Pellicano to rep self in wiretap trial

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A judge on Friday allowed Hollywood private investigator Anthony Pellicano to act as his own lawyer at his racketeering and wiretapping trial.

U.S. District Court Judge Dale Fischer approved Pellicano's motion seeking self-representation.

A call to his attorney, Steven Gruel of San Francisco, was not immediately returned on Friday.

Reached late Thursday, however, Gruel said Pellicano had been pleased with his services but had failed to pay him.

Pellicano has maintained he is broke.

"He realizes this is an ongoing complex case and he doesn't want his friend to be hurt financially representing him," Gruel said.

Pellicano, 62, has pleaded not guilty. In November, Fischer pushed back the trial to Aug. 22 because of a lengthy discovery process. Pellicano opposed the joint motion by prosecutors and five attorneys representing his co-defendants to delay the trial.

Pellicano has repeatedly asked for a speedy trial and said during a phone interview in October that prosecutors have had plenty of time to build their case against him.

"What are they waiting for?" Pellicano said. "Why should I sit around and wait for them?"

Prosecutors contend in a 112-count indictment that Pellicano illegally wiretapped the phones of Hollywood stars such as Sylvester Stallone and bribed police officers to run the names of more than 60 people, including comedians Garry Shandling and Kevin Nealon, through government databases.

The information gathered was used to get dirt for threats, blackmail and in some cases to secure a tactical advantage in litigation, prosecutors alleged in court documents.

Fourteen people have been charged in the case, with seven pleading guilty. One person has been acquitted but has since had new charges filed against her.
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