Imprisoned private investigator Anthony Pellicano said Monday he wants to act as his own lawyer to fight charges that he orchestrated an illegal wiretapping scheme targeting Hollywood celebrities and executives.
During a court hearing, Pellicano spoke at length for the first time since he was indicted last month. He said he wanted to know the results of the government’s nearly four-year investigation into his activities.
“I have a lot of questions to see what they have been doing all this time,” Pellicano told U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer. “I’m best suited to represent myself.”
Pellicano was shackled and wore a prison-issued green windbreaker and blue pants. He previously pleaded not guilty.
A total of 13 people have been charged in the case. Four have pleaded guilty to a variety of charges, including wire fraud and conspiracy.
Pellicano said he does not have any problems with his attorney, Steven Gruel. Outside court, Gruel said his client simply “wants to go to trial as soon as possible.”
Gruel will continue to be Pellicano’s attorney until the judge decides whether Pellicano is competent to represent himself.
Meanwhile, federal prosecutors provided the judge with snippets of their case, scheduled to go to trial next month. The proceedings could be delayed.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Saunders said another indictment would be handed down in early April. He did not say whether the indictment would name more defendants or only add allegations.
Saunders also said he had given some defense attorneys more than 2,000 pages of evidence as well as dozens of digital audio files as part of the discovery process.
He also revealed the government has evidence of some 15,000 computer “runs,” or inquiries, by former Los Angeles police Sgt. Mark Arneson, who has pleaded not guilty to charges related to using confidential police databases to search for information for Pellicano.
Prosecutors are seeking a protective order to prevent key evidence from becoming public before trial. Fischer did not sign an order Monday, but said there would be a protective order of some kind.
Saunders said three search warrant affidavits connected to raids on Pellicano’s offices in 2002 would be unsealed later this week. FBI agents found illegal explosives and seized documents and computers during the searches, authorities said.
Pellicano served a 2½-year sentence on explosives-related charges and is awaiting trial in a separate case for allegedly hiring a man to threaten a former Los Angeles Times reporter working on a story about actor Steven Seagal.