Private spy to US stars gets 15 years in jail

December 16th, 2008 - 9:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Tom CruiseLos Angeles, Dec 16 (DPA) Former private eye Anthony Pellicano, who counted Hollywood stars among his clients and victims, was sentenced Monday to 15 years in jail for 78 counts of wiretapping, computer fraud and wire fraud.The sentence imposed by US District Court Judge Dale Fischer was much longer than the 70-month punishment recommended by the Probation Department. But prosecutors said the sleuth was charged with, and convicted of, only a fraction of the crimes he actually committed.

The sentence came at the end of a six-year saga that began when a journalist investigating former talent agent Michael Ovitz found a rose, a dead fish and a note saying “Stop” inside the smashed window of her car.

A police investigation led to Pellicano, and quickly revealed a string of illegal wiretapping offences.

Among Pellicano’s clients were Tom Cruise, Michael Jackson and Chris Rock, though they were never directly linked to any of his criminal activities.

Pellicano engaged in “reprehensible conduct for many years eagerly, maliciously and with great pride,” Judge Fischer said.

Defence lawyer Michael Artan promised to appeal his client’s “excessive” punishment.

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