It was ten years ago today that Los Angeles Times reporter Anita Busch found a dead fish on her car. There was a rose in the fish's mouth and a note that said: "Stop." She took it as a warning about her reporting — and she was right. Busch, the former editor in chief of the Hollywood Reporter, talks about the past ten years with THR's Matthew Belloni and says that if imprisoned former private investigator Anthony Pellicano comes into court in July to seek release, she will appear hoping to testify against the request.
The threat, and Busch’s complaints to Los Angeles police, began the Hollywood legal odyssey known as the Pellicano scandal, which ensnared everyone from power brokers Michael Ovitz and Brad Grey to actor Steven Seagal, culminating in the 2008 sentencing of private investigator Anthony Pellicano and others to 15 years in prison for possession of firearms, wiretapping and racketeering....
For Busch, 51, the Pellicano case did not end with his conviction. Despite various health issues, she continues to press a civil lawsuit against Ovitz, who she believes hired Pellicano to torment her when she pursued articles about him for the New York Times. (Ovitz was never charged and testified at trial that he had no knowledge of Pellicano’s tactics.) She is a plaintiff in a complex class action lawsuit against Arneson and the cities of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills related to wiretapping and invasion of privacy as well as a separate class action against a telephone company over the wiretapping.
Busch also is raising new questions about the handling of the Pellicano case by the L.A. District Attorney’s office, which she says has ties to the P.I. and the law firms that hired him. Busch, for instance, says she was told that her file in the matter, which contains records and statements she gave police, went missing for about a year around the time Pellicano was preparing his appeal. “They had no reasonable explanation for why the file wasn’t found,” she says, adding "I believe it’s part of a pattern by D.A. Steve Cooley of protecting his allies and making cases and files disappear."
“My life has completely changed,” she says, “I don’t think anyone has seen the level of corruption I’ve seen.”
Busch has through the years also accused the Los Angeles Times of being in cahoots with Pellicano and of abandoning her.
Photo of Busch: The Hollywood Reporter