Private Detective Found Guilty Of Racketeering – 5/15/2008

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In his racketeering trial on April 30, 2008, Anthony Pellicano asserted to the jurors that he was not a criminal. According to Pellicano, he was a diligent “lone ranger” who worked in private and did not share information with his accomplices. A New York Times report claims that Pellicano referred to himself in the third person –after orders from Judge Dale Fischer- because he was representing himself.

In the strongest terms, Pellicano denied claims that he was running a criminal group and maintained that he conducted his investigations with professionalism. The private detective who was at the center of a wiretapping scandal was answering to allegations of racketeering and conspiracy charges.

“Pellicano alone is responsible,” he insisted. “That’s the simple truth.”

“He only allowed others to learn what he wanted them to,” he added. “He alone made all the decisions, protected all the secrets, and protected all the clients.”

Even though prosecutors had asserted that Pellicano was guilty, his swaggering show of courage was a strategy to make the jurors believe he was not running any criminal enterprise. Pellicano understood that his plea would be considered if he managed to convince the jurors that his co-defendants were not aware of how he was going to use the information they provided.

After nine days of deliberation, the jury returned its verdict. On May 15, 2008, the jury at the U.S District Court in Los Angeles convicted Anthony Pellicano of 76 out of 77 charges. He had been found guilty together with his accomplices. The four co-defendants were Mark Arneson, who was a former Los Angeles police detective; Ray Turner, who was a former telephone company worker; Kevin Kachikian, who was a computer expert; and Abner Nicherie, who was a business person. All of them had played a role in facilitating Pellicano’s process. They mostly helped him to in information gathering.

Mark Arneson admitted to illegally using law enforcement databases – hundreds of times- to collect information for Pellicano. Rayford Turner helped the detective to use wiretaps while Kevin Kachikian admitted to helping the detective design and build his eavesdropping system.

The 64-year-old private investigator had been found guilty of bugging the phones of some Hollywood celebrities, including Sylvester Stallone, Kevin Nealon, and Garry Shandling. He was also found guilty of using police records to carry out illegal background checks. The Hollywood investigator had for a long time been involved in ‘digging up dirt’ for his high-end clients. Pellicano serviced his customers with information that they used in business disputes, lawsuits, and divorces against the wealthy and famous people around Hollywood. 

Pellicano had been arrested back in 2002, after a probe involving Steven Seagal, who was one of his former clients. Agents searching the detective’s office stumbled upon two grenades and a plastic explosive. Pellicano served 30 months in prison for weapon offenses before being formally accused of racketeering and conspiracy. It is alleged that the detective’s arrest became a subject of intense speculation as big wigs became nervous of the result of his arrest. Luckily, he did not make any serious revelations.

In a separate trial, that took place in August 2008, Pellicano, along with Terry Christensen, who was the entertainment lawyer, were convicted of conspiring to tap the phones of the former wife of Kirk Kerkorian after a child-support dispute. 

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