UPDATED: Another one bit the dust at a hearing today. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles confirms that Daniel Nicherie, one of the six co-defendants in the wiretapping and racketeering case against thug Hollywood P.I. Anthony Pellicano changed his plea to guilty to federal charges of aiding and abetting wiretapping in the scandal. Additionally, Nicherie pleaded guilty to three counts in another 2004 case, too. Sentencing in the consolidated cases is scheduled for March 5. He faces a maximum possible sentence of 35 years in federal prison. Nicherie becomes the seventh defendant to plead guilty in relation to the Pellicano investigation, and the fifth defendant to admit that Pellicano was engaged in wiretapping. According to Drew Combs of the legal newspaper Los Angeles Daily Journal, the plea change led attorneys connected to the case to speculate he is cooperating with prosecutors after the government went after him pretty hard. ”He could be very helpful if he is cooperating,” Laurie L. Levenson, a law professor at Loyola Law School who has followed the case, told Combs. “He can testify to what clients knew about Pellicano’s actions.” Nicherie and his brother Abner Nicherie, another co-defendant in the case, are alleged to have hired the private investigator to wiretap Ami Shafrir, an Israeli businessman who has said the Nicherie brothers defrauded him of millions of dollars. Pellicano and Daniel Nicherie are the only defendants in custody in the P.I. scandal. Nicherie has been locked up since March 2004, relating to his indictment on wire fraud and other changes in connection with his business dealings. ”This will also help focus the government’s case,” Levenson told Combs, “because it gets one of the co-defendants out of the picture.”
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