Patterico's Pontifications

11/23/2008

Chuck Philips’s Letters to a Witness: Merely Suggestive? Or Witness Tampering?

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 10:23 pm

Letters written by a former L.A. Times reporter to a potential witness in the Anthony Pellicano case appear to confirm critics’ charges that the reporter pursued a pro-defense agenda in his coverage of the criminal case against the “private detective to the stars.”

The reporter, Chuck Philips, won the Pulitzer prize in 1999, but was laid off from the paper in 2008 shortly after it was found that a story he wrote was based on forged documents.

Patterico.com has obtained several letters in which Philips attempted to get the witness to agree with a specific scenario that would be favorable to Pellicano. In the letters, Philips stated his opinion that the government had engaged in illegal and dishonest activity — even as Philips was writing purportedly objective news stories examining Pellicano’s arguments that the government had acted illegally.

Philips penned the letters in late 2007. During this time, Philips published a series of stories publicizing Pellicano’s defense theories. Philips covered Pellicano’s criminal case despite the fact that he had used Pellicano as a source since the 1990s, and appeared friendly with Pellicano. The letters, which are revealed for the first time in this blog post, are suggestive and non-objective, if not tantamount to witness tampering.

In the letters, written to prison inmate and potential witness Alexander Proctor, Philips told Proctor that he believed Proctor’s recollections of certain conversations with a government informant “could sink this case” against Pellicano. Philips proposed a specific theory of what might have occurred in those conversations — a scenario that would benefit Pellicano — even as Philips repeatedly reminded Proctor that the conversations in question were not recorded.

The players

The Pellicano saga began in 2002, after former L.A. Times reporter Anita Busch received a dead fish and a rose on her windshield, along with a note saying: “Stop.”


Above: Anita Busch

An FBI informant, later identified by The Smoking Gun as Dan Patterson, called Busch to warn her. Patterson subsequently wore a wire for the FBI, and recorded conversations with a drug runner named Alexander Proctor, who claimed that he had been hired by Anthony Pellicano to blow up Busch’s car. The FBI used those conversations as a key basis of a search warrant for Pellicano’s office. Inside, federal agents found explosives and illegally obtained recordings, leading to federal criminal filings against Pellicano for possession of explosives and wiretapping.



Above: Dan Patterson, the FBI’s informant

Pellicano was a “private investigator to the stars,” and his criminal trial involved a cast of characters including Hollywood’s elite. People like Michael Ovitz and Paramount Pictures chairman Brad Grey were key witnesses.

Close to Anthony Pellicano

Chuck Philips has been criticized over the years for covering the Pellicano criminal proceedings, despite his past association with Pellicano. The New York Times reported this year that Philips “had long experience with Mr. Pellicano as a news source” before Pellicano was prosecuted.

There is evidence that the relationship between Philips and Pellicano ran deeper. Philips attended Pellicano’s wedding, at which he and Pellicano smiled and saluted one another. He also attended Pellicano’s guilty verdict without a pad of paper or pen. In neither case did he file a news story.


Above: Chuck Philips

Above: Anthony Pellicano

News legend Pete Noyes said in June that Philips should have recused himself from reporting on Pellicano’s criminal case. According to Noyes, a reporter should always recuse himself from covering criminal proceedings against a former source.

Coverage favored Pellicano

Not only did Philips fail to recuse himself from reporting on Pellicano’s criminal proceedings, he repeatedly wrote stories supporting Pellicano’s defense theories, and questioning the honesty of federal law enforcement agents. In June 2007, Nikki Finke complained that Philips repeatedly “carrie[d] water for Pellicano’s defense attorneys,” and argued that the paper should have reassigned coverage of the Pellicano case to a different reporter. Finke has written that “in the Pellicano scandal, no journalist has been discrediting the government’s case more than Philips.” In return, Philips got extraordinary access to Pellicano, including an exclusive jailhouse interview.

For the sake of brevity, I have compiled the extensive history of Philips’s slanted coverage of the Pellicano case in a separate page, which you can access here.

