March 2007, Pellicano's lawyers reference obtaining an FBI report that they said prosecutors should have turned over to them during pretrial discovery. The report raised questions about an FBI agent's credibility, the lawyers wrote. A law enforcement official said Rossini was the source of that document.
The charges were first reported Tuesday by TickletheWire.com, a Web site that reports on federal law enforcement news.