How about a little respect for the guy who pioneered phone hacking, huh?
That seems to be imprisoned former Hollywood detective/sordid problem solver Anthony Pellicano's viewpoint as he sat down for a recent exclusive talk with Newsweek (the weekly news pub's sister site, The Daily Beast, published the transcript Sunday).
Currently serving a 15-year term at Texas' Big Spring Federal Correctional Institution — Inmate No. 21568-112 if you'd like to visit him and you can take the heat — the 67-year-old Pellicano told Newsweek that, when it comes to wire-tapping telephones, "I was ahead of my time."
As for the phone-hacking scandal currently rocking the core of the News Corp. media empire, well, Pellicano is not impressed.
"I was the top of the ladder," he said. "Just to talk to me it cost $25,000. These guys were stringers who worked with reporters to try to get information on a celebrity."
Convicted three years ago on 76 counts including wire fraud, racketeering, and wiretapping, Pellicano apparently showed Newsweek repoter Christine Pelisek a tatoo he had done on his shoulder, shortly before going to prison, that reads, "honor."
Pellicano said the tat is to remind him that the government tried to break him — tried to get him to spill the beans on all of the Hollywood secrets he supposedly has — but break he did not
“When you are my client, you become my family,” he told Pelisek.
Of course, while he might not break, Pellicano certainly bends with a few teasers.
Recalling when the FBI raided his office, he said, “They come to my business … I have personal stuff on Arnold … If they found that stuff, he never would have been governor.”
Pellicano also revealed that he agreed to work for Michael Jackson during the late star's 1993 child molestation trial on one condition — that the singer wasn't guilty.
“I said, ‘You don’t have to worry about cops or lawyers. If I find out anything, I will f–k you over.’”
Regarding his later decision to dump Jackson as a client, Pellicano explained, “I quit because I found out some truths … He did something far worse to young boys than molest them.”
Further along, Pellicano insists he isn't bitter … but he doesn't think his sentencing is fair, at least compared to Norway's recent mass killer.
"I don’t have any hard feelings against the government," he told Newsweek. "Every U.S. citizen is subjected to the laws of this country. This guy in Norway [faces] a maximum sentence of 21 years.”
Pellicano — who has been married four times and says he gets few visitors these days — added that he has been asked to pen an autobiography. The crowded conditions at Big Spring, however, aren't optimal for writing.
“Imagine trying to write a story with 100 guys around you,” he said. “There is nowhere to go for quiet.”