Infamous Hollywood private investigator Anthony Pellicano has been convicted on 76 of the 77 federal charges against him.

A federal jury has convicted the former private eye of several racketeering offences - including wiretapping, identity theft and wire fraud - which is alleged to have used to monitor a number of celebrities, in an attempt to destroy their reputations.

Rocky actor Sylvester Stallone and comedian Garry Shandling were two of the Hollywood stars said to have been eavesdropped upon by Pellicano who faces a prison sentence of up to 20 years for the racketeering charges alone.

He represented himself in the trial, which had been rumoured to be a precipice to opening a door on Hollywood corruption, with studio executives, influential agents and successful comedians such as Chris Rock said to have employed Pellicano, though all have professed ignorance of Pellicano's illegal methods of sourcing information.

Former Los Angeles police department sergeant Mark Arneson and Rayford Earl Turner, a former telephone company employee, were also convicted of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy counts after taking payments from Pellicano to access confidential information through police and phone databases.

Pellicano had 77 federal charges against him and was found guilty of 76, only being acquitted on a charge of unauthorised computer access.

However, Brian Kabateck, the court-appointed lead counsel for the civil litigation in connection with Pellicano's work, told Variety: "The Pellicano saga is far from over.

"While there is satisfaction in seeing him found guilty for his crimes, we look forward to the civil process helping find justice for his victims and punishment for those who aided Pellicano's conspiracy but escaped prosecution in the criminal courts," he added.

"The core of this case was Pellicano's wiretapping scheme. Pellicano could not have engaged in such widespread and effective wiretapping without the complicity of [phone operator] AT&T.

"They need to be held accountable for their role in the violation of thousands of people's personal, legal and financial privacy."

16/05/2008 09:28:11