Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Underside of Hollywood

While some claim there is nothing more vicious than faculty politics, in Hollywood they play for keeps by using some less-than-legal means to gather dirt on one another, something that is no doubt in almost endless supply.  The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California announced two plea agreements in its long-running investigation of private investigator Anthony Pellicano for using illegal wiretaps and accessing law enforcement data bases to gather information for his clients.  The case has now spread to the law firm of well-known entertainment lawyer Bert Fields, Greenberg, Glusker, Fields, Claman, Machtinger & Kinsella, which is linked to the misconduct of former Beverly Hills police officer Craig Stevens.  According to a press release (here) issued by the USAO:

Craig Stevens, 45, of Oak Park, appeared in federal court Monday afternoon and pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud for depriving the citizens of Beverly Hills of his honest services as a sworn police officer. Stevens also pleaded guilty to four counts of unauthorized access of protected computers to commit fraud. In pleading guilty to the unauthorized access counts, Stevens admitted that he used the Beverly Hills Police Department’s computers to obtain information about four individuals from the Department of Motor Vehicles and sold that information to Pellicano and his employees. Stevens also pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation when he denied that he had ever provided information to, or received payments from, Pellicano, when in fact he had repeatedly sold information to Pellicano.

The second case involves Sandra Carradine, former wife of actor Keith Carradine: " [A] former client of Pellicano, Sandra Will Carradine, a 58-year-old Carpenteria resident, pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts of perjury. Carradine, who hired Pellicano in relation to her divorce proceedings, admitted that during a grand jury appearance in October 2004 she lied when she denied having any knowledge that Pellicano had wiretapped her ex-husband’s phone." 

The law firm represented clients in the underlying litigation involved in the Stevens prosecution, and Fields is being represented by well-known white collar defense attorney John Keker, who denies that Fields or his firm had any knowledge of the wrongdoing by Pellicano or the other defendants.  Pellicano is currently serving a 30-month sentence in the Taft (Calif.) Correctional Institution (a private prison that houses federal prisoners) after pleading guilty to possession of dangerous materials after a search of his office in 2002 turned up, among other things, the plastic explosive C-4.  As the "PI to the Stars" -- not to be confused with those helpful maps sold along Sunset Blvd. -- Pellicano cultivated an image of knowing the underside of Hollywood.  He may be spending more time in an FCI in the near future, and could cause Bert Fields substantial problems in the process.  An L.A. Times story (here) discusses the plea agreements and investigation. (ph)

Corruption, Investigations, Prosecutions | Permalink

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