- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 9, 2006

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Celebrity private eye Anthony Pellicano conspired with mobsters to “hit” an associate who authorities say was hired to threaten a Los Angeles Times reporter, federal prosecutors said in court documents.

Investigators working on a sweeping wiretapping probe obtained “corroborated information” that Mr. Pellicano recently sought a hit on Alexander Proctor, who is charged alongside Mr. Pellicano with threatening reporter Anita Busch in 2002, according to the documents.

Prosecutors say Mr. Pellicano wanted to hit Mr. Proctor to prevent him from testifying against him in the Busch case. The reporter was working on a story about actor Steven Seagal and possible links to the Mafia in 2002 when she found a dead fish on her car and a note reading: stop.

The timing and nature of the hit on Mr. Proctor were not revealed in the court documents filed Monday, and Mr. Pellicano has not been charged in connection with it.

In the court documents, however, prosecutors noted the recent accusations were “the subject of an ongoing investigation that might result in additional criminal charges.”

The documents were filed in opposition to a demand by Pellicano’s lawyers that prosecutors hand over additional evidence in the wiretapping case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Saunders complained to a judge last week about leaks and said he would delay filing grand jury transcripts and other crucial documents to prevent the details from getting out.

Mr. Pellicano has pleaded not guilty to charges he wiretapped dozens of people, including Hollywood celebrities such as actor Sylvester Stallone, to gain legal advantage for his clients.

Mr. Pellicano’s attorney, Steven Gruel, said he learned about the new accusations Friday but had not received any specific evidence from the government.

“I haven’t seen one piece of evidence to support the claim,” Mr. Gruel said yesterday. “It’s one thing to say it, it’s another thing to prove it.”

Fourteen persons have been charged so far in the wiretapping probe, which began when an FBI informant turned over a tape on which Mr. Proctor boasted of working for Mr. Pellicano. Federal authorities used the recording to obtain a warrant to search Pellicano’s office in November 2002.

That search led investigators to “Die Hard” director John McTiernan, who pleaded guilty in April to making false statements to an FBI agent, and former Hollywood Records President Robert Pfeifer, who admitted hiring Mr. Pellicano to wiretap the phone of his former girlfriend as part of a legal dispute.

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