A music producer indicted in the Anthony Pellicano wiretapping case was ordered held without bail Tuesday after a federal magistrate judge ruled that he was a risk to flee the court’s jurisdiction.
Robert Pfeifer was one of seven people named Monday in a sweeping 110-count indictment accusing Pellicano, a disgraced former private investigator, of heading a vast conspiracy to conduct wiretaps and dig up dirt on celebrities, reporters and entertainment executives.
The indictment is the first major blow in what is expected to be a wave of charges targeting misconduct in the entertainment and legal communities.
Pfeifer was former president of Disney-owned Hollywood Records and owns a multimedia business.
During a hearing Tuesday, prosecutors presented e-mails in which Pfeifer allegedly told a friend that he would commit suicide or flee rather than face losing his business and serving time in jail.
“I will know before I get served an indictment. And you know I am not sticking around for that,” Pfeifer wrote in a Nov. 13, 2003, message to his friend Rosemary Carroll. “I would kill myself before I went to jail or trial. But first I would run.”
Pfeifer’s attorney, Leonard Sharenow, argued that his client, who was indicted on one count each of witness intimidation and aiding and abetting wiretapping, could face no more than two years in jail, not enough to prompt him to flee.
The e-mails were obtained by Pfeifer’s estranged wife. Sharenow said that a judge hearing the couple’s acrimonious child custody battle stated that she displayed an “appalling” lack of credibility.
But Magistrate Judge Stephen J. Hillman said the e-mails showed that Pfeifer was experiencing “intensely volatile emotions” and had tried to play a “cat and mouse game” with authorities, tracking when the indictment would be returned so he could leave the country, and ordered him held.
Pellicano, who just completed a 30-month federal prison term for possessing illegal explosives, pleaded not guilty to the new charges Monday and remains in custody.
Abner Nicherie, who is charged with aiding and abetting wiretapping, posted bond Tuesday and was released from a Las Vegas courtroom, authorities said.
Nicherie’s brother, Daniel, is being held at the downtown Metropolitan Detention Center in a separate fraud case and is expected to make his first appearance Monday. He is also charged with aiding and abetting wiretapping.
Three other co-defendants — former Police Sgt. Mark Arneson, former phone company technician Rayford Earl Turner and software engineer Kevin Kachikian — posted bond and were released from custody. Arneson is accused of