Pellicano Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison; Read Anita Busch’s Sentencing Statement, Including Her Commentary on the Los Angeles Times
Anthony Pellicano was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison today — just one year less than the government had asked for.
Anita Busch read a statement to Pellicano during the sentencing. Although portions of her statement have been quoted in a couple of stories, some of the quotations have been inaccurate, and none of them has been complete. Below is Busch’s complete statement, which she has confirmed to me is exactly how she said it in court.
I was touched by how harrowing the experience was for her, and how little support she received from people at the L.A. Times, many of whom treated her very real nightmare as a joke. The most moving moment to me was reading Busch describe how agonizing it was just to start her car . . . after receiving credible threats that her car would be blown up: “[A]fter a night of nightmares, I would close my eyes and just scream really loud as I turned the key to the ignition. And when I didn’t blow up, I’d wipe my eyes and go onto work at the L.A. Times and face the snickers from the disbelievers.”
Busch also told Pellicano: “The day you were arrested, that’s when the cover-up began at my newspaper.” At that point, Pellicano started talking with his lawyers, ignoring her. Busch paused and waited until they stopped talking.
Until Pellicano paid attention.
Hearing that story, my reaction was: he wasn’t in control. She was.
That’s a great story.
Ms. Busch’s statement follows:
I want to thank Judge Fischer for her patience and wisdom during this trial and thank you to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Mr. Pellicano, after you and your employers relentlessly attacked all of us and got caught after years of doing this to others, you and your lawyers just kept attacking. You attacked the FBI, the search warrant, a potential witness, the veracity of your victims, launched personal attacks on the lead FBI agent on the case and U.S. Attorney, went after the jury and then the verdict itself.
And you did most all of it through the Los Angeles Times where I unfortunately found out while working there that you had a trusted relationship with the lawyer advising me and one of the reporters that they had covering this criminal case.
In the sentencing memorandum you talk about how your life is ruined. Yes, well, YOU made that choice. None of your victims had a choice. You could have helped put these sociopaths with money behind bars, but to this day, you show contempt for this court and the law.
You have yet to take responsibility for your actions.
It was revealed only two weeks ago that an FBI agent named Mark Rossini pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining documents that were then used by your lawyer.
So every day you prove that you ran a criminal conspiracy and a criminal enterprise.
Your co-conspirator Mr. Kachikian aided and abetted you so that my computer was hacked into and 18 years of my musical compositions – which I considered my life’s work – were destroyed.
When Mr. Turner and other co-conspirators at the phone company helped you tap my phones, you not only violated my privacy and that of my family and friends, but you violated the privacy of a journalist AND her sources, undermining the very fundamentals of my profession. This attack was also on journalism and a newspaper’s ability to gather the news.
By carrying out these crimes, you not only hurt me, you hurt my elderly parents, my brothers and sisters and my friends.
After these threats, I was afraid to come and go from my house. I was afraid to sit in my car for even a moment out in the street for fear that a car would speed up on me again, block me in and this time I WOULD be killed. And that was a Catch-22 because I was ALSO petrified to turn over the engine of my car for fear that it would blow up.
So, I would sit there and cry and pray and beg, “Please God, I want to live.”
Or some days, after a night of nightmares, I would close my eyes and just scream really loud as I turned the key to the ignition. And when I didn’t blow up, I’d wipe my eyes and go onto work at the L.A. Times and face the snickers from the disbelievers.
You and your employers not only used fear and intimidation, but you made sure people – your targets – were smeared in the press. And you and your clients used any means at your disposal to destroy people’s employment. And you guys did it many times over many years. When it was my turn how very convenient it was for you that you already had long established relationships inside my employer.
The day after the first threat, the lawyer at the L.A. Times, Karlene Goller, wanted YOU on board to help because as she said, “He’s done work for us in the past and he’s done well by us.” The editor told her no, but she did it anyway. Without my knowledge or the knowledge of law enforcement, she had reporter Chuck Philips call you about my case. Philips had a longtime relationship with you as a news source and had worked for years alongside Karlene’s husband.
