The scandal surrounding Anthony Pellicano — an investigator to the stars who’s been accused of bugging phones to help lawyers win cases for celebrity clients — gained momentum on April 3, when Die Hard director John McTiernan was charged with lying to the feds about his connections to the wiretapping case. Part Survivor (who’ll be evicted from Hollywood’s power elite next?), part Law & Order (Jack McCoy would have ”The Pelican” in tears), here’s why this unraveling spectacle of schadenfreude is so important.
1. As Hollywood’s most powerful private investigator, Pellicano shielded Hollywood careers and reputations before going to jail in November 2003 for weapons possession. Turns out the secret to his success may’ve been wiretapping, and police reportedly confiscated hundreds of hours of recorded phone conversations from his office. (Pellicano has pleaded not guilty to charges against him.)
2. The McTiernan development only adds to the growing paranoia among high-profile Hollywood types, since he had not been previously linked to the case. If he can be implicated (arraignment is set for April 17), then who knows who’s next? Rumors are swirling that another major figure could be named any day now.
3. Divorce was Pellicano’s subspecialty: Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian’s lawyer was indicted on wiretapping and conspiracy charges related to Kerkorian’s divorce, and Keith Carradine sued Pellicano in March for allegedly tapping his phones during his divorce. One report even suggests that Pellicano recorded Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s presplit chats.