Of wiretaps and crossed phone lines…

Its a bit of a surprise that nobody here at Metblogs has written about the Anthony Pellicano trial now taking place in downtown L.A., especially considering its a uniquely LA story full of intrigue, local scumbags, celebrities, and locations many of us frequent.

In short, Pellicano was a private eye to the rich and famous who would (illegally) wiretap phones of clients’ enemies, ex-wives, and allegedly use strong arm tactics on his client’s behalf. When Feds raided his office a few years ago they found grenades and plastic explosives. Its the kind of stuff that could only happen in the movies, and in a few years will likely make for a great movie.

This weekend I tried catching up on the trial’s proceedings, largely focusing on phone calls that the Huffington Post now has online between Pellicano and some of his clients, including Courtney Love, Chris Rock, and director John McTiernan. Until now, I had realized not only the extent and ease of his wiretaps, which should frighten anyone, but also how blase and matter of fact this all was to these entertainment heavyweights.

The whole thing reminded me of an incident that took place to me years ago…

Back in late ’97, I was working for a producer out his Santa Monica apartment/office. On one random day, I picked up the cordless phone and before I dialed out heard a conversation going on, which was odd because nobody else was in the the office. Figuring it was a crossed connection with the wireless, I switched to cabled handset, and could still hear talking. Listening in, I was a bit freaked out.

A man and woman were discussing what sounded like some sort of arms deal, and how one need a delivery of so many rifles and pistols. I don’t remember the details, except that dismissed it as probably being about prop guns for a film shoot, and cut in with a “hello, hello?” The dude on the phone asked who I was, and when I said they were on my phone line, he asked for me to hang up because they were discussing something important. I declined, repeating that they were, in fact, on a home residence phone line. They finally hung up after promising to call each other later, but before they could tell me who they were.

I told my boss, and he didn’t seem to care too much about it. A month or so later though, a phone bill came in with charges for out of the country calls, and some 900 phone sex charges. Since a good chunk of these calls were logged as being made after work hours, and when the producer remembered being at home, he had me call the phone company to investigate.

The phone company insisted it was impossible for someone to use our phone lines in this manner, but promised to send someone out to check the phone lines anyway. If they did, there was no followup, and shortly thereafter the office was relocated.

Now, reading up on the Pellicano, trial, I wonder if there may have been some sort of connection.

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