Imprisoned former celebrity private investigator Anthony Pellicano and a man he allegedly hired to threaten a news reporter seven years ago pleaded not guilty today to felony charges.
Pellicano and co-defendant Alexander Frederick Proctor, both 65, are charged with one count each of criminal threats and conspiracy to commit a crime.
The first case filed against Proctor in 2003 charges him with criminal threats against Anita Busch, while the second case filed in 2005 charges both men with conspiracy and Pellicano with criminal threats.
Court Commissioner Henry J. Hall set a June 25 status conference and June 29 preliminary hearing date for the defendants, who are serving federal sentences.
The commissioner also approved a request by Pellicano to act as his own attorney. Pellicano represented himself throughout his two trials in U.S. District Court.
Pellicano was sentenced last December to 15 years in federal prison for his convictions in those two trials on more than six dozen felony racketeering, conspiracy and wiretapping charges for bugging the telephones of celebrities,attorneys and executives.
Proctor is serving a 10-year federal prison term in a drug case.
The criminal complaint in the newest case, filed on June 17, 2005, alleges that Pellicano hired Proctor between April and June 2002 to threaten Busch, who was then working for the Los Angeles Times, "to cause her to fear for her life."
Sometime between late in the evening of June 19, 2002, and early the following morning, Proctor allegedly went to Busch's residence in Los Angeles County and placed a dead fish with a rose in its mouth on the windshield of hercar.
"He (Proctor) made a hole in the windshield with the intent to make it appear like a bullet hole. He also placed a sign with the word `stop' on the windshield," the complaint alleges.
Pellicano, wearing a county-issued orange jumpsuit and round sunglasses, was asked this afternoon by the court commissioner if he understood he was "operating at a severe handicap" by acting as his own attorney.
The onetime private eye answered that he was sure he would be able to handle his defense from the county lockup.
"The sheriff's office is very professionally run and I am sure they will do everything they can to help me," Pellicano said.