Imprisoned private eye-to-the stars Anthony Pellicano is scheduled to be re-sentenced Monday after a federal appeals court tossed his computer fraud convictions.
Operating out of an office on the Sunset Strip, Pellicano, now 73, was hired for decades by some of Hollywood’s wealthiest deal-makers to dig up dirt on their own or clients’ enemies.
As detailed in the first trial, Pellicano’s clients included Hollywood power brokers such as entertainment lawyer Bert Fields, Paramount Pictures chief Brad Grey, producer-financier Steve Bing, entertainment czar Ron Meyer, talent agent and one-time Disney chief Michael Ovitz, Madonna manager Freddy DeMann and comedian Chris Rock.
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco two years ago upheld Pellicano’s 2008 racketeering convictions, but vacated guilty verdicts for aiding and abetting computer fraud and unauthorized computer access counts, based on what the panel found to be faulty jury instructions.
As a result, the appeals court vacated Pellicano’s 15-year-sentence and ordered the case back to U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer in Los Angeles federal court for re-sentencing.
Prosecutors are asking Fischer to re-impose the 180-month sentence. They argue that although the appeals panel decreased the total number of convictions, it left intact all of the fundamental sentencing considerations that served as the basis for the original prison sentence.
Pellicano appears to be representing himself. In a letter filed with the court, he asks to appear at the hearing via video conference. His release date is listed as March 2019.
Pellicano is serving his 15-year sentence in the low-security federal penitentiary on Terminal Island for his convictions, in two trials, on 78 felony racketeering, conspiracy and wiretapping counts for bugging the telephones of celebrities, attorneys and executives.
Five other defendants were convicted of multiple offenses stemming from what the appeals court described as a “widespread criminal enterprise offering illegal private investigation services in Southern California.”
The panel also overturned computer fraud convictions for Mark Arneson, a former Los Angeles police officer who Pellicano bribed for confidential information, and for phone technician Rayford Turner.
But the court affirmed the wiretapping convictions and three-year sentence of former entertainment lawyer Terry Christensen.
A raft of civil lawsuits against Pellicano and the companies and agencies he corrupted have made their way their way through the courts over the past nine years.
–City News Service