Deliberations begin in Pellicano trial

Jurors convene to decide the fate of the defendants

Jurors started deliberations Thursday in the federal racketeering case against Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano and four co-defendants.

Deliberations began after defense lawyers wrapped up their closing arguments and prosecutors delivered rebuttal statements.

The 64-year-old Pellicano has pleaded not guilty to spearheading a scheme that used wiretaps and ran names through law enforcement databases to dig up dirt on Hollywood's rich and famous and supply it to their rivals.

The four co-defendants pleaded not guilty to a variety of charges.

Pellicano, who is acting as his own attorney, insisted in his closing arguments that he acted as a "lone ranger" while gathering information for his clients. He denied leading a criminal enterprise, as prosecutors allege.

Pellicano insisted he shared no information with colleagues as he conducted investigations, and allowed others to learn only what he wanted them to know.

Attorneys for ex-telephone company worker Rayford Earl Turner, and Abner Nicherie, a client of Pellicano's, made their arguments Thursday morning.

Nicherie is charged with one wiretapping count, while Turner is accused of identity theft, computer fraud and taking part in a criminal enterprise.

Another co-defendant is former Los Angeles police Sgt. Mark Arneson, who is accused of taking bribes in excess of $180,000 to run names through law enforcement databases. He has said he received the money for off-duty security and surveillance work.

A lawyer for co-defendant Kevin Kachikian, a software designer, argued that Pellicano duped his client into believing a wiretapping program he developed called Telesleuth would be marketed to law enforcement agencies.

Seven people, including film director John McTiernan and former Hollywood Records president Robert Pfeifer, earlier pleaded guilty to a variety of charges including perjury and conspiracy.