I was new to the paper, but you weren’t. And you USED the relationships you had there against me. You made sure my newspaper didn’t believe me so behind the scenes you could ruin my employment just like you and your clients did to other victims.
The day you were arrested, that’s when the cover-up began at my newspaper. To this day their own reporters, editors and readers don’t know the truth. And while you and your lawyers cried crocodile tears about media leaks, Philips – a reporter you helped for years – wrote story after story against the government’s case. Information FED to him by your defense team. And because the men whose job it was to put an end to your criminal activity were now your targets – Dan Saunders and Stan Ornellas – your pal Philips wrote stories smearing their integrity.
And, of course, those stories were then approved by the same newspaper lawyer who looked to you for help. And this is just one example of how you and your clients used the media as a weapon.
Your convicted co-conspirator, Mr. Kachikian, even worked for the L.A. Times.
You reached inside the phone company, the LAPD, the Beverly Hills Police Department, the FBI … AND this city’s largest newspaper.
So, I was on my own. And I was scared. I thought it was just a matter of time before I was going to be killed. I was scared to have any family or friends around me because I was afraid that they themselves might get hurt. And I struggled. I struggled hard to work as a journalist while battling constant fear … Journalism was something I loved and what I lived for. But it became impossible for me to continue on as a journalist. My sources were afraid to talk to me on the phone. It wasn’t long before everything was gone.
I no longer had my career. I no longer had my peace of mind. My income was dwindling. My life savings was disappearing. My health went downhill. I didn’t even have my music. And I no longer had passion or faith in anything.
It was death by a thousand cuts … and the cuts were deep and hard. I didn’t deserve it.
I remember sitting alone one night, trying to think of something – anything – good that had come out of this. I realized that the only hope I had left was in a dogged, and thank God ethical, FBI agent named Stan Ornellas who I knew was out there every day working to try to put an end to this kind of domestic terrorism. Which is what it was.
I am thankful beyond words to these men and women who worked this case because they kept what happened to me from happening to anyone else.
Now, Mr. Pellicano, you have always spoken about a sense of honor. I understand. You know I know many of your former clients. Most of the ones I knew were never your friends and they were certainly never your family.
These people don’t care about the kind of healthcare you get on the inside, the lousy razors that nick your face, the sandpaper for toilet paper, the mystery meat and candy bars from the vending machine.
They don’t care that you won’t be there to hold your own mother’s hand when she gets sick or when she passes away.
Where is the honor in that?
You won’t be there because of Michael Ovitz.
Your sense of honor is not wrong, Mr. Pellicano. It is misplaced.
To you and your wealthy clients, this was about winning – destroying our lives – at any cost. Well, look at the cost … here in the courtroom today … look into the faces of the ones you love.
You threw away your role as son to your mother and father to your children.
Sometimes money costs too much.
For what you have done to all of us and to your own flesh and blood, all I can say is that I fear for your soul when I think that God is just.
Thank you, your honor.
P.S. The initial L.A. Times story on the sentencing doesn’t report any of Busch’s attacks on the newspaper. It will be interesting to see whether the paper ever mentions it.
It is, after all, news.
UPDATE: The story has now been rewritten, in classic L.A. Times style: at the same Web address, wiping out the old version entirely, without any notification to the reader. (I have saved the previous version.) Here’s what the latest version of the story says about Busch’s sentencing statement:
Pellicano’s troubles began in 2002, when a reporter who wrote negative articles about former Hollywood super agent Michael Ovitz went to authorities after she found a dead fish, a rose and a note saying “Stop” inside the smashed windshield of her car.
The reporter, Anita Busch, told the judge Monday that Pellicano’s intimidation and wiretapping were like “death by a thousand cuts.”
Yes, and Busch believes the L.A. Times shared some culpability for at least part of the misery she endured. The L.A. Times doesn’t tell you that.
To learn that, you had to come here.
UPDATE x2: The L.A. Times responds to Busch here.