Speaking by telephone from the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles one morning last week, a defiant Pellicano insisted that he would never cooperate with authorities or testify against a bevy of A-list lawyers, Hollywood executives, business moguls and celebrities who have hired him over the years to dig up dirt on their adversaries.
Until an alleged mob-style threat against a Los Angeles Times reporter almost four years ago landed him in prison, Pellicano was Hollywood's private eye to the stars -- and their lawyers -- for nearly a quarter century.
His subsequent imprisonment in 2003 on illegal-firearms charges and indictment earlier this year for alleged racketeering and illegal wiretapping has kept much of Hollywood on the edge of its seat, wondering who else might be implicated in a burgeoning criminal probe.
The importance of Pellicano's vow of silence is not lost on his anxious clients and could be a critical factor in who else gets implicated and who doesn't.
So far, Pellicano and 12 others have been charged, including an entertainment attorney, a record company executive, two former police officers and several telephone company employees.
Six have admitted to lying to authorities and other charges stemming from hiring Pellicano or helping him conduct alleged illegal investigations; Pellicano and six others named in a 112-count indictment have pleaded not guilty.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Daniel Saunders, the lead prosecutor, said it would be "inappropriate" to comment on Pellicano's statements.
"The grand jury has heard the evidence and has returned a 112-count indictment, and we look forward to the opportunity to present that evidence in court," Saunders said.
In the interview, a 30-minute session that detention center officials allowed to be conducted over an unmonitored line, Pellicano spoke with characteristic bravado, citing his strength and personal integrity while sneering at "overzealous" prosecutors and their "bogus" case.
"The federal government has purposely tried to make this thing larger than life -- like a Hollywood movie," Pellicano said. "To me, these are the acts of overzealous FBI agents and prosecutors who have never really accomplished anything in their careers. They are trying to use my name and reputation to build something better for themselves.
"I think they had it in their minds that this is some big case where I'm purportedly wiretapping all kinds of celebrities and there are all these tapes. By the way, where are all these recordings that they are talking about? The government said they have a bunch. But they have never provided them to us in discovery. And they never will. Because they don't exist."
Federal authorities haven't described in detail what they seized in searches of Pellicano's Sunset Boulevard office in November 2002, other than to say it was voluminous: thousands of pages of documents and hours of encrypted audiotapes, some of which the government is still trying to decrypt.
The searches came after an FBI informant surfaced with a tape recording of a career criminal boasting that he had placed a dead fish with a rose in its mouth and a sign that said "Stop" on the windshield of Times reporter Anita Busch's car at Pellicano's behest.
Pellicano denies ordering the threat against Busch.
"Anybody knows that there is no way in the world that I am going to tell somebody to put a flower and a fish on somebody's car with a sign that says 'Stop.' C'mon," Pellicano said. "You know the kind of guy I am. If I got a problem with you, I'm in your face."
A key to expanding the federal case is proving that attorneys and others who hired Pellicano knew that he was obtaining information on their adversaries through allegedly illegal means.
Federal agents have been particularly interested in Pellicano's association with prominent entertainment attorney Bert Fields, who hired the detective numerous times over the last two decades. One case was a dispute between comedian Garry Shandling and Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey.