Patterico's Pontifications


Allegation: Pellicano Had Someone Inside the FBI

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 11:38 pm

In a trial involving allegations that Anthony Pellicano and others illegally accessed law enforcement computers, Pellicano’s defense was allegedly aided . . . by a guy illegally accessing law enforcement computers. Because he wanted to please his girlfriend, the star of the movie “The Last Seduction.”

The Washington Post reports:

A longtime FBI agent has been accused of accessing bureau computers to help high-profile Los Angeles private investigator Anthony Pellicano in his recent federal trial on wiretapping and racketeering charges, according to charging documents and law enforcement officials familiar with the case.

Mark T. Rossini, 47, who lives in New York, was charged Monday in U.S. District Court here with five misdemeanor counts of illegally accessing computers at the bureau’s headquarters between January and July 2007. Officials say he was searching for reports dealing with Pellicano.

If that isn’t weird enough, enter the star of the movie “The Last Seduction”:

Rossini’s girlfriend, the actress Linda Fiorentino, known for her role in “The Last Seduction,” has personal ties to Pellicano, according to law enforcement officials.

Linda Fiorentino

A July 2007 RadarOnline post fleshes this out a bit:

The star of The Last Seduction and Jade [Fiorentino] is dating an FBI agent and, say sources, taking more than a passing interest in his work. The agent, counterterrorism specialist Mark Rossini, recently transferred from Washington, D.C., to New York, partly, according to one source, to be closer to Fiorentino, with whom he’s often seen dining at Elaine’s, the uptown restaurant favored by the literary crowd.

Here’s where it gets weird: Rossini has apparently been accepting—or soliciting—Fiorentino’s help with criminal investigations, including the one against jailed private investigator Anthony Pellicano. “He’s a big gossip,” says one source. “He talks about all the help she’s been giving him on cases.” On another unrelated case, a different source recalls being surprised when he showed up for a meeting with FBI agents to find they had brought Fiorentino along with them. He says the actress seemed “really unstable.”

There’s something comforting about knowing that an FBI counterterror expert was described by friends describe as a “big gossip.” Don’t you think? And I sleep easier thinking of guys like that getting criminally charged with misusing government computers on behalf of a guy like Pellicano.

But putting that aside, let’s get back to the connections between Fiorentino and Pellicano. The July 2007 post, naively (it seems in retrospect) reported:

Sources say Fiorentino has been exchanging letters with Anthony Pellicano for the past two years—letters whose content they suspect she’s been relaying to her boyfriend. “She’s playing both sides,” insists one source.

Not so much! Because if the charges against Rossini are true, then “both sides” were really the same side — because Fiorentino’s boyfriend was (allegedly) in league with Pellicano to aid the defense of his criminal case.

A May 2006 Hollywood Interrupted post provides some truly eye-opening details about the actress. The post explains that Fiorentino was enraged at an attorney, Marty Singer, whom she believed had double-crossed her in her legal efforts to be paid for a movie she had agreed to do with a child rapist who doubled as a director. I’m not making this up. The post says that, according to a source,

the actress became obsessed with the idea that Singer might get indicted in the legal scandal erupting around hack PI Anthony Pellicano’s notorious wiretapping escapades. In her effort to dig up dirt on Singer, Fiorentino reportedly befriended the Pelican’s ex-wife, Kat Pellicano.

But, the post says, Kat Pellicano got freaked out when Fiorentino started taping Pellicano’s children. Then “Kat reportedly caught Fiorentino attempting to hack into her personal computer.”

Spying on the spy’s ex-wife.

Also revealed in the Washington Post article:

In court filings in March 2007, Pellicano’s lawyers reference obtaining an FBI report that they said prosecutors should have turned over to them during pretrial discovery. The report raised questions about an FBI agent’s credibility, the lawyers wrote. A law enforcement official said Rossini was the source of that document.

So this accused FBI agent provides information to Pellicano to question the credibility of an FBI agent. I believe it is Stan Ornellas. The March 2007 court filings referred to in the Post report appear to include this document, which contains the following passage:

And the document as a whole attacks the credibility of (now retired) FBI Special Agent Stanley Ornellas . . . the man who wrote the search warrant to get into Pellicano’s office. The man whose credibility was repeatedly attacked in a series of articles written by a former L.A. Times reporter named Chuck Philips.

Well, you knew this would all circle around back to him, didn’t you?

So Chuck Philips’s series of articles questioning the credibility of FBI Agent Ornellas was based in part on information that Pellicano’s team allegedly received from a rogue FBI agent working on behalf of Pellicano, at the behest of his reportedly unbalanced girlfriend, Linda Fiorentino, the sultry actress of old.

Is this town great or what?

UPDATE: More on all of this here, including details about how Rossini was caught, and competing theories of the intrigue behind it all.

