In Friday’s article about Steven Seagal and the Pellicano scandal, Los Angeles Times staff writer Chuck Philips regurgitated claims about the conduct of the U.S. Attorney’s office from one of Seagal’s attorney’s, Jan L. Handzlik. Then Philips wrote: ”Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, declined to comment.” I have learned this is not true. When I asked Mrozek for comment on the Seagal piece, the public information officer forwarded me the statement (see below) he issued to Philips, who even confirmed its receipt to the PIO four minutes later.
I don’t understand why the Pulitzer Prize-winner failed to use it. Then again, it’s been painfully clear that Philips’ agendas (1) upon agendas (2) upon agendas (3) upon agendas (4) while covering the Pellicano case has been to carry water for accused Hollywood P.I. Anthony Pellicano’s defense attorneys. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the LA Times should reassign the Pellicano story. I also don’t understand why the Los Angeles Times is refusing to make a correction to Philips’ Friday article or print Mrozek’s statement. Here it is:
From: Mrozek, Thom (USACAC)
Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2007 4:41 PM
To: Philips, Chuck
Cc: Thom Mrozek
Subject: Response re: Jan quote
OK, this is official…..should be attributed to me.
“We never comment on discussions we have with attorneys representing defendants, targets of investigations or witnesses. I should add that the government has never charged or accused Mr. Seagal of being involved in the incident that led to the search of Pellicano’s office.
“Investigators decide on the most appropriate time to conduct an interview, and that might not always coincide with when the person would like to be interviewed.”
Now, off the record: you may want to go back to Jan and ask him to define “information” and to revisit the immunity issue.
Public Affairs Officer
United States Attorney’s Office – Los Angeles
Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.