In essence, throughout 2007, Philips wrote numerous stories touting claims by Pellicano’s defense team that the federal government had lied in order to obtain a search warrant for Pellicano’s office. Pellicano argued that the FBI had manufactured probable cause to search his office, because he allegedly had evidence damaging to the FBI. If the search warrant were ruled invalid, the case against Pellicano would collapse.


Above: The federal courthouse on Spring St. in downtown Los Angeles

Philips wrote numerous stories laying out a comprehensive set of defense attacks on the search warrant. The articles touted defense arguments attacking the credibility of FBI Agent Stanley Ornellas, who obtained the search warrant, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Saunders, who prosecuted the Pellicano case. Still, Philips’s articles were purportedly “objective.”

Philips’s letters to Proctor

Even as Philips was writing purportedly “balanced” articles about Special Agent Ornellas and his search warrant in the Los Angeles Times, Philips was disparaging Ornellas and Assistant U.S. Attorney Saunders in letters to a prison inmate. In the letters that Philips wrote to potential witness Proctor, Philips asked Proctor for an interview — but also suggested a factual scenario that would damage the government’s case against Pellicano . . . if Proctor agreed it was true.

In one letter, Philips sets forth his opinion that the government deceived Pellicano, violated his rights, and illegally spied on Pellicano:

Philips added: “It is obvious to me that the government is not being candid about what happened at Anita Busch’s house or why it happened.” Read Philips’s handwritten letter: Page 1 here and Page 2 here.

In several of the letters, Philips presented a particular factual scenario to Proctor — one that would benefit Pellicano’s defense team if Proctor supported it. Namely, Philips suggested that the first person to bring up Pellicano’s name was not Proctor, as the FBI had stated in its search warrant affidavit — but rather Patterson, the FBI informant, acting at the behest of the FBI.

If this suggested scenario were true, it would allow Pellicano to argue that the FBI first brought up Pellicano’s name as part of an attempt to manufacture probable cause to get into Pellicano’s office. This revelation would be devastating to the government’s case. Indeed, in suggesting this scenario to Proctor on page 2 of the same letter quoted above, Philips said that he believed Proctor’s recollection of the details of the conversations could “sink this case.” Philips said: “There are so many questions I have about what happened in the summer and autumn of 2002.” He followed up with this:

This scenario was presented to Proctor in a letter that reminded Proctor that Saunders and Ornellas are “the same officials who charged and prosecuted your [Proctor's] case.” This effectively reminded Proctor that, if he were to say anything disparaging about Saunders and/or Ornellas, it might help his own case.

In the letters, Philips repeatedly emphasized that the initial exchanges with Patterson, the government snitch, were not recorded. It’s hard to see why this fact was important, if Philips were seeking the truth. But if Philips sought to have Proctor manufacture a false scenario regarding the conversations, it would be helpful to tell Proctor that Proctor could say what he liked . . . without fear of being contradicted by a recording.

In several other letters to Proctor, Philips presented the same specific factual scenario: that the FBI’s snitch was the first person to bring up Pellicano’s name. In these letters, Philips consistently reminded Proctor that the conversation was not recorded. For example, in a letter dated October 24, 2007, Philips said:

(Bottom of page 1)

(Top of page 2)

Read the letter: Page 1 and Page 2.

In another letter, dated November 15, 2007, Philips asked the same question again:

Again, Philips repeatedly reminded Proctor that the conversations were not recorded. In this last letter, Philips also told Proctor that Assistant U.S. Attorney Saunders had called Proctor’s girlfriend a liar. Read the entire letter here.

Here are the other letters obtained by this blog: Philips’s initial handwritten letter to Proctor is here, and a November 24, 2007 letter in which he responds to Proctor’s complaints about his reporting is here.

The letters’ authenticity

This blog cannot reveal the source that provided me with the letters that Philips wrote to Proctor. However, there is evidence to corroborate their authenticity.

I have compiled that evidence in a separate page, which you can read here. In a nutshell, I have obtained letters from several different sources, that Philips wrote to several different prison inmates. In addition to the letters to Proctor, I have obtained letters that Philips wrote to two prison inmates (Roland Campbell and Spencer Bowens) whom he suspected of being involved in a 1994 non-fatal shooting of Tupac Shakur. (See here, here, and here.) Those letters were posted by an anonymous blogger who claimed they originated from the lawyer for Jimmy Rosemond, one of two people that Philips accused of having masterminded the 1994 shooting. The other alleged mastermind was James Sabatino, who also sent me a letter he said was sent to him by Philips. I will publish that letter in a future post.