Mumbai Police Use Truth Serum on Terror Suspect (Updated)

Filed under: Terrorism — DRJ @ 6:36 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Indian officials claim the “baby-faced gunman” Azam Amir Kasab, the only captured suspect from Mumbai’s recent terror incidents, is a native and resident of a Pakistani village but Pakistani officials dispute that claim. To resolve this and other questions, the Mumbai police announced they will use truth serum on Kasab:

“Police interrogators in Mumbai told The Times that they are poised to settle the matter of Kasab’s nationality through the use of “narcoanalysis” – a controversial technique, banned in most democracies, where the subject is injected with a truth serum.

The method was widely used by Western intelligence agencies during the Cold War, before it emerged that the drugs used – typically the barbiturate sodium pentothal – may induce hallucinations, delusions and psychotic manifestations.”

The deputy police commissioner described Kasab as a “highly-trained murderer” who is “a 24-year-old boy with the eyes of a killer.”

I don’t know enough about truth serum to say whether it’s a reliable source of information but I give the Indian authorities points for consistency and transparency. They’ve announced the use of truth serum on suspected terrorists for at least two years.

UPDATE: The Mirror reports the terror suspects may have been high on LSD, cocaine and steroids. There is also a photo of Kasab (or Kasav/Qasab), described as lying “dazed after his capture” and “hooked up to a life support machine.”

Please take a look at the photo. I don’t know if it’s a real photo but the machine looks like it might be a defibrillator. Is this what they mean by a “life support machine”? Do any medical folks out there recognize this?


Follow That Cart

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 5:32 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I almost always read Texas news first so that means I often end up writing Texas-based posts. There were several interesting stories today including a Dallas judge’s ruling that raises doubts about the validity of state-wide red light tickets, and a request by Texas prison officials that they need $66M in additional funds to get rid of unauthorized cell phones and other contraband in state prisons including on death row. (Cell phones really are everywhere, aren’t they?)

But these stories don’t hold a candle to yesterday’s low speed chase in Austin:

At around 9:24 a.m., a woman reported that someone was breaking into her house, Sergeant Jeff Slater said. Officers responded to the house in the 3500 block of Pecan Springs Road. The homeowner emerged from the house, but the suspect, who Slater said asked the homeowner to tie up his children with a phone cord, escaped from the house by running out of the back door.

Slater said police chased the suspect through a wooded area onto the Morris Williams Golf Course near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Springdale Road. When the suspect got on a golf cart, “we got on a golf cart, too, then he ran out of golf course,” Slater said. Police continued to chase the suspect on foot until he was arrested.”

This incident may be more than a home invasion. For one thing, it sounds like the male homeowner left his children in the house with the intruder. Reportedly the homeowner was also arrested in connection with a stolen pickup found in the garage.

I’d still like to see video of the golf cart chase on COPS. It would be especially interesting to see aerial views from a helicopter.


The Barack Obama Day

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 2:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Perry County, Alabama, voted over 70% for Barack Obama in the November election and now its Commissioners have voted to honor him with The Barack Obama Day:

“The Perry County Commission voted 4 to 1 to observe the second Monday in November as “The Barack Obama Day.” County offices will close and its roughly 40 workers will get a paid holiday.”

How appropriate to honor the “spread the wealth” candidate by giving county workers a day off with pay – at taxpayers’ expense – in recognition of a man who hasn’t even taken office yet.


It’s Kind of Like Being the 101st Dalmatian

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:16 am

The ABA Journal has its list of the top 100 legal blogs out. The compilers claim:

We put a premium on blogs that broke news in 2008, or were among the first to provide trenchant analysis of one or more breaking legal news stories.


There was a legal blog that broke some news this year, on the controversy surrounding racy material on Judge Alex Kozinski’s server/website. As you may remember, the disclosure of the material by the L.A. Times led to a mistrial in an obscenity case, and sparked an ethics investigation of Kozinski, the 9th Circuit’s Chief Judge.

And there was a blog — can’t quite remember the name right now — which first published the material that Kozinski had uploaded to his server. Then this blog published a letter from Judge Kozinski’s wife, rising to his defense — which was quoted in the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times.

That same blogger interviewed legal ethics expert Stephen Gillers, who had been quoted in the L.A. Times regarding the material, asking him whether he believed Kozinski should be disciplined now that he had seen the material. (He didn’t.)

The blog in question, whose name continues to elude me, probably did some other analyses of breaking legal stories . . . I seem to recall some posts about DNA and the L.A. Times where the blogger was vindicated in questioning a front-page L.A. Times story.

I wish I could tell you which blog this was . . . but I can’t. I was certain I would recognize the name as I scanned the top 100 legal blogs — but this one didn’t quite make the cut.

The only thing I remember is that the blogger isn’t a law professor, and therefore is not to be taken seriously on legal issues. Other than that, I’m lost.

Feel free to visit the link above to see which 100 blogs did break stories and provide trenchant legal analysis.

P.S. I did find one that richly deserved to be on the list: That’s What She Said. The concept: “For every episode of NBC’s The Office, a lawyer spots its potential litigation claims and estimates the possible value of those cases.”


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