Vanity Fair informed me this morning, in response to my questions on another matter, that last week the magazine’s contributing editor John Connolly “heard from the U.S. Attorney’s office who told him that they were obligated to inform him that Anthony Pellicano had threatened his safety.” Connolly has written several articles about the Pellicano scandal for the magazine, including this one for the upcoming June issue, Inside Hollywood’s Big Wiretap Scandal, and just contracted to do a book for Atria, an imprint at Simon & Schuster.
By my count, this is the third alleged Pellicano-connected threat against a journalist, the second against a Vanity Fair writer, and the first against a New York-based reporter.
I’m told that Connolly is taking this alleged threat “very seriously.” In response to my query, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said “we do not comment on private communications that come from or come into the office.”
In 2005, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office charged Pellicano, already in prison on federal weapons and explosives counts, with conspiracy to threaten then LA Times contract writer Anita Busch. The man he allegedly hired to do the dirty work, Alexander Proctor, already had been charged with one count of making criminal threats against Busch in a case filed in 2003. (Still unclear is who hired Pellicano.) At the time, Busch was working on a story about actor Steven Seagal’s alleged ties to the mob. On June 10, 2002, police were called to investigate the contents of a mystery package left on Busch’s auto along with a note that said “STOP” and a shatter mark on her windshield. The Los Angeles street where she lived was evacuated so the bomb squad could investigate the package contents: it contained a dead fish and a rose but no explosive device.
There have been no charges stemming from the incident two months later involving VF‘s Ned Zeman, who at the time was also writing an article about Seagal. He was reportedly threatened at gunpoint while driving outside his LA home. According to his editor, another car pulled up alongside Zeman’s, someone shined a light into his car window, and a man in the other car pointed a gun at Zeman and said ”Bang,” and ”Stop what you’re doing,” then drove off. Zeman reported the incident to the police.
Previous: Sneak Peek at New VF Pellicano Article: Juicy Stories About Grey, Ovitz, Fields, UPDATED: “Studio President” Unnamed by VF/Pellicano Is Ron Meyer, UPDATED: Pub Confirms Pellicano Bio Book, Forthcoming Vanity Fair Pellicano Exposé?
Also, here’s my LA Weekly column from June 23, 2005: Requiem for Anita Busch
Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.