Private Eye's Assistant Spills on Stand

Arranged wiretaps, transcribed tapes for Hollywood's Pellicano
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2008 10:16 AM CST
In this courtroom sketch, Anthony Pellicano, speaks in court during his wiretapping trial, Thursday March 6, 2008 in Los Angeles. Pellicano, acting as his own attorney, spoke for only 10 minutes during...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A former assistant to Anthony Pellicano, improbably named Tarita Virtue, told a packed courtoom yesterday that she transcribed many wiretapped conversations for the Hollywood private eye, Variety reports. She explained Pellicano's wiretapping process step by step, and described the detective's security system, including punch-code locks on every room  and files protected with the password "Omerta."

The office included a "War Room," Virtue said, where intercepted conversation could be listened to in real time. One of the Omerta files was called "Sissy—Cruise Missile Omerta," which she speculated referred to Tom Cruise, whose attorney hired Pellicano during Cruise's divorce from Nicole Kidman. Pellicano is charged with federal racketeering and wiretapping for illegally digging up dirt for clients involved in litigation or divorces.