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Pellicano, alleged accomplice plead not guilty in state case

June 17, 2009 |  4:29 pm

The case of the shattered windshield, a dead fish and a rose is finally moving forward.

Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano and his alleged hired hand, Alexander Proctor, pleaded not guilty Wednesday afternoon to charges that they threatened reporter Anita Busch in 2002 to scare her off a story.

Pellicano and Proctor, both 65, were charged four years ago in the alleged threat on Busch’s life.

Busch, who was then working for the Los Angeles Times, found the fish, with a rose in its mouth, left on the broken windshield of her car along with a sign reading “Stop.”

The windshield was punctured and made to appear like a bullet hole, prosecutors wrote in the complaint against the two men.

Los Angeles County district attorney’s spokeswoman Jane Robison said the case was called for arraignment this week because Proctor, who is serving a 10-year sentence on an unrelated federal drug conviction, made a demand for a speedy trial.

Pellicano, who is acting as his own attorney as he did in his two federal criminal trials, showed up in court wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and a pair of sunglasses because of an eye condition, Robison said.

The case against Pellicano and Proctor was put on hold while the closely watched federal trial against Pellicano and his accomplices moved through the courts.

At the conclusion of that trial in December, Pellicano was sentenced to 15 years in prison on a long list of federal wiretapping and racketeering charges. Both Pellicano and Proctor were transferred to state custody this month for their arraignment.

Before the threat, Busch and former New York Times reporter Bernard Weinraub were reporting and writing stories for the New York Times about former Hollywood super agent Michael Ovitz.
It was the threat against Busch that triggered the unraveling of Pellicano’s investigations business.

Based on Proctor’s statement to an FBI informant that he was hired by Pellicano to threaten Busch, authorities obtained a warrant to raid the investigator’s Sunset Boulevard office, where they found  extensive computer files that led to a wide-reaching grand jury investigation into Pellicano’s illegal wiretapping enterprise.

Authorities initially charged Proctor in federal court, but dropped the charges after determining that they did not have jurisdiction. State prosecutors took over the case and charged Proctor in 2003 with making a criminal threat.

Prosecutors filed an additional case in 2005 charging Pellicano with conspiracy and making a criminal threat, and Proctor with an additional conspiracy count.

If convicted, the men each face a maximum sentence of three years. They were ordered back in court June 25 for a status conference, Robison said.

—Victoria Kim