(FROM AP) — Notorious Hollywood private investigator Anthony Pellicano was convicted on Thursday of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud, identity theft, and other crimes, stemming from incidents in which he is said to have attempted to eavesdrop on and ruin the names of several entertainment luminaries. Pellicano had 77 federal counts against him, and he was found guilty on all but one, a charge of unauthorized computer access. Each of the racketeering counts carries a 20-year maximum prison sentence; most of the other crimes equal a maximum of five years behind bars each. Sentencing was set for Sept. 24, and Pellicano will remain in custody.
Pellicano had been accused of eavesdropping on a number of celebrities, including Sylvester Stallone, and he was suspected of attempting to sully the reputations of entertainers like Garry Shandling and Kevin Nealon. Also linked in the case were some of the industry’s highest-ranking power players, such as studio executive Brad Grey, former talent agent Michael Ovitz, and lawyer Bert Fields, all of whom supposedly employed Pellicano but were never charged with a crime.
The verdict is the latest development in a long-running Los Angeles scandal that has played out like a Hollywood movie — a thriller filled with sex, deception, and surveillance. The trial has proceeded over the past several weeks in Los Angeles, with Pellicano representing himself and a parade of famous faces taking the witness stand. In one notable instance, comedian Chris Rock uncomfortably faced questions about how he hired Pellicano to deal with a model who was allegedly trying to shake him down. (AP via Yahoo!)