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Celebrity private detective Anthony Pellicano found guilty

On this day in 2008, Los Angeles-based private investigator Anthony Pellicano is found guilty on charges of wiretapping and racketeering. Pellicano, who had an office on Sunset Boulevard, was considered a private eye and fixer for Hollywood’s elite. His clients included Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, and Courtney Love, among others. In 2006, he was indicted on over 100 counts of alleged racketeering, conspiracy, wire fraud, witness tampering, and identity theft. Pellicano represented himself at his trial.

On April 30, 2008, Pellicano addressed judge and jury. According to a report in the New York Times, he referred to himself in the third person, as Judge Dale Fischer had ordered him to do given that he was representing himself. He steadfastly denied that he was running a criminal enterprise, and maintained that he was acting as a lone private eye. “Pellicano alone is responsible. That’s the simple truth….He only allowed others to learn what he wanted them to. He alone made all the decisions, protected all the secrets, protected all the clients.”

The jury returned its verdict a little more than two weeks later, after nine days of deliberation. In addition to Pellicano, the jury also convicted his four co-defendants–the former L.A. police detective Mark Arneson, the former telephone company worker Ray Turner, the computer expert Kevin Kachikian and the businessman Abner Nicherie–all of whom were found to have played roles in the detective’s information-gathering methods. In a separate trial, Pellicano was convicted in August 2008 (along with the entertainment lawyer Terry Christensen) of conspiring to wiretap the phones of the ex-wife of the billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian during a child-support dispute.

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