Notorious Hollywood fixer Anthony Pellicano released from prison on 75th birthday – Los Angeles Times

Notorious Hollywood fixer Anthony Pellicano released from prison on 75th birthday - Los Angeles Times

Notorious Hollywood Fixer Anthony Pellicano to Be Released From Prison

Homepage Local Earthquakes Data Desk California Times OC California Journal Education Readers Representative Journal Local + L.A. Now Politics Business Company Town Autos Michael Hiltzik Consumer Confidential Business + Auto + Nation Politics Entertainment Arts & Culture Hero Complex Movies Television Music Gossip Envelope TV Listings Entertainment + Opinion Op-Ed Opinion L.A. Editorials Readers React Top of the Ticket Endorsements Food Sports Sports Now Dodgers Lakers USC UCLA Clippers Rams Chargers Boxing & MMA High School Varsity Times Angels Kings Soccer Ducks Olympics MLB NBA NFL More Sports World Afghanistan & Pakistan Africa Asia Brazil Europe Mexico & The Americas Middle East Obituaries Real Estate Hot Property California Living Fashion Health & Wellness L.A. Affairs Pets Home & Garden Books Health + Living Plus + Technology Science Science Now Travel Cruises Mexico & Latin America Theme Parks Travel + Visuals Graphics L.A. Times en Español Sabor EEUU Entretenimiento Internacional México Política Vida y Estilo Deportes E-Newspaper Design LA Extras Find/Post a job Games Comics Shop Los Angeles Times Archives Los Angeles Times Store Los Angeles Times Photos Local Ads Marketplace About Press Releases Staff Directory Search xml:space=”preserve”> Local Politics Sports Entertainment Opinion L.A. Now Local Notorious Hollywood fixer Anthony Pellicano released from prison on 75th birthday By Alejandra Reyes-Velarde Mar 22, 2019 | 11:50 AM Anthony Pellicano appears in court in 2009. (Los Angeles Times) It was one of the biggest scandals ever to hit Hollywood: a private investigator using wiretaps to secretly gather the secrets of celebrities and entertainment titans.

Anthony Joseph Pellicano turned 75 on Friday — and now he will be a free man for the first time in 15 years on Saturday.  

Gene Maddaus Senior Media Writer @GeneMaddaus FOLLOW Gene's Most Recent Stories Hollywood Fixer Anthony Pellicano Released From Federal Prison ‘Leaving Neverland’ Lawsuit Proves to Be a Judicial Hot Potato Florida Man Pleads Guilty in CNN Pipe Bomb Case View All Facebook Twitter Reddit Email Show more sharing options LinkedIn WhatsApp Print Pin It Tumblr CREDIT: Nick Ut/AP/REX/Shutterstock Anthony Pellicano, the Hollywood private eye whose wiretapping case riveted the industry a decade ago, was released from a federal prison on Friday, a prison spokeswoman confirmed.

Hollywood Fixer Anthony Pellicano Released From Federal Prison

The notorious Hollywood fixer will be released from Terminal Island Federal Correctional Institution in San Pedro, California, where he has spent more than a decade behind bars after being convicted on 78 counts of wiretapping and racketeering, among other charges.

In 2006, he was indicted on 110 counts, which alleged a widespread scheme of wiretapping and conducting illegal background checks. His 2008 trial featured testimony from Ovitz, Grey, attorney Bert Fields, producer Charles Roven and comedians Chris Rock and Garry Shandling. Pellicano represented himself at trial. After 10 days of deliberation, he was convicted on 76 of 77 counts.

In his heyday, the ruthless former private eye (prison No. 21568-112) was a tremendous asset to the rich and famous. His clientele included the likes of the late Elizabeth Taylor, Tom Cruise, Sylvester Stallone, Roseanne Barr, Courtney Love, CAA co-founder Michael Ovitz and many more.

“On the contrary, the recordings seized from defendant’s computers reflect the utter enjoyment that he experienced as he invaded every facet of his investigative target’s lawfully protected privacy, speaking derisively about his victims and cackling about how he intended to destroy them,” the prosecutors wrote.

He made a name for himself with his initial practice in Chicago, and also by defending the late auto executive John DeLorean, who was brought up on cocaine distribution charges in 1982. (DeLorean's life is the focus of an upcoming film, Framing John DeLorean, starring Alec Baldwin as the innovative, but deeply flawed inventor who died in 2005.)

Pellicano bribed phone company employees and LAPD and Beverly Hills police officers in order to access confidential information. The government alleged that Pellicano’s enterprise went far beyond the charges presented in court, and that he made millions of dollars by illegally violating his targets’ privacy.

At the height of his dealings in Tinseltown, Pellicano was hired by Michael Jackson (through lawyers) after the late pop superstar was first accused of child molestation in 1993. And with renewed interest in the Jackson scandal thanks to the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland, the former private eye may get yet another offer for a hefty payday. Why? He seems to know a lot; far more disturbing details than what has been reported, which is why he "fired" Jackson, he told The Hollywood Reporter in a jailhouse interview last year. 

Pellicano was sentenced in 2008 to 15 years, following his conviction on 78 charges of wiretapping, racketeering, conspiracy and wire fraud. He had been in custody since 2003, and was most recently serving his sentence at Terminal Island Federal Correctional Institution in San Pedro, a low security facility.

"I was offered $500,000 to tell the whole story by a tabloid, and I declined, even though, while incarcerated, I needed the money," he told THR. He declined to answer any other questions regarding the Jackson saga. "All of that would get too close to the truth, so, regretfully, I have to decline," he said then. 

Pellicano worked for some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Michael Ovitz, Brad Grey and Michael Jackson. In 2002, federal agents raided his office and discovered practice grenades and C-4 explosives. Pellicano was arrested and served 30 months for possession of dangerous materials.

When Pellicano was the man to go to for cover or salacious dirt, the PI charged a nonrefundable retainer of $25,000 on top of added fees (which could reach hundreds of thousands of dollars) and, of course, expenses.

At the time, Busch had been investigating a story about actor Steven Seagals Mafia ties, when she walked out of her home one morning to find a bullet hole through her windscreen, a dead fish with a rose in its mouth on the bonnet, and the word Stop written on a piece of cardboard.

Among those who testified during Pellicano's trial (he represented himself) was the former Paramount chief, the late Brad Grey. "He often told me that he, and others, were so glad that there was someone like me to go to," he told THR of Grey, who died of cancer in May 2017. "They needed someone like me, someone who would take up the battle for them, who would do what needed to be done to prevail."

We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. Well ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.

Despite his vast knowledge of Hollywood elite's darkest secrets, Pellicano refused in 2018 to spill any information ("omerta" is the vow of loyalty he took to clients), which even included who was the owner of the C-4 and two grenades found his in office when the FBI raided the Sunset Boulevard location in November 2002. 

"I got convicted of committing crimes I did not commit," he told THR then. "I had to listen to testimony of those who got up on the stand and lied. I changed a lot of lives for the better, helped a whole lot of people who were all grateful at the time. That's what I kept in mind as I took all the heat — alone. As things got troublesome for me, they all took off for the hills."

In 1993, following the first accusation of child molestation against Michael Jackson, the singer hired Pellicano to source information to better his standings at trial (Pellicano pictured left leaving the courtroom of Jacksons trial in 1993)

As for getting back into the business, Pellicano did not rule it out. In fact, it may be easier than ever with seemingly everyone more exposed by offering so much information on social media, a tool he did not have at his disposal.

He was sentenced to 30 months in prison on weapons charges, but in 2006, just weeks before his scheduled release, Pellicano was held on an additional 70 charges of racketeering, wire fraud and wiretapping, which he was convicted of in 2008.

"Were I tempted to engage in any type of investigative business, I would find it easier, especially the business of 'data mining,' which I was way ahead of the pack in doing long before the government caught on," Pellicano said last year. "When I finally walk out the door, free except for the supervised release process of three years, then I may take a look at what I can do … or not."

The FBI raided Pellicanos office in November 2002, where they found grenades and C4 explosives in his safe which they believed were connected to threats directed at journalist Anita Busch. Pellicano (shown in 2002) denied any involvement

Posted in Hollywood