Former PI to the stars Anthony Pellicano was released today from the Taft Correctional Institution near Bakersfield, immediately taken into federal custody and moved to San Bernardino County's jail pending his arraignment Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court here, Reuters says. Sealed charges grow out of a federal wiretapping investigation.
The former private detective whose clients have included Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Michael Jackson, has been quoted as vowing never to betray his high-profile clients.
Still, a number of Hollywood heavyweights have answered questions from federal agents or appeared before the grand jury that conducted the investigation, among them Paramount Pictures Group Chairman Brad Grey, Universal Studios President Ron Meyer and veteran entertainment lawyer Bert Fields.
The scope of the charges will reveal whether federal prosecutors believe he acted at the behest of powerful Hollywood clients willing to eavesdrop on their enemies.
The wiretap probe was triggered in 2002 by accusations that Pellicano had tried to intimidate reporter Anita Busch, then working for the Los Angeles Times, to keep her from pursing stories about a suspected Mafia extortion plot against actor Steven Seagal.
Pellicano, 61, served 2½ years for firearms violations.
* Also arrested: Robert Joseph Pfeifer, a Pellicano friend and former president of Disney-owned Hollywood Records, was taken into federal custody Friday, the Times reports Sunday.