Anthony Pellicano, the former private eye who spent 16 years in federal prison, is back in business as a Hollywood fixer.
Pellicano confirmed to Variety that he is working for Joel Silver, the “Die Hard” and “Lethal Weapon” producer who exited his company in 2019. Silver has since been engaged in an arbitration case with Daryl Katz, his former financier, and Pellicano said he has been hired to help resolve it.
Pellicano is on supervised release for one more year, and is barred from working as a private investigator, as his state license has been revoked. But Pellicano has set up a website for a company called Pellicano Negotiations, which advertises his services in crisis communications as, “trouble resolution” and “due diligence.”
In an interview, Pellicano said he is not working as a private investigator.
“I have no interest in that at all,” he said. “If I was back in the P.I. business, I’d be back in prison.”
Pellicano was released in March 2019, after completing his sentence for wiretapping, racketeering, conspiracy and wire fraud charges. Before his downfall in 2002, Pellicano worked for some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Michael Jackson, Brad Grey and Michael Ovitz.
Pellicano provided Variety with a copy of his agreement with Silver. The document grants Pellicano limited power of attorney to act on Silver’s behalf in negotiating a settlement with Silver-Katz Entertainment LLC, which is run by Katz. Silver also authorizes Pellicano to obtain information on his behalf.
“I grant to Pellicano full authority to act in any manner that is legal, proper and necessary to exercise the foregoing powers, including legally obtaining all information relative to this matter,” the document states.
Pellicano said he has been obtaining documents connected to the negotiation, including those regarding properties and details of past settlement talks. He said that does not qualify as private investigative work.
“What I’m doing is legal,” Pellicano said. “I’m authorized to do it. I have power of attorney to do each and every act that’s in that document.”
However, it does not end there. Pellicano has also been seeking to obtain a police report that involves Katz, according to a recording of a phone call which was made available to Variety.
“Yes, I want it,” Pellicano said on the call. “What I need to do is find the officer who… actually wrote up the report. Oftentimes what happens is that they send out just a patrol officer and he writes up a little rudimentary report, and then they turn it in and then the detective is assigned, so I need all that information if it’s still available. I’ve gotten police reports from 25, 30 years ago.”
Asked about that recording, Pellicano said he was not actually interested in obtaining the report.
“I don’t care about it. My client doesn’t care about it. Nobody gives a shit about it,” he said. “I am not interested in any investigative work toward Daryl Katz.”
Under California’s Business and Professions Code, a private investigator is defined, in part, as anyone who accepts payment to secure evidence that can be used in court or other proceedings.
The terms of Pellicano’s power of attorney grant him the authority to gather information as well as to assist Silver’s attorney, Louis Shoch, “in instituting any and all necessary legal actions.”
Pellicano emphasized that he is negotiating, and not working as an investigator.
“I cannot hold myself out or solicit business as a private investigator,” he said. “A lot of people want to hire me as a private investigator… I obtain information that I can use in the negotiation.”
Silver hung up when called for comment. His publicist did not return calls seeking comment, and neither did Shoch. Bert Fields, an attorney who has worked with Silver and Pellicano in the past, said he was unfamiliar with the current arrangement.
“Anthony is not stupid,” Fields said. “There are things he can do that wouldn’t be a violation.”
Pellicano said that his probation officer is fully aware of his current business, and the government has no issue with it.
“It would be awful stupid of me to put up a website and say (I’m doing) things the government considers illegal,” he said. “I have legal authority to negotiate this deal. There are many people who know about it… I’m protected every which way but Sunday. If I had anything to worry about, I wouldn’t be talking to you.”
Pellicano said he was also working on a novel and some TV projects.