LOS ANGELES -- Hollywood private eye Anthony Pelicano says he won't apologize to the people he spied on, though he does take responsibility for his actions.
Pellicano was sentenced Monday to 15 years in federal prison for running a wiretapping scheme that spied on the rich and famous. He aid in an interview Tuesday that he got 'careless' while digging up dirt on celebrities.
Prosecutors had asked in court papers that Pellicano be put behind bars for almost 16 years on grounds that the 78 convictions returned against him reflect only a small portion of his criminal enterprise.
U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer could have given Pellicano as little as 19 months, but she imposed a stiff 15-year term.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel A. Saunders, who prosecuted Pellicano in both trials, recommended the stiffer sentence, pointing to a racketeering enterprise that utilized bribes of both law enforcement and telephone company employees, intimidation tactics and wiretaps of "investigative targets" that included actors, screenwriters, Hollywood agents and journalists.
The list of those targets contains some familiar names: Sylvester Stallone; Garry Shandling and his former girlfriend, actress Linda Doucett; Kevin Nealon; Keith Carradine; the late producer Aaron Russo; and Anita Busch, former editor of the Hollywood Reporter.
His alleged clients were Hollywood's power brokers: entertainment lawyer Bert Fields; Paramount Pictures chief Brad Grey; producer-financier Steve Bing; entertainment czar Ron Meyer; former talent agent Michael Ovitz; ex-Madonna manager Freddy DeMann; and comedian Chris Rock.
According to prosecutors, many of Hollywood's wealthiest insiders used Pellicano for years to dig up dirt on enemies or to simply frighten them into backing down in business or personal situations.
Pellicano, 64, a Chicago native, has been in custody for five years. After being arrested in 2002, he pleaded guilty the following year to illegal possession of explosives and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.
Just before his release in 2004, he was indicted on federal racketeering and wiretapping charges for illegally snooping on celebrity enemies of his high-powered clients, a service for which he charged hundreds of thousands of dollars, Saunders said.
In that case, Pellicano and four co-defendants were found guilty of 76 felonies last May 15.
A second trial, with ex-entertainment industry attorney Terry Christensen as co-defendant, ended Aug. 28 with both men convicted of two counts each of conspiracy and wiretapping charges for bugging the phones of the ex-wife of MGM mogul Kirk Kerkorian during a bitter 2002 child support dispute that involved Bing.
Christensen, 68, was sentenced to three years in federal prison and fined $250,000 on Nov. 24, but allowed to remain free pending appeal.
Fischer also ordered Pellicano to pay a $7,800 fine, and she finalized a forfeiture amount of about $2 million to be seized from Pellicano and two co-defendants from the first trial.