Anthony Pellicano, the Hollywood private eye whose wiretapping case riveted the industry a decade ago, was released from a federal prison on Friday, a prison spokeswoman confirmed.
Pellicano was sentenced in 2008 to 15 years, following his conviction on 78 charges of wiretapping, racketeering, conspiracy and wire fraud. He had been in custody since 2003, and was most recently serving his sentence at Terminal Island Federal Correctional Institution in San Pedro, a low security facility.
He was released Friday, his 75th birthday, said prison spokeswoman Monica Devore.
Pellicano worked for some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Michael Ovitz, Brad Grey and Michael Jackson. In 2002, federal agents raided his office and discovered practice grenades and C-4 explosives. Pellicano was arrested and served 30 months for possession of dangerous materials.
In 2006, he was indicted on 110 counts, which alleged a widespread scheme of wiretapping and conducting illegal background checks. His 2008 trial featured testimony from Ovitz, Grey, attorney Bert Fields, producer Charles Roven and comedians Chris Rock and Garry Shandling. Pellicano represented himself at trial. After 10 days of deliberation, he was convicted on 76 of 77 counts.
He was later convicted of wiretapping Lisa Bonder Kerkorian during her child-support battle with billionaire mogul Kirk Kerkorian.
Pellicano bribed phone company employees and LAPD and Beverly Hills police officers in order to access confidential information. The government alleged that Pellicano’s enterprise went far beyond the charges presented in court, and that he made millions of dollars by illegally violating his targets’ privacy.
In a sentencing memo, prosecutors said that Pellicano never showed remorse.
“On the contrary, the recordings seized from defendant’s computers reflect the utter enjoyment that he experienced as he invaded every facet of his investigative target’s lawfully protected privacy, speaking derisively about his victims and cackling about how he intended to destroy them,” the prosecutors wrote.
Pellicano’s defense argued that the 15-year sentence was excessive. “Illegal wiretapping and invasions of privacy have been an unfortunate part of life for decades,” Pellicano’s attorney wrote.