LOS ANGELES – With jury selection set to begin Wednesday in the federal wiretapping case against Anthony Pellicano, the private investigator could soon spark some courtroom fireworks if any of his former Hollywood A-list clients take the stand to testify against him.
"I'm not going to willfully hurt anyone," Pellicano told The Associated Press during a recent telephone interview from federal prison. "But I might ask questions ... that might make people uncomfortable."
Pellicano spent decades building his reputation in Hollywood as a crafty, bare-knuckled private eye who worked for a long list of entertainment luminaries that included Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson.
His indictment two years ago in a federal wiretapping case made Hollywood power players nervous about who else might be charged and what secrets might be exposed. But Pellicano refused to flip on his rich and famous clients.
There will be at least one plot twist, however during the trial of Pellicano and four co-defendants: The private eye will act as his own attorney, meaning he'll likely have the goods on any former clients who testify against him.
In court documents filed Friday, federal prosecutors laid out much of their trial strategy.
They portrayed Pellicano, 63, as an ambitious investigator-to-the-stars who ran a criminal enterprise that wiretapped phones and bribed police and telephone workers to get the "gold standard" of confidential information.
He is accused of charging at least $25,000 for dirt that could be used to gain an edge in divorce and business disputes. Some of the information even involved rape and murder cases, according to the court documents.
Prosecutors estimate that Pellicano, retired Los Angeles police Sgt. Mark Arneson and former telephone company employee Rayford Earl Turner collected nearly $2 million from what authorities call a racketeering scheme.
For the most part, however, prosecutors failed to determine that Pellicano's clients were aware of the illegal tactics.
Prosecutors have said those targeted included Sylvester Stallone and comedians Garry Shandling and Kevin Nealon.
It was unclear whether any of them would testify, since prosecutors won't file a list of possible witnesses until the trial begins. Stallone told the AP last month that he would be willing to testify, even though he had not yet been subpoenaed.
Despite having a treasure trove of Hollywood secrets, Pellicano said he won't reveal them to save his own skin.
"There are a lot of celebrities' secrets I still hold and I haven't broken a vow, even to the people I don't like," he said. "If I was going to say something, I would have said something a long time ago."