Anthony Pellicano (born March 22, 1944, in Chicago, Illinois) is a former high-profile Los Angeles private investigator who recently served a sentence of three and a half years in federal prison for illegal possession of explosives, firearms and homemade grenades, and who was arrested on February 4, 2006, on unlawful wiretapping and racketeering charges.
On May 15th, 2008, after acting as his own lawyer and suffering a nine day jury deliberation, Pellicano was found guilty on 76 of 77 counts related to racketeering, along with four co-defendants. However, a parade of wealthy witnesses admitted they knew about, paid for and listened to wiretaps, but were not charged. They included Alec Gores, a billionaire corporate buyout specialist; Freddy DeMann, a music executive who was once Madonna’s manager; Adam D. Sender, a hedge fund manager and onetime movie investor; and Andrew Stevens, an actor turned movie producer. Summing up, the prosecuting attorney stated that he chose to attack the supply rather than the demand, the way that vice investigators attack pimps and prostitutes rather than johns, because “that’s how you make a dent in it.” The johns in this case were the likes of Bert Fields, Brad Grey, Ron Meyer, Michael Ovitz and Chris Rock, all of whom paid Pellicano for services rendered. “If the government has no plans to go higher than Pellicano, this is a depressingly pedestrian effort that shows a lack of ambition,” commented John C. Coffee , a professor at Columbia Law School and an expert on white-collar crime, as quoted in the NY Times story on the verdict.
In a subsequent six-week Federal Court trial, Pellicano was convicted of wiretapping and conspiracy to commit wiretapping. Facing 78 guilty counts,and not being allowed to co-serve his two convictions, Pellicano was sentenced in December 2008 to 15 additional years in prison, and ordered (with two other defendants) to forfeit $2 million.