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P.I. Anthony Pellicano's bid for freedom rejected by judge

 Anthony PellicanoA federal judge on Monday shot down Hollywood private investigator Anthony Pellicano's bid to be released from custody during an appeal of his 2008 convictions for racketeering and wiretapping.

Judge Dale Fischer, who presided over the private investigator's six-week trial, said she was not convinced the 68-year-old was no longer a threat to society despite his attorney's pleas that Pellicano suffered from a serious eye condition and had neither the resources nor the motivations to engage in the intimidation and sleuthing that earned him his notoriety.

The attorney, Steven Gruel, contended some of the most serious counts Pellicano was convicted of were likely to be overturned given recent Supreme Court decisions. The former investigator is serving a 15-year sentence at a federal lockup in Big Spring, Texas.

"Having spent a number of years with Mr. Pellicano ... I have a great deal of confidence in his abilities," Fischer said, denying the request for release without elaborating on her decision. She said she would issue a written ruling later Monday.

The judge heard briefly from former Los Angeles Times reporter Anita Busch, who was threatened by Pellicano. Busch said she continued to be afraid of the man.

Pellicano's attorneys had contended in court papers that prosecutors' contention that the investigator remained a threat was "illustration of the prosecution's frustration with Mr. Pellicano's steadfast decision to stand tall [and silent]; all the while unwilling to cooperate." They wrote that family members were willing to put up surety bonds and that he could remain on electronic monitoring while living with a cousin.

"The court witnessed the same trial we all did," Assistant U.S. Atty Kevin Lally said after the hearing. "The evidence is overwhelming that he's a danger and a flight risk."


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-- Victoria Kim

Photo: Private investigator Anthony Pellicano is shown in Los Angeles in 2003. Credit: Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times

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