anothony_pellicano_msnbc.jpgThis new development puts incredible pressure on Anthony Pellicano because it could dramatically strengthen the U.S. Attorney’s case against him. But the Hollywood private investigator has been fighting the feds at every twist and turn of his much-delayed conspiracy and wiretapping trial which is now set to start on March 5th. Frankly, few think he’ll give up — or give up his former high-profile clients. Hollywood figures with something to hide up could become very nervous if The Pelican started singing to the prosecutors.

Earlier today, RadarOnline.com tipped that two defendants were negotiating with the feds. Now the respected legal newspaper Los Angeles Daily Journal (subscription only) reports tomorrow that a total three of Pellicano’s five co-defendants “are locked in last-minute settlement talks with federal prosecutors and a judge.” Reporter Robert Iafolla identifies the trio as Mark Arneson (a 29-year veteran of the LAPD), Abner Nicherie (a Las Vegas businessman), and Rayford Turner (a former telephone field technician).

A total 7 co-defendants were indicted plus Pellicano. Two already have pleaded guilty. And recently bigtime showbiz attorney Terry Christensen was allowed to be tried separately. Defendant Kevin Kachikian (who allegedly developed the “Telesleuth” wiretapping software program for Pellicano) is not involved in the settlement conference. Pellicano, who is representing himself at trial, has been preparing for months from jail.

Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.