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
Now the questions are, how much did the prosecution know about Pellicano’s taping activities, and when did they know it?
D.A. Steve Cooley has publicly acknowledged that the Garcetti administration investigated Pellicano’s activities in 1999. And a source in the D.A.’s Office said the investigation focused on Pellicano’s alleged illegal wiretaps of Jones. But the source claims the office found no evidence to prove his guilt and turned its findings over to the FBI. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Saunders, who’s prosecuting Pellicano, disputes that claim.
Court documents and police records reinforce the notion that prosecutors knew about the illegal wiretaps in 1999. Davis’ bail motions included portions of Jane Doe No. 3’s taped conversations. And Bradley Brunon, one of Jones’ defense attorneys, says it’s clear the material came from the tapes.
Davis also sent a letter, dated July 16, 1999, to Dixon responding to his request for discovery materials. “To the extent that any tape recordings may have been made of telephone calls made by Jane Doe No. 3, I neither have such tape recordings nor have them within my direct or indirect possession or access,” he wrote.
The letter also refers to conversations Richards had with witnesses in the case. One involved a meeting between Richards and Jane Doe No. 3 at the Barfly Restaurant in June 1999.
Their confrontation was detailed in an unsigned memo found in Davis’ files, which Jones, his civil attorney Barry Rothman, and Richard Sherman, one of Jones’ defense attorneys, all confirmed Davis wrote. The document recounts a phone call between two lawyers.
According to that memo, Richards suggested that the woman be pressured not to cooperate with prosecutors, but Davis worried that the alleged victim would ask the D.A. to start a “formal inquiry.” At the restaurant, Richards told Jane Doe No. 3 the defense had tapes of her phone calls. Davis told Richards that the tapes “would not legally be admissible” in court, and that they could “implicate Pellicano and Richards in a conspiracy to illegally tape conversations.”
Some definitive answers about Pellicano’s conduct could yet come out in court. Jones has sued L.A. County, L.A. city, Cooley, Kerlin, Dixon and Deputy D.A. Robert Foltz, who replaced Dixon, and Detectives Marcia and Gizzi in federal court for alleged violation of his constitutional rights, fabrication of evidence, illegal searches and defamation. Although U.S. District Judge Nora Manella chided Jones’ lawyers for their sloppily written suit, and dismissed several claims, she issued an order in March allowing the case to proceed. Jones is asking for $6 million in damages.
Jones is also suing Davis, Sherman, Brunon, and two other defense attorneys, Frank Lizarraga and Milton Grimes, in state court to recover some of his hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, for alleged breaches of service. Grimes and Davis are countersuing. Jones’ suit against Davis also accuses the defense lawyer of withholding information regarding Pellicano’s alleged illegal recordings, thereby jeopardizing his defense.
Brunon adamantly denies Jones’ claims. “We had a flat-fee arrangement,” he says. “And I provided those defense services.” Brunon also insists Jones missed the statute of limitations for filing the suit, and he believes it will be dismissed.
Pellicano remains inside a federal lockup in downtown L.A., quietly marking time against an expected prison term of 27 to 33 months for illegal possession of explosives and hand grenades. Sentencing is scheduled for January 20. Federal prosecutors want the P.I. to testify before a grand jury about illegal wiretapping he reportedly did for his well-known legal, entertainment and business clients. But Pellicano is refusing to cooperate. He’s publicly turned down a deal for leniency in exchange for information on his surveillance activities.