Anthony Pellicano, the former private eye to the stars, is working for the billionaire owner of the Edmonton Oilers as he seeks to fight off a sexual misconduct lawsuit.
Pellicano confirmed to Variety that he has been retained by Daryl Katz, who made his fortune in Canadian pharmacies before venturing into sports and entertainment, to help combat allegations that Katz engaged in sex with a teenage dancer.
Those allegations have already been dismissed in court, but Pellicano was hired to help get them dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning they could not be revived later on.
Pellicano spent 16 years in federal prison for wiretapping, racketeering, fraud and conspiracy. He is no longer licensed to work as a private investigator. Since his release in 2019, he has advertised his services in “crisis management,” “trouble resolution” and “due diligence.”
“My client is Daryl Katz,” Pellicano told Variety on Wednesday. “People like to call me a fixer. The term I use is negotiator. I negotiate on behalf of clients. Am I doing anything illegal? No I’m not.”
Katz has become entangled in a lawsuit that was filed last year in Las Vegas. Several ballet dancers filed the suit against their former dance instructors, Taylor and Dusty Button, accusing the couple of sexual exploitation.
The Buttons have denied the allegations. They filed a countersuit in July, claiming that they engaged in a consensual “throuple” with one of the plaintiffs, Sage Humphries. They also named Katz as a defendant, alleging that he had paid Humphries $75,000 for sex while she was 17.
Katz’ attorneys have denied that he had sex with Humphries, and said that he paid her $50,000 in connection with a proposed film project. Humphries’ attorney also denied that she had a sexual relationship with Katz. Katz’ attorneys have also provided evidence that Humphries was actually 18 when she met Katz.
The Buttons’ attorney, Marc Randazza, dropped the countersuit against Katz earlier this month, citing the evidence that she was in fact 18. But Randazza said he has since heard from Pellicano, who has demanded that he dismiss the countersuit with prejudice — meaning that Randazza could not refile it later. Randazza has refused to do that, saying he wants to “keep my options open.”
He said Pellicano was not happy about that.
“He says if we don’t withdraw with prejudice, my clients are not going to like what he digs up about them and exposes about them,” Randazza told Variety. He summed up his clients’ response as “Go fuck yourself.”
Pellicano denied that he said that to Randazza.
“Even if I said that, which I didn’t say, that’s not a threat,” Pellicano said. “He is an adversary. His clients are adversaries. To the extent I could look into them — yes, we’d have to do that to protect ourselves… I said I have to look into everybody. That means both sides.”
Pellicano also said that Randazza sued Katz only because he thought he could obtain a settlement.
“There was no reason for Randazza to sue my client,” he said. “My client never met any of his clients or knew anything about them. Why did he sue? So they could make a settlement with him.”
In 2021, Pellicano was hired by producer Joel Silver to represent him in an arbitration case against Katz, his former financier. Katz and Silver later settled the dispute, with Katz taking full control of Silver Pictures and its projects.
Pellicano was still on federal probation at the time. He said on Thursday that the FBI had investigated his work on Silver’s behalf and cleared him of any wrongdoing. His probation has since expired.
He also said he is still not doing any private investigation work, saying it would be “intellectually stupid of me” to do that.
He said he was startled, after his release, to see how much information people were willing to share online.
“Being a private investigator nowadays is child’s play,” he added. “People use Instagram, social media. It makes things easy for private investigators. Back in my day I had to really do some work to get some information… Information is so available and so easy, you don’t need to hire private investigators any more.”
He said that the majority of his work now involves corporate disputes, but he does get an occasional #MeToo case.
“From time to time, it happens,” he said.