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Ex-SBC worker disputes charges

The Pellicano case figure asks for new indictment to be dismissed, claiming double jeopardy.

December 05, 2006|Greg Krikorian | Times Staff Writer

A former SBC employee facing retrial after a jury cleared her of four of five charges in the Anthony Pellicano wire-tapping investigation has asked a federal judge to throw out her indictment on the grounds that the government's new prosecution is tantamount to double jeopardy.

In a motion filed with U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer, the attorney for Joann Wiggan, 52, of Burbank, said his client should not be subjected to a new charge of lying under oath because an earlier jury, assessing the same basic facts, concluded she did not knowingly lie to authorities.

Last month, federal prosecutors won a new indictment against Wiggan, who was acquitted in September of four of five counts of lying about her contacts with former co-worker Ray Turner, a central figure in the Pellicano wiretapping case.

The indictment again charged her with lying to a federal grand jury in October 2005 when she said she had never retrieved any voice-mail messages from Turner. Turner is accused of illegally accessing telephone company records for one-time private eye Pellicano, who is accused of wiretapping business people and celebrities to aid his clients. Both men have denied the charges.

The new indictment also charges Wiggan with two other counts of perjury for allegedly lying about her contacts with Turner.

In asking that the new charges be dismissed, Wiggan's attorney David R. Reed said Monday that the indictment is a "rehash" of the charges that Wiggan already has answered to the satisfaction of a jury.

"At the previous trial, there was no issue that the thousands of calls to her voice mail occurred, or that Ray Turner's phone called Ms. Wiggan's voice mail or home phone many times," Reed said in his motion.

"The fact of the existence of the telephone calls was not the issue," Reed's motion adds. "The only issue decided by the jury in the first trial of Ms. Wiggan was whether Ms. Wiggan had knowledge that her testimony was false."

By its verdict, Reed wrote, "The jury found that her statements were innocent misstatements, not knowing lies."

After she pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Monday, the mother of three expressed dismay at the new charges. "It's been extremely hard. I lost my job. I am not working. I am struggling," she said.

Prosecutors declined to comment, saying they will respond to the motion in court filings.

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greg.krikorian@latimes.com

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