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Figure in Pellicano case indicted

Joann Wiggan is again charged with perjury in regard to her testimony before a grand jury.

November 29, 2006|Greg Krikorian | Times Staff Writer

Federal prosecutors have secured a new grand jury indictment against a former SBC employee who was acquitted in September of lying about her contacts with a co-worker indicted in the Anthony Pellicano wiretapping case.

In the three-count indictment disclosed Tuesday, Joann Wiggan was charged again with perjury for allegedly telling a federal grand jury in October 2005 that she had never retrieved any voicemail messages at work from co-worker Ray Turner, who is accused of illegally accessing telephone company records for Pellicano, a Hollywood private investigator, and assisting him in his alleged wiretapping.

A jury deadlocked on that charge in September while acquitting Wiggan on four other counts.

She was not charged with participating in the wiretapping conspiracy and has denied any involvement in illegal conduct involving telephone company records. Prosecutors alleged at trial in September that misstatements Wiggan admitted making about calls from Turner were intentional and clearly aimed at hiding some aspect of her relationship with him.

In the new indictment, the grand jury also charged Wiggan with lying to the FBI in October 2004 in saying she had not spoken to Turner in five or six years.

The indictment says Wiggan and Turner, also a former SBC employee, had called each other at least 35 times between July 2001 and February 2003.

The third charge against Wiggan arose from her testimony at trial when she said she did not get any voicemail messages from Turner. The indictment says she retrieved more than 100 messages from Turner between December 1999 and December 2002.

Prosecutors declined to discuss the new indictment. One month ago Assistant U.S. Atty. Daniel Saunders said "compelling" new evidence had persuaded authorities to retry Wiggan.

Separate from the larger Pellicano case, the prosecution of Wiggan arose from the same FBI probe that led to allegations early this year that Pellicano, Turner and others had used a variety of illegal means such as wiretaps to help the private eye's clients in litigation and other disputes. The defendants have denied the charges.

With Pellicano and six others now facing trial in August, the federal investigation has been continuing. Sources close to the probe have suggested in recent weeks that new evidence of wiretaps continues to be uncovered and that others could be charged in the case early next year.

A 52-year-old mother of three, Wiggan maintained throughout her recent trial that her misstatements to authorities were the result of forgetfulness or innocent oversights. She also insisted that, unlike two other former telephone company employees, she had never illegally provided any phone company records to Turner.

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greg.krikorian@latimes.com

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