Celebrity Wiretapping

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Sylvester Stallone, comic Garry Shandling and former Saturday Night Live cast member Kevin Nealon all made guest appearances this week in what could become Hollywood's biggest thriller of the year: the 60-page wiretapping indictment against former showbiz private investigator Anthony Pellicano. The ex-P.I., who previously worked for celebrities including Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson, was released from prison last week after serving 30 months on unrelated federal weapons violations. In the latest case, he's charged with allegedly paying off two former police officers to access confidential FBI databases and DMV records. Some of the illegally obtained material was later allegedly used to engage in various surveillance operations, with three Pellicano clients, as well as a SBC phone company technician, also facing charges.

According to the indictment, which was unsealed Monday, Pellicano bribed the cops to uncover information on Shandling, Nealon, actress Darcy LaPier, former New York Times Hollywood reporter Bernard Weinraub, and Creative Artists Agency executives Kevin Huvane and Bryan Lourd, among others. In addition, Pellicano and his associates allegedly wiretapped the phones of Stallone, real estate mogul Robert Maguire, Herbalife co-founder Mark Hughes, Scary Movie executive producer Bo Zenga, Deadwood actor Keith Carradine, Farrah Fawcett Majors ex-boyfriend James Orr, and former Los Angeles Times reporter Anita Busch.

In discussing the Pellicano indictment with reporters, acting U.S. Attorney George S. Cardona said the case represented "a serious incursion into many folks' right to privacy" that "we take very seriously." Pellicano and the others charged pleaded not guilty on Monday, with a trial date of April 4th set for the P.I. who once rubbed shoulders with Hollywood's elite. Some of those same A-listers, including studio executives and L.A. lawyers, could soon be joining him in legal hot water. According to a source closely involved with the unfolding drama, "this is just the beginning. There are more indictments to come."