By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
It’s pretty easy to figure out why lawyers in this town hired celebrity sleuth Anthony Pellicano as their investigator. A tireless self-promoter, he got the information they wanted even if he had to bend the rules. Pellicano also worked for law-enforcement agencies and government lawyers across the country, doing audiotape work for their criminal cases.
What’s not so easy to figure out is why prosecutors and defense attorneys would work with him on the same case.
Take the so-called Limousine Rape case involving a wealthy San Fernando Valley businessman named John Gordon Jones. Jones faced charges that he assaulted nine women, sometimes drugging them before he raped them. A jury acquitted him on all charges in 2001.
Jones’ first defense attorney, Ronald Richards, hired Pellicano shortly after Jones’ arrest in October 1998. It did not take long for Pellicano to contact law enforcement about Jones. The P.I. wanted legal cover for his sessions with police and prosecutors and got it from attorney Daniel Davis, who replaced Richards in 1999. In March 1999, he gave Pellicano a letter giving him the right to meet with prosecutors and detectives and offer them information about the case.
The letter directs Pellicano to use his discretion, but he’s given carte blanche to tell them whatever he wants. Jones said
he signed off on the letter only because Davis and Pellicano convinced him they could get the charges dropped. Gigi Gordon, a veteran defense attorney and director of the Culver City–based Post-Conviction Center, says she’s never seen a letter like that. “Why would any defense attorney give an investigator this kind of authority?” she asks. “I can’t even imagine why the D.A.’s Office would go along with this arrangement. What is going
The letter was signed several months after a December 1998 meeting at the Hollywood police station involving Pellicano, Deputy D.A. Karla Kerlin, and LAPD Detectives Tim Marcia, Dean Gizzi and Denise Montgomery.
At the meeting, the authorities turned the tables on the
P.I. known for questionable surveillance and taping practices, and secretly recorded the session. “I don’t think either side
trusted each other. And we certainly didn’t want anything said
at the station to be misrepresented,” says Marcia. “That’s why we taped him.”
Shortly before Jones’ trial, the prosecution was forced to turn over a copy of the tape. A transcript reveals Pellicano’s penchant for playing both sides of the fence.
In the transcript, Pellicano tries to persuade Kerlin to
give him a photocopy of Jones’ telephone book and support a motion to reduce his bail, but he also undercuts his own client. “Now, when I met this guy, my first reaction was he’s dead-bang fucking guilty. I looked in his eyes, he was nervous, upset,
irritated, and I said to the attorneys, ‘You know, I’m not anxious to do this.’”
But Pellicano says his opinion of Jones is evolving, and doubts about his guilt have emerged. Then he abruptly contradicts himself, saying, “I don’t know where you guys are with your investigation, but this guy’s guilty. Get him.”
Pellicano insists he’s really interested in giving the prosecution information to resolve the matter quickly for Jones’ sake. But he says, “If this guy is, as he claimed to have been doing, serial-raping women — get the motherfucker. Get him. I know if it was my daughter, I’d rip his fucking heart out.”
Pellicano also tries to ingratiate himself with Kerlin and the cops. He brags about his unnamed “friends” at the LAPD and D.A.’s Office. And he says, “I’m a very pro–law enforcement person. I defend police officers all the time. I’ve got three open cases now that I’m defending police officers.”
Responding to a question from Kerlin, Pellicano says that Jones has admitted his drug use. “Oh yeah, like I said, he’s an asshole.” And he advises Kerlin on her legal strategy, saying he would take the case to a grand jury. Kerlin jokingly responds, “Okay. Note to self.”
Pellicano claims he’s “the brains” behind the defense. “I tell everybody this, if you did it, they’re going to get you . . . I come across somebody that you’ve done this to, you have a problem with me.” To which Kerlin replies, “Hey, maybe you’ll end up working for me.” Pellicano then says, “I do more favors for the Police Department, for her department [D.A.’s Office], than you can imagine.”
Pellicano was also monitoring his own client. He surreptitiously taped Jones’ home phone in November 1998. Jones says he found out about the taping in May 1999, when Richards told him about it. Both Richards and Davis have publicly acknowledged listening to the illegal tapes, but they denied authorizing the taps. Neither lawyer returned the Weekly’s calls for comment. Pellicano’s recordings included more than 30 phone calls made by Jane Doe No. 3, one of Jones’ alleged victims.
During the trial, Jones’ defense team repeatedly accused Kerlin, Deputy D.A. Patrick Dixon, and Robbery-Homicide Detectives Marcia and Gizzi of withholding evidence and concealing their dealings with Pellicano. The prosecution vehemently denied the charges. And two judges, Jacqueline Connor and, later, William Garner, rejected defense requests for hearings on these issues.