Tuesday, December 16, 2008
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 15 -- Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison for running a wiretapping scheme that spied on the rich and famous.
U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer also ordered Pellicano, 64, and two other defendants to forfeit a total of $2 million. The PI was convicted of a combined 78 counts, including wiretapping, racketeering and wire fraud, in two separate trials earlier this year.
Pellicano showed no emotion when the sentence was read. "I have taken full and complete responsibility," he said.
Prosecutors said Pellicano wiretapped stars such as Sylvester Stallone and bribed police officers to run the names of comedians such as Garry Shandling through law enforcement databases to dig up dirt that clients could use in legal and other disputes.
In all, 14 people have been charged. Seven, including film director John McTiernan and former Hollywood Records president Robert Pfeifer, have pleaded guilty to charges including perjury and conspiracy.
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.
Major industry players with links to Pellicano, such as superagent Michael Ovitz, Paramount studio head Brad Grey and entertainment attorney Bert Fields, weren't charged in the case and maintained they didn't know about Pellicano's tactics.
Throughout the trial, prosecutors portrayed Pellicano as a well-connected thug who ran a lucrative business by charging clients a nonrefundable retainer that could reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. Pellicano acted as his own attorney and called only one witness. He kept his promise that he wouldn't give up information about his clients to save himself.