So I have nine separate letters to four different people, originating from three different sources. The signatures and handwriting are similar; here are some examples:


Signature from letter to Bowens

Signature from second handwritten letter to Proctor

Signature from initial handwritten letter to Proctor

Apparently, when he typed his letters, Philips’s signature was messier:


Signature from letter to Sabatino

Signature from October 24, 2007 letter to Proctor

There are more signatures at the linked page, which also contains examples of handwriting from the letters:


Handwriting on letter to Campbell

Handwriting on initial letter to Proctor

Handwriting on envelope sent to Sabatino

Again, all these letters came from different sources.

The letter Sabatino claimed to have received from Philips had a photocopy of a business card from Philips, along with a cell phone number.

I called that cell phone number and reached Philips on Sunday morning. I introduced myself and said that I wanted to ask him questions about some letters that he had written to various prison inmates. He asked who the inmates were, and I told him. He said: “You’re the guy who’s always ragging on me, right?” I replied that I was simply trying to tell the truth. He said: “Well, I don’t think you’re doing a very good job, but send them to me and I’ll take a look at them.”

I sent Philips copies of all the letters above by e-mail, and left him my phone number. As of the date and time of this post, he has not returned my phone call or responded to my e-mail. He is welcome to contact me at any time to provide his point of view.

Ethical questions

Philips’s letters raise several ethical questions.

Why did Philips repeatedly emphasize to Proctor that Proctor’s initial conversations with Patterson, the government snitch, had not been recorded? Did that advance a search for the truth? Why didn’t Philips simply ask Proctor what had happened in the conversations with Patterson, and let Proctor talk — rather than repeatedly suggesting a specific scenario (and only that scenario) and asking Proctor if it was true?

Did Philips handle this in a proper fashion? When a reporter is proposing to interview a man who might be a witness in a criminal trial, and is pursuing the possibility of government misconduct in the case, is it ethical for the reporter to lay out a specific factual scenario of government misconduct, and then ask if it’s true? Did this approach aid a search for the truth?

Reporters seeking interviews obviously try to gain the confidence of the person they want to interview. But is it proper or ethical for a reporter to express opinions in such a clear and unmistakable way, as Philips did in these letters? Is it ethical for a reporter to tell a source that he has taken sides in a controversy, while writing purportedly objective articles about that controversy?

I sent all the letters Philips wrote to Proctor to Kelly McBride, the head of ethics at the Poynter Institute, and asked her the questions I have raised in this post. Ms. McBride replied that she did not feel comfortable addressing this issue without doing substantial independent reporting — and, she said, she did not have the time to do that reporting. I also tried asking Jay Rosen at NYU, who suggested that I simply publish the post and let readers make their own judgment.

So there you have it. The ball is now in your court, members of the reading public. Does Chuck Philips’s approach to his sources, as revealed in the above letters, comport with your idea of journalistic integrity? Did his editors at the Los Angeles Times, including Marc Duvoisin, know this is how he approached his stories? Did they care? Will anyone ask Duvoisin, who still works at the newspaper?

Only time will tell.

UPDATE: Since the publication of this post, Philips has acknowledged to me that he wrote all the letters discussed in this post. He also defended their content. More details will be coming in the next few days.

UPDATE x2: Philips reacts here.

54 Responses to “Chuck Philips’s Letters to a Witness: Merely Suggestive? Or Witness Tampering?”

  1. Great piece of investigative journalism. A true credit to all bloggers.

    Ryan (e619e7)

  2. The fact Anita Busch was forced to endure his crime and never defended by the Los Angeles Times but actually harmed by its actions speaks volumes about the integrity of the newspaper. Anita is a first-rate journalist and deserved better.

    Alex Topaz (e1672d)

  3. Patterico, there’s something about this I don’t understand. You’re an LA prosecutor. If you’ve got evidence of a crime, why aren’t you showing it to a Grand Jury?

    If it isn’t good enough to take to a Grand Jury, then why should we be impressed by it?

