Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hollywood Celebrity P.I. Prime Topic at Mob Trial

A top Hollywood private investigator, Anthony Pellicano, now in jail battling charges he illegally wiretapped enemies of the rich and famous, worked under reputed top mobster Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo three decades ago when Pellicano lived in Chicago, according to court testimony Wednesday.

Top Hollywood Private Investigator, Anthony PellicanoPellicano allegedly had a mob henchman, Alva Johnson Rodgers, blow up a Mount Prospect home and was upset when the man wouldn't torch a restaurant, according to Rodgers' testimony in the historic Family Secrets mob trial in Chicago.

Pellicano allegedly had a mob henchman, Alva Johnson Rodgers, blow up a Mount Prospect home and was upset when the man wouldn't torch a restaurant, according to Rodgers' testimony in the historic Family Secrets mob trial in Chicago.

Pellicano's mob past in Chicago has long been hinted at, but the trial on Wednesday offered the first public, detailed testimony on what Pellicano allegedly did when he was in Chicago.

Pellicano's mob past in Chicago has long been hinted at, but the trial on Wednesday offered the first public, detailed testimony on what Pellicano allegedly did when he was in Chicago.

Pellicano's attorney, Steven Gruel, could not be reached Wednesday but has rejected claims that his client was mobbed up.

Rodgers, 78, testified with a Texas twang as he described to jurors how he went from a petty car thief to hanging out with Outfit members after he befriended Chicago mobster Marshall Caifano when they were both in prison in the early 1970s.

Rodgers said he saw Pellicano with Lombardo several times.

Rodgers burned down a Mount Prospect home that no one was living in at the time after Pellicano paid him $5,000.

Another time, Rodgers said Pellicano wanted him to close down a Chicago restaurant after a woman who had invested in the place wasn't getting any return.

Rodgers hired some kids to knock out the windows but said he balked when Pellicano wanted him to burn it down because the place was open 24 hours a day.

Rodgers, who mainly stole cars, came under a withering grilling by Lombardo's attorney, Rick Halprin, who mocked his testimony.

"You were, if you pardon the expression, just a bust-out loser?" Halprin asked.

"Probably, yeah," Rodgers conceded. But Rodgers added that he did do 11 years in prison for a bank robbery. "Is that heavy enough?"

"I'm glad you're not modest," Halprin said. "The bank robbery is probably the highlight of your career?"

"Well, sort of," Rodgers said.

Through his questions, Halprin mocked Rodgers' plan in the 1970s to take over the porn industry in Chicago.

Halprin asked how Rodgers could get the loans to buy millions of dollars of pornography.

"Based on your good credit, right?"

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

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