A notorious Hollywood private investigator who served 16 years in prison for wire-tapping the ex-wife of the late MGM casino mogul Kirk Kerkorian, among other crimes, has a new gig.
Released in 2019, Anthony Pellicano has been hired by another billionaire, Edmonton Steelers-owner Daryl Katz, to make a sexual misconduct lawsuit disappear, Variety reports.
Katz was accused in a lawsuit filed in Las Vegas in July of making an indecent proposal to the ballet dancer Sage Humphries, allegedly when she was 17. The suit claims then-53-year-old Katz paid Humphries $75,000 for sex, an allegation denied by both parties.
Lawyers for Katz claim the Canadian tycoon actually paid Humphries $50,000 in relation to a proposed film project. They have also submitted evidence that the dancer was 18 when they met and therefore not a minor.
The case stems from an earlier federal lawsuit filed by Humphries and another dancer in July 2021. It alleges the plaintiffs were sexually exploited by their former dance instructors, Taylor and Dusty Button.
In the lawsuit, Humphries claims the couple “sexually and verbally abused her, forced her to live with them and isolated her from her family.” In September 2021, the suit was updated to accuse the Buttons of the sex trafficking and sexual abuse of seven dancers between 2007 and 2021. One was allegedly a minor, aged 11.
The Buttons filed a counterclaim, which included the allegation against Katz. In it, they claim they lived with Humphries in a consensual “throuple.”
The Buttons’ lawyer, Marc Randazza, has dropped the countersuit against Katz without prejudice, which means it could be refiled at a later date.
Pellicano has been hired to lean on Randazza to get him to dismiss it with prejudice, according to Variety, which means it goes away forever.
But the attorney wants to keep his options open. Randazza told Variety that Pellicano has been in contact to inform him the Buttons are “not going to like what he digs up about them and exposes about them,” if the case is not dismissed with prejudice.
Pellicano denies threatening Randazzo and his clients.
“My client is Daryl Katz,” Pellicano told Variety. “People like to call me a fixer. The term I use is negotiator. I negotiate on behalf of clients. Am I doing anything illegal? No, I’m not.”
In 2006, Pellicano was indicted on racketeering, conspiracy, wiretapping, witness tampering, identity theft and destruction of evidence charges. During his reign as gumshoe to the stars, he tapped the phones of Sylvester Stallone and Keith Carradine and unlawfully accessed confidential police records of Gary Shandling and Kevin Nealon, according to prosecutors.
He was also hired by Terry Christensen, a 40-year legal adviser and personal confidant to Kerkorian, to bug the phone of Kerkorian’s ex-wife, Lisa Bonder.
Kerkorian was the founder of the company that became MGM Resorts International. Christensen had served on the MGM board for nine years before he was convicted on racketeering charges related to the Bonder phone tap. He served three years in a federal prison.
MGM continued to consult Christensen on a number of business matters after his resignation from the company’s board and subsequent criminal conviction.
This caused beef between MGM and New Jersey gaming regulators. The casino giant eventually paid $225,000 for a settlement payment to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission to resolve the matter.
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