    Further, isn’t it possible that posting your evidence here could prejudice any case that might eventually be brought?

    [I don’t see how. In my opinion, shining a spotlight on the issue is beneficial to anyone seeking the truth in this case.

    As for your questions about whether you should be “impressed’ — I would think people can make up their own minds about whether they are “impressed” (or distressed) by journalistic malfeasance . . . regardless of whether it amounts to a crime, or in whose jurisdiction it arises.

    If you wish to raise any further questions along these lines, feel free to send me an e-mail. — P]

    Steven Den Beste (99cfa1)

  4. Completely confusing. Being online doesn’t help the writing. Hire an editor or a real writer.

    [It’s not the simplest story. If it’s too complicated for you, there’s always Gawker and Defamer. They have lots of pictures and nothing is confusing. Toodles! — P]

    [UPDATE: Although I now see that Gawker has linked this. So I guess it wasn’t too confusing for them! — P]

    Calvin Hobbes (6dcd3b)

  5. In June 2007, Nikki Finke complained that Pellicano repeatedly “carrie[d] water for Pellicano’s defense attorneys,” and argued that the paper should have reassigned coverage of the Pellicano case to a different reporter.

    I presume that sentence should read “Nikki Finke complained that PHILLIPS repeatedly carried water for Pellicano’s defense attorneys…” ?

    [Indeed it should . . . and now it does. Thanks for the help. — P]

    Justin Levine (c2c1dd)

  6. This is like a pig in the sty oinking, ‘Hey, isn’t this great stink?’

    Dave C. (d8da01)

  7. Let’s see, yet another example of the Los Angeles Times either spiking a story, manipulating the facts in a story or hiding tapes that would be damaging to their politics like the Obama tape. The first questions any person stupid enough to still be subscribing to the L.A. Times should ask regarding any story in the L.A. Times would be is the story true, what’s missing from the story, why would the L.A. Times publish this particular story now and who profits from this story? Forget the truth as the drive by media of which the L.A. Times is but one outlet couldn’t find the truth nor print it even if it meant they might be able to save their stupid corrupt papers. As they keep laying off staff, all in the corrupt drive by media have only themselves to blame. Forget about a bail out as most Americans will agressively fight any tax dollars going to prop up left wing propaganda orgainzations.

    Michel de Latour (9dd71a)

  8. Somehow, I had missed that Phillips was no longer with the LA Times. That’s to their credit.

    I’m grateful that Patterico has taken so much time to shine light on this disturbing story and also show us clearly what’s wrong with this failing newspaper.

    We need news… and if the LA Times focused on just reporting the facts as best as they could, with as little bias as possible, they would surely be a dominating paper in this country. Instead, they have this mess… that sounds like something straight out of a soap opera or corny murder mystery show.

    And for some reason, this site attracts some of the most dedicated and ugly trolls on the internet (or maybe I just don’t get around enough to see how bad they can be). You’d think even a die hard liberal would recognize what an important public servant Patterico is.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  9. Why is anyone surprised by this. This is what has become of journalism. It’s a joke now and not to ever again be taken as fact!!

    M. Summer (e4b605)

  10. It more than appears that Phillips is telling Proctor: “This is what I want to hear. If you tell me that it will embarass the government who locked you up and insulted your girlfriend and maybe even help your case. If you cannot tell me that, I am not interested.”

    I don’t think these letters, by themselves, amount to a criminal case for witness tampering. Phillips could also say about the latters in isolation, “I’m a busy reporter and I didn’t want to waste my time if Mr. Proctor would only repeat what the government had already told me”. But they are not in isolation. Together with the other evidence posted previously by Patterico, they show an all-out effort by Phillips to help Pellicano.

    nk (64fad3)

  11. Trying again:

    I don’t think that I could make a case for sanctionable witness tampering with these letters but it is clear that Phillips is telling Proctor what Phillips wants to hear, how it might be to Proctor’s advantage to say it, and that Phillips is not interested in hearing anything else.

    nk (64fad3)

  12. The LA Times has not been an honest newspaper since the early 1950′s when the Chandler family got tied up with organized crime. The editors and writers are Marxist now, the paper becoming rapidly irrelevant and the reporters unethical. Thank you for pointing out this one case of corrupt reporting and coverup by the LA Times.

