A Valencia businessman accused of paying Anthony Pellicano to wiretap a teenager who had accused him of sexual assault emerged Friday as the 13th person charged in the ongoing federal investigation of the indicted private eye.
Federal court documents allege that George Kalta paid $75,000 in three installments between Oct. 17, 2001, and April 18, 2002, with the hope that the illegal tape recordings would help his case.
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office charged Kalta in early 2002 with sexual battery by restraint and false imprisonment. County prosecutors said Kalta's victim was an 18-year-old woman who first encountered the business owner on Oct. 1, 2001, while she was making a delivery to his Canoga Park lighting store.
Authorities allege that he lured the young woman to return to his business under a pretense. When she returned, according to authorities, he was alone at the shop, closed the door and sexually assaulted her.
Kalta eventually pleaded guilty to felony assault without a deadly weapon, the district attorney's office said. The charge was later reduced to a misdemeanor. Prosecutors said Kalta also was arrested but not charged in a 2001 case in which he allegedly made criminal threats.
Kalta's attorney, Leslie Abramson, could not be reached for comment.
Kalta is the latest suspect to be charged in a 3-year-old FBI probe of Pellicano that has resulted in charges that he and others engaged in bribery of law enforcement officers, high-tech eavesdropping, blackmail, witness intimidation and other attempts to corrupt the judicial system.
The 61-year-old private investigator is accused of wiretapping or conducting illegal background checks on dozens of celebrities and business executives, including actor Sylvester Stallone, comedians Garry Shandling and Kevin Nealon and real estate developer Robert Maguire.
Pellicano has pleaded not guilty and is being held in federal custody without bond.
In a 112-count indictment, a federal grand jury alleged that Pellicano and one of his co-conspirators, former Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Mark Arneson, gained illegal access to an FBI database to run a background check on Kalta on Oct. 18, 2001.
The indictment also alleges that they ran a background check on March 18, 2002, of the assault victim. The Times generally does not identify victims of sexual assault.
The case is the second involving onetime clients of defense attorney Danny Davis, who is cooperating with authorities in their investigation, according to his attorney, Harland Braun.
Braun said Davis has turned over some documents subpoenaed by the federal government but has withheld others because one client has asserted that their release would violate attorney-client privilege. "We are holding them pending a judge's decision on what we should do," Braun said.
Those documents related to onetime Davis client John Gordon Jones. In 2003, Davis acknowledged with another lawyer that they heard tape-recorded conversations provided by Pellicano involving the alleged rape victims of Jones.
A Los Angeles businessman, Jones was accused of slipping drugs into women's drinks, taking them to his mansion in his limousine and raping them. He was acquitted in 2001 of multiple rape and kidnapping charges.
Davis also briefly represented Kalta before the district attorney's office filed charges against the businessman. But he had no role with the purported hiring of Pellicano, Braun said.
"My sense is that many times Pellicano worked with clients and would direct which lawyers they would get," Braun said. "That is probably why Danny didn't end up representing either [Jones or Kalta], because I don't think Pellicano cottoned to Danny very much."