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Phone records tie ex-SBC employee to Pellicano

December 14, 2006|Greg Krikorian | Times Staff Writer

Federal authorities disclosed new evidence Wednesday that shows numerous phone calls were made from the office of indicted private investigator Anthony Pellicano to that of a former SBC employee, Joann Wiggan.

Two months ago, Wiggan, 52, of Burbank was acquitted on four of five felony counts of lying to a grand jury about her contacts with onetime co-worker Ray Turner, a Pellicano co-defendant who is accused of illegally accessing telephone company records for the Hollywood private eye and helping him illegally wiretap telephone lines. The jury deadlocked on the fifth count.

While Wiggan has never been accused of participating in the wiretapping conspiracy, prosecutors secured a new indictment against her last month, arguing that they had "compelling" new evidence that she had not been truthful in describing her communications with Turner.

In Wednesday's court filing, they disclosed at least some of that new evidence: telephone records showing that 18 calls were made from Pellicano's offices to Wiggan's voicemail between January 2000 and September 2002.

The disclosure appeared to be aimed at bolstering the government's contention that Wiggan lied about her contacts with Turner.

One reason Wiggan has not been more forthcoming about her relations with Turner, prosecutors asserted during her first trial, is that she -- like two other ex-SBC employees -- may also have allegedly been helping him obtain telephone records for the private eye. Wiggan has repeatedly denied any such involvement.

Wiggan's attorney, David R. Reed, downplayed the significance of the new evidence. "Since everyone knows Ray Turner was closely associated with Pellicano and a big party animal, his calling his many friends from Pellicano's office, including my client Joann Wiggan, proves nothing," he said.

Reed asked U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer last week to throw out the new federal indictment against his client on the basis that the government's second case is tantamount to double jeopardy.

In urging that the new case move forward, federal prosecutors Daniel Saunders and Kevin Lally dismissed Reed's double-jeopardy claim, arguing that the facts the government will need to prove in the pending case are different from those presented to the prior jury.

During Wiggan's trial, prosecutors presented records showing that Turner called Wiggan's voicemail more than 100 times from 2000 to late 2002. The records, they said, proved Wiggan had lied when she said she had had no contact with Turner and did not start using her office voicemail until 2003.

Wiggan and her attorney attributed her misstatements to innocent mistakes or oversights. They noted that Turner was an affable and social colleague of Wiggan's who had been a good friend to her.

Reed also told the jury his client had no reason to lie about her contacts with Turner since the government had not presented any evidence that it suspected her of involvement in the larger Pellicano case -- a point prosecutors were clearly aiming to address in Wednesday's filing.

It was not immediately known why authorities were not aware of the phone records until after Wiggan's trial.

Prosecutors in the case declined to comment. But one federal law enforcement source said the new information about phone records provides "another piece of the puzzle...."

The source argued that the 18 calls from Pellicano's office to Wiggan's were evidence that the private eye "had connections with the phone company and that he mined those connections to gather information" for his clients.

greg.krikorian@latimes.com

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