    Bob (71da8b)

  13. I don’t know if you know this or not but this page is now diretly linked by Drudge. I don’t ever recall Drudge linking to a blogger.

    Congratulations.

    bt (78b929)

  14. What’s your Point? Patterico. The ‘journalist’ in question got fired. End of problem. (?)

    here’s what I think you’re saying:

    some sort of ‘organized crime’ is involved in Hollywood. (whoop-d-do. Reagan was part of it, So were ‘liberals’ too. And Jews, Catholics and Christians…..__) Law doesn’t have that problem? Construction doesn’t? Business? Organized crime is wide spread obviously including even in ‘journalism’?

    an Argument of the particular to the general. Perhaps the dead fish is in the head of the beholder.

    You seem to smearing the general with a particular possible ‘crime’.

    Hollywood (mostly Liberals) is bad, Conservatives (esp. on Wall Street) are good. Journalists are scum, FBI guys are always good. Whatever.

    I don’t read the LA Times, do you?

    the ‘case’ is laughed out of court.

    datadave (3ad671)

  15. an argument of the particular being translated to the general?

    datadave (3ad671)

  16. particular=general?

    datadave (3ad671)

  17. Excellent job. This is the sort of research and clear presentation lacking in the MSN today. Well done.

    Dr T (69c4b2)

  18. Fascinating stuff, that typifies not only the L.A. Times but journalism as a whole when “reporters” get too close to “sources” and (more important) are far too impressed that those percieved to be “the powerful.” Pellicano is nothing more than a cheap thug. What happened to Anita Busch is horrendous — as was revealsed quite starkly at the trial.

    I have no doubt that were it possible for Patterico to seek prosecution of Chuck Phillips he would do so.

    David Ehrenstein (21a70c)

  19. What’s your Point? Patterico. The ‘journalist’ in question got fired. End of problem. (?)

    The “coming clean” part is missing.

    Pablo (99243e)

  20. There is, of course, a larger backstory to the stellar work that Pat has done on this case and the Tupac/Biggie Smalls scenario.

    The Code of Ethics for journalism is a broad farce.

    It has become painfully apparent that the “news” industry is utterly incapable of policing itself. North, East, West & South or “news” has become a weather vane ripped from its mooring and tilted perilously downward, not being blown in the direction of the wind, but rather, bashing endlessly against its housing.

    It is no longer a matter of simple “bias” as outlined in Bernie Goldberg’s books, it is a co-conspirator in the shameless wholesale distortion of facts, intentionally polluting the information stream upon which we rely to self-govern this land of ours.

    Political injustice, academic injustice, cultural injustice, and now, apparently…criminal injustice abound within the haughty confines of a group of individuals who have lost their conscience.

    They are incapable of being shamed, because without a conscience, there is no shame.

    This political season saw the low watermark for journalism. I wish President-elect Obama nothing but goodness and greatness for his term as my President. But he received a pyrrhic victory in a certain respect.

    He obtained a win based upon the fraud, conspiracy and crooked coverage of an information stream that has corrupted itself beyond repair.

    The people engaged in this profession nnow routinely resort to acts of intentional omission, half-truths, forging of documents, planting of false information, faking photographs, photoshopping, parsing of words and even whole cloth fabrications in order to “plant” a point of view into an important issue of the day.

    President-elect Obama’s victory came about in “some” part, at a minimum, based upon the willingness of the entrenched media to shirk their responsibilities and to conspire to abandon their duties to the public. He should have been able to win fairly, based upon full disclosure and open debate of the facts…but they didn’t let him. They cheated him out of the opportunity.

    Mark Halperin at Time has said this was the most lopsided and unfair coverage he has ever witnessed.

    The only way for us to self-govern this land of ours is upon the trust we place in our Fourth Estate to give us the facts upon which to formulate our judgments. When the Lighthousemen and the Town Criers are corrupt, bribed, derelict in their duties and seek to strangle the truth, we are left to listen in the darkness and pray that there exists no danger before the dawn.

    It is easy for folks on the left of center portion of the political spectrum to turn a blind eye toward this “favoritism”. After all, if it’s not your ox being gored, why raise a stink?

