LOS ANGELES – Indicted Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano said Wednesday he acted as a "lone ranger" while gathering information for his A-list clients and did not lead a criminal enterprise as prosecutors have alleged at his racketeering trial.
During his closing argument, Pellicano insisted he shared no information with colleagues as he conducted investigations and allowed others to learn only what he wanted them to know.
"There was no criminal enterprise or conspiracy. Mr. Pellicano alone is responsible. That is the simple truth," he told jurors, referring to himself in the third person as court rules require for people who act as their own attorney.
He did not elaborate on what he was responsible for.
"Effectively he was a lone ranger," Pellicano said.
The 64-year-old has pleaded not guilty to spearheading a scheme that used wiretaps and ran names through law enforcement databases to dig up dirt on Hollywood's rich and famous and supply it to their rivals. Four co-defendants pleaded not guilty to a variety of federal charges.
Pellicano, who has remained in custody during the trial, wore his prison-issued green jacket, gray shirt and green pants as he delivered his 15-minute closing argument.
Instead of addressing the evidence, he bragged about his career, showing some of the same swagger that became his calling card while doing investigations for his high-powered clientele.
"Perhaps his business card should read 'I deliver,' because he did it over and over again," Pellicano said about his work.
Pellicano contended his methods weren't much different than those used by other private investigators.
Prosecutors objected when he turned to the gallery, where reporters furiously scribbled notes, and suggested journalists should be held to the same standards.
Pellicano even made light of his work as a defense lawyer, eliciting laughter from U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer, who tried to hide it, and others when he told jurors he had instructed himself not to sway them in his favor or repeat testimony.
"And you know when Mr. Pellicano instructs you to do something, you do it," he said.
Earlier in the day, a lawyer for former Los Angeles police Sgt. Mark Arneson argued that federal prosecutors had failed to prove his client was part of the alleged criminal enterprise.
Attorney Chad Hummel said in his closing argument at the two-month trial that Arneson didn't listen to audiotapes or wiretaps, made no threats and had no knowledge about the people Pellicano was investigating.
Arneson is accused of taking bribes in excess of $180,000 to run names through law enforcement databases but has said he received the money for off-duty security and surveillance work.
Other co-defendants in the case are ex-telephone company worker Rayford Earl Turner, software designer Kevin Kachikian and Abner Nicherie, a client of Pellicano.
Kachikian's attorney Adam Braun said Pellicano duped his client into believing a wiretapping program he developed called Telesleuth would be marketed to law enforcement agencies.
"Mr. Kachikian did not know or intend for Telesleuth to be used" for illegal wiretapping, Braun said.
Attorneys for Turner and Nicherie were expected to present their closing arguments on Thursday. Jurors are then expected to begin deliberations after receiving final instructions.
On Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Saunders said Pellicano was a "well-paid thug" who slashed tires, hacked computers and wiretapped phones to get information for clients.
During his closing argument, Saunders said the government had proven its case by presenting documents, testimony from clients and alleged victims, and recordings made by the private investigator.
Comedian Chris Rock and one-time power agent Michael Ovitz testified during the trial about using the services of Pellicano. Both said they knew nothing about his tactics. Comedian Garry Shandling, an alleged victim, also took the witness stand.