In an interview with Patterico blogger Patrick Frey, the victim of the dead-fish incident that helped spur the Anthony Pellicano prosecution voices concerns about ties between the convicted private eye and the Los Angeles Times, her former employer. Anita Busch recalls a meeting where newsroom lawyer Karlene Goller said the paper had used Pellicano's services and suggested doing so again. Busch also calls on the paper to investigate stories about the Pellicano case by reporter Chuck Philips. He has admitted using Pellicano as a source and attended the private eye's wedding, and Busch describes occasions where she thought Philips' reporting on Pellicano veered into carrying water. Busch observes that Philips attended yesterday's verdict reading but did not take notes and his byline did not appear on the Times' story. (Busch also attended, handing out a statement.) Her accusations are intriguing given Philips' role in the paper's recent Sean Combs-Tupac Shakur fiasco. From Patterico:
I called Ms. Busch this evening and she elaborated on the Chuck Philips angle. She told me that when she received a dead fish, a rose, and a note that said “Stop” on her windshield — a threat for which Pellicano was later indicted — a lawyer at the L.A. Times suggested that the paper investigate the matter internally, with the help of . . . Anthony Pellicano.
When evidence later emerged connecting Pellicano to the threat, Busch told me, she became convinced that Pellicano had relationships inside the newspaper that were at odds with her position. “I came to realize that there was something amiss inside the L.A. Times with Anthony Pellicano, and it became prudent for me to find out what the hell was going on inside my newspaper.”
“The newspaper needs to look at every story that Chuck Philips has written about the Pellicano case,” Busch told me. “FBI agent Stan Ornellas, who had investigated Pellicano, was targeted in the pages of the L.A. Times, courtesy of Chuck Philips. And [Philips] also wrote a story directly questioning the ethics of [Assistant] U.S. Attorney Dan Saunders, who was responsible for prosecuting Pellicano.
“The L.A. Times needs to agree to an independent investigation of the newspaper’s coverage of any story involving Pellicano, and they should begin with the Pellicano case coverage. For the sake of journalism, I would openly cooperate with any independent investigation. I really hope they do the right thing.”
Good stuff in the post. Busch and Frey also try to make something of then-reporter Jim Newton having a paperweight from Pellicano on his desk and being married to Goller, but it seems to me like overreaching. Are we really judged by whose unsolicited junk we keep for awhile and whose we throw away? Newton addresses it here.