    That myopic and dangerous precedent has a way of finding its equilibrium, in ways, shapes and forms one cannot predict, but one always regrets after the fact.

    If we don’t stand for what is right, we will kneel before what is wrong. Journalism has entered the eighth ring of hell and it simply does not seem to care. The victories now ring hollow because they are achieved on a pack of lies, distortions and half-truths. Clever omissions and parsed words.

    Pat has done yeoman’s work in bringing this to light. But this is but one PET-CT scan on a metastasized disease. The LATimes, the NYTimes, the Washington Post, CNN, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CBS, Newsweek,…all the rest…need to stop and take a hard look at their conspiracy to defalcate on our bankrupted public trust, our gang raped information stream.

    Every other issue, depends upon this one. Every other issue cannot be decided properly, until we cure the disease affecting this one. Every other issue is at the mercy of the truth that is being denied to us, because of this one.

    This isn’t simply “bias” any longer. It’s a fourth stage of cancer, and there is no Stage Five.

    cfbleachers (fa3a27)

  21. The Bureau of Prisons reads all correspondence going to and out of federal prisons. The prosecutors in Pellicano’s case were likely monitoring the letters from Phillips to Proctor via the BOP.
    Despite your inferences that Phillips’ coverage was slanted everything he wrote to Proctor is true.
    Patterson was cooperating with Government on a drug case and a precious metal fraud case long before the Government used him to set up Pellicano. It is so obvious because the G knew Proctor had done work for Pellicano in the past so it would be easy to set up the false link to Pellicano on the Busch threat.
    Also if you look at the Busch transcripts in the instant case you will see that she never saw the fish and the rose herself but was told about it later. By whom? Who wanted to link Pellicano to crime families back east.Come on Patterico. Crack the real case here….

    windstar944 (f216ea)

  22. I can’t really speak to his ethics, but from what I can see, Chuck Phillips fell all the way down the ugly tree.

    Oh, and datadave — if you don’t get it, it wasn’t meant for you.

    Rob Crawford (04f50f)

  23. To all but the most obtuse the LAT apparently uses it’s printing presses to manipulate stories for their own agenda. Instead of reporting the news, they manufacture news. Whoever was running this reporter reminds me of a three stooges routine.

    In the face of declining ad revenues LAT reporters and editors are riding their horse until it drops dead.

    Good reporting. I wonder how deep the conspiracy goes? Thanks for having the ‘stones’ to shine the light of truth on these bottom dwellers.

    vet66 (d8da01)

  24. #13 “this page is now directly linked by Drudge”

    Where on DRUDGE would that be, please? I can’t find it.

    Official Internet Data Office (936b36)

  25. Why do you track your users IP addresses? You should remove that feature and join the ranks of true writers like myself. Or do you remain an instrument of the G? Where is Phillips working now?

    windstar944 (f216ea)

  26. windstar94 – I could tell just by reading your comments you were a TRUE writer.

    We are not worthy!

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  27. Why do you track your users IP addresses?

    Huh? Do you know of a website that doesn’t log IP’s? Are you familiar with Sitemeter?

    Pablo (99243e)

  28. so you track your IP addresses…in so doing you expose your sources to well, exposure. you are not a true writer and remain a prosecutor at heart. since there is only a limited number of seminal sources of this “story” and a finite number of cutouts (by name) who were used to plant this story, we could deduce the source. Ergo,
    SS x(seminal source) divided by CO y(cutout)=Proabable Source.
    and you are in effect outing your source.
    where is Phillips working now?I think he was just following up on some tips he got…at least he has been honoroable to the bible of the Fourth Estate.do not burn your sources.
    Get the letter Dan Moldea wrote to Pellicano about JOhn Connolly and Anita Busch. It is hilarious. Dated September of 2006. He can even email it to you. Really interesting. BOP has that too.

    seminalsource505 (f216ea)

  29. Why do you track your users IP addresses? You should remove that feature and join the ranks of true writers like myself. Or do you remain an instrument of the G?

    And instrument of the G? As in “Gangstas”? Or do you mean “Government”? Do you wear your tinfoil hat backwards in true G style, Money?

