Anthony Pellicano and Hollywood's rich and famous

Private investigator Anthony Pellicano was the architect of a corrupt, criminal enterprise that spied on Hollywood's rich and famous and was fueled by greed, a federal prosecutor said Thursday during opening statements in the wiretapping trial.
"This is a case about corruption," Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Lally said while laying out the government's case against Pellicano and four co-defendants.
Clients "would pay a premium fee to discredit, and in some cases destroy, their adversaries," he said.Pellicano, 63, is accused of running a criminal enterprise that wiretapped phones and bribed police and telephone workers.Pellicano is acting as his own attorney and indicated he would give an opening statement.
Pellicano wore a prison-issued green jacket, gray shirt and green pants. As Lally spoke, the balding private eye watched through glasses with his head rested on his hand.He could provide some fireworks for the eight-man, four-woman jury when he cross-examines some of his former clients and employees who are expected to testify.
Federal prosecutors have released a list of 127 potential witnesses in the case that included Sylvester Stallone, Chris Rock and Garry Shandling. It was not clear, however, how many people would actually testify.The trial is expected to last about 10 weeks.One of the first witnesses will be retired baseball player Matt Williams, who had a bitter divorce battle in 2002 with his second wife, actress Michelle Johnson.Prosecutors said in a court filing they have an audio recording of Williams and Pellicano but didn't elaborate on its content.Prosecutors estimate Pellicano, retired Los Angeles police Sgt. Mark Arneson and former telephone company employee Rayford Earl Turner collected nearly $2 million from what they say was a racketeering scheme."At the end of the day I hope the jurors understand one thing - that I'm not a criminal enterprise," Pellicano told The Associated Press in an interview last month from federal prison. "If they understand that I'm ecstatic."
Pellicano and his co-defendants, including Kevin Kachikian and Abner Nicherie, have pleaded not guilty.Fourteen people have been charged, and seven already pleaded guilty to a variety of charges including perjury and conspiracy. Six of those seven, including film director John McTiernan and former Hollywood Records president Robert Pfeifer, were expected to be called as witnesses.Other prominent Hollywood players on the potential witness list include one- time Walt Disney Co. (DIS) president and agent Michael Ovitz; Brad Grey, chairman and chief executive officer of Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc. (VIA); and Ron Meyer, president and chief executive officer of Universal Studios, a unit of NBC studios, which is a unit of General Electric Co. (GE).Stallone and Shandling were alleged victims in the case.Federal authorities previously questioned Ovitz, Grey and Meyer about their connections to Pellicano. Representatives of Rock retained Pellicano in a paternity battle, according to court documents.

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