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Pellicano's Bid for Trial in February Discouraged

October 19, 2006|Greg Krikorian | Times Staff Writer

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday urged a judge to reject Hollywood private investigator Anthony Pellicano's request that his wiretapping trial begin as scheduled in February, arguing that the complexity of the case, the number of defendants and other factors justify its postponement until next fall.

At the same time, prosecutors told U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer that if she agreed with Pellicano's request, the government wanted to proceed with a February trial not just for him but also for his six co-defendants, all but one of whom has agreed to a delay.

On Monday, the U.S. attorney's office and lawyers for five of Pellicano's co-defendants filed a stipulation with the judge saying that a delay in the trial was necessary for defense attorneys to review the vast amount of evidence in the case, including 150,000 pages of documents and 443 recorded conversations.

But Pellicano and his attorney, Steven Gruel, formally opposed the move, arguing that Pellicano was ready for trial and eager to resolve the case because he has been held in prison without bail since February.

In an 18-page response, prosecutors Daniel Saunders and Kevin Lally said five defendants favor delaying the trial until September. The prosecutors also argued that all the defendants should be tried at the same time, because Pellicano is charged in 108 of the 112 counts in the indictment, and in 96 he is charged with one or more of the defendants who have agreed to the delay. Only defendant Daniel Nicherie has not agreed in writing to the delay, but he has not filed papers explaining his position.

The prosecutors estimated that a trial could run as long as three months. They added that granting Pellicano's request to be tried in February could mean the complex case would be tried twice.

"It is hard to imagine a greater inconvenience to witnesses or a more inefficient use of the court's limited resources," the prosecutors wrote.

greg.krikorian@latimes.com

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