    JVW (89c289)

  30. #24. It has been taken down. It was on there about 6:30am CST today. I don’t know how long it had been up or when it was taken down.

    bt (78b929)

  31. It has been taken down. It was up there around 6:30am CST today for how long I do not know.

    bt (78b929)

  32. I agree with seminal source. P——-o, I love your work but you should explain that you have security on your site otherwise sources will not feel comfortable giving u tips. A teenager could figure out where every comment is originating from.
    The G does this all the time in association with Bloggers or journalists who they have a tacit quid pro quo with.
    They use bloggers “who owe” on leads to stories to
    entice target sources to unknowingly reveal themselves without due process. SOP for the G.
    There are AG guidelines which clearly state that Prosecutors may not use journalists as operatives or undercover sources on criminal cases.
    A good rule indeed.
    Why no OIG on THAT…
    so obvious the G was leaking stuff to journos and then following up with G reports that suited their needs in a “create evidence as you go” approach to the new “whatever you need rules of evidence.” Embarrassing for the G and to what extent? This case was personal from the beginning. P——-o
    stepped on somebody toes and they teamed up with the G from 2001. USing the G to settle civil scores? Only the wealthy get a away with that I suppose.
    Maybe the G was played by their sources and are too embarrassed to admit it?
    They probably should have questioned the motives behind their incredible timely source way back in early June of 2002.
    Where are the Pellicano tapes of his conversations with Patterson that were NOT relected in the FBI reports?
    Now ya know he did not delete those?
    So who did?
    Happy T-giving love your site..

    bellsofstmary1102 (f216ea)

  33. #28:

    “Ergo, SS x(seminal source) divided by CO y(cutout)=Proabable Source.”

    Was this magical formula transmitted to you via your aluminum fillings?

    brobin (c07c20)

  34. brobin that is hilarious.
    but really what about the tapes between pellicano and patterson. were there any?
    i bet john connolly knows.

    funnyguy9 (f216ea)

  35. let’s start a blog war about this topic.
    i heard richard johnson refused to print a story about that Moldea letter in which moldea trashes bush and connolly because he is a client of Johnson? or a source? or a blackmailing cockroach?
    Probably a paid source or a paying source.. who knows.
    love page six though they are cool.

    blogwar903 (f216ea)

  36. wow a blog war. I want in. I recently met the FBI agent and cop who arrested Conolly when he was ripping off PBA widows. I hear Connolly was escorted out of John Jay college a few motnhs ago when current and former cops became aware he had manipulated his way in by claiming he was a good friend of Chief Bratton. I think it may have been Bratton who had him removed. Bratton would never associate with someone who hurt PBA. Not a chance. Connolly was harassing Bratton all throughout the first pellicano trial.
    What could he have been pestering him about?

    californiablue (f216ea)

  37. Moldea is a great journalist. And incredibly ethical. A terrific guy and probably regrets getting caught up in the Connolly web.
    Good for him for telling Pellicano what he knew about the lies that were told. Bravo Moldea.

    MDSONGWRITER (f216ea)

  38. No, a teenager could not figure out who is writing each comment, and if you had a tip for Patterico, there are about a zillion ways to get it to him without him knowing your IP, though I don’t see why he’d believe your tip if you weren’t willing to tell him who you are.

    Just use an open wifi connection near your home, or go to a coffee shop, if you must have anonymity. Use a proxy if you’re truly paranoid.

    But Patterico would be an idiot if he didn’t keep track of IP addresses. This site gets more sock-puppetting liberals than you can shake a stick at.

    I think it’s absolutely hilarious that libs are coming on here to tell me that this story is not a big deal. I’m sure if FoxNews and Brit Hume were switched with LA Times and Phillips, Congress would be holding hearings and you monsters would be grabbing your pitchforks and lighting torches.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  39. you should explain that you have security on your site

    The hell?

    Quick primer for the ignorant: Every time you connect to another machine via the Internet, the other machine is told your machine’s Internet Protocol Address (‘IP address’). It HAS to; if it didn’t know the other address, it couldn’t send a response back.

    There’s nothing unusual about recording the IP address of someone hitting your site: most web servers do it by default.

