Former P.I. claims juror misconduct
Hollywood has not heard the last of Anthony Pellicano.
The former private eye convicted of 76 charges of wiretapping, computer fraud and racketeering, is essentially demanding a do-over, claiming misconduct by jurors during a 10-week trial that ended last month.
While Pellicano repped himself during the trial, he has since hired a San Francisco-based attorney to handle the motion for a retrial, filed this week.
In the motion, Pellicano claims that at least four jurors discussed elements of the case without the rest of the jury present while commuting to and from the courthouse and that one juror knew of upcoming witnesses expected to testify because her husband was reading blogs, including the Huffington Post, that tracked the trial.
In addition, the forewoman allegedly heard assistant U.S. attorney Dan Saunders use the word “perjury” after he had cross-examined Pellicano co-defendant Mark Arneson but did not disclose hearing the word when asked by U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer.
Saunders had said he planned on charging Arneson with perjury during a break when some of the jurors had not yet left the courtroom.
The judge had denied a motion for a mistrial following the remark. When Judge Fischer questioned the jury, only one juror raised her hand to say she’d heard the comment.
The motion also claims that many of the jurors were biased during the trial and that one juror brought a laptop during the 10 days of deliberations.
“We think that there were several instances of serious jury misconduct during the trial in this case,” said attorney Steven Gruel, who is repping Pellicano. “A new trial is the only way to remedy the uncertainties created by the misconduct.”
As for the blogs, he said many of them covering the case were “derogatory and incriminating to all defendants” in court papers.
Should Pellicano not be granted a retrial, Gruel said the former private eye, currently housed in the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles, should at least get an evidentiary hearing to investigate the allegations, something that Judge Fischer would likely grant instead given that she already did it for defense attorneys in one instance during the initial trial.
Pellicano was tipped off to the alleged misconduct after a juror approached a defense attorney to express “concerns about the verdicts.”
The government is not commenting on the motion. It has 10 working days to respond in court, according to U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Thom Mrozek.
The forewoman allegedly emailed other jurors, ordering them not to speak with an investigator working for Pellicano, Gruel said in his motion.
Sentencing for the trial that just ended will take place Sept. 24.
But Pellicano will also be heading back to court on July 15, when he and attorney Terry Christensen stand trial in another wiretapping case, involving Kirk Kerkorian’s ex-wife, Lisa Bonder Kerkorian.