    If you think that it’s an elaborate plot to get you, then you really shouldn’t be online, but should instead be (IMHO, IANAD) under medication.

    Rob Crawford (04f50f)

  40. Off topic: I’ve done up a Greasemonkey script to allow readers to ignore specific commenters. You can install it from here. Ripped off from Dan Weber’s Volokh Ignore List script.

    Milhouse (89df7f)

  41. Thanks, Milhouse.

    I think you imply a pretty interesting point: a lot of very interesting threads are derailed by trolls on patterico.com.

    Why would someone come in here and start freaking out about IP logging? It’s random, and annoying enough to force a reply. I hate to be paranoid, but it happens all the time here. I think some weirdo out there has it in his head that the best way to handle this blog is to ensure all of the discussions are interrupted.

    An LA Times employee? Probably not, but how I wish it could be the case.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  42. Not surprisingly, the comments on this thread that sound like they all came from the same person . . . did. The user has been banned for inability to maintain a consistent identity.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  43. Excellent post, Patrick.

    Even by LAT standards, their treatment of Busch was shockingly bad.

    If there was any justice in LA, you would get a Pulitzer for this series, or at least a screenplay deal.

    Like I said, if there was any justice…

    Patricia (ee5c9d)

  44. If the person wants to choose a single identity and stick with that identity, I would be happy to reinstate his posting privileges.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  45. This is so impressive, not only because of all the work Patterico must have put into it but also because he performed an important public service. I don’t know if a crime has been committed or if this violates journalistic ethics, but I believe some reporters will be more willing to do the same if acts like these go unexposed and uncondemned. Furthermore, exposing this sends a message to reporters everywhere that people are watching and thinking about what they do.

    Congratulations to Patterico and many thanks from a grateful citizen for following the leads and exposing the facts.

    DRJ (a50047)

  46. [...] is reporting on former LA Times reporter Chuck Philips’ work covering the trial of disgraced PI to the [...]

    Patterico looks at Chuck Philips and Anthony Pellicano | Les Jones (34b7e1)

  47. [...] L.A. attorney Terry Christensen sentenced to three years in Pellicano wiretap scandal [AP/Variety] Did L.A. Times skew coverage toward Pellicano defense? [Patterico] [...]

    November 26 roundup (1562ea)

  48. Patterico has done an outstanding job. Aces.

    But what’s a Moldea?

    Somebody’s crusty idea for an anti-fungus drug they put in yeast to keep white bread free from mold? Or was it the 1974 Moldea that AMC recalled to the Akron plant for loose nuts and lost bearings? Yes, that was it. Heads and tires rolled over that conspiracy. Thank God they renamed it the Pacer.

    DCSCA (d8da01)

  49. I believe you’re in violation of copyright law by re-publication of the Philips letters. Read Salinger V. Random House

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/copyright/cases/811_F2d_90.htm

    To the extent that the LA Times and/or Philips is damaged by your column, I hope they hold you liable, sue you, and get actual and punitive damages.

    In my opinion, you are an arrogant, racist rubbish monger.

    A, (6f77e0)

  50. Well, that’s a reasoned, polite response!

    Another Drew (b4fb11)

  51. Another Drew, well yeah. Except for the reasoned part … and the polite part.

    Oh, and except for the failure to understand the Fair Use elements given the differences between a commercial use like Salinger v. Random House and a discussion of contemporary public news like Patterico’s use here.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  52. [...] investigations of the questionable ethical conduct of L.A. Times writer Chuck Philips (see here and here). Frey and his guest bloggers are not backed by any deep pockets and have no journalistic [...]

    Michelle Malkin » Who says conservative bloggers don’t do reporting? (41113f)

  53. [...] the list reportly enough—Patterico’s posts on William Jefferson, Alex Kozinski and Chuck Philips are, in fact, works of investigative journalism—but after that you [...]

    I only investigated this report online. « The Edge of the American West (ea1fd5)

  54. [...] On Monday night I spoke with Chuck Philips for about an hour and a half. As far as I am aware, this was Philips’s first detailed interview since he was laid off from the Los Angeles Times back in July. [...]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » The Chuck Philips Interview, Part One: Philips’s Letters to Proctor (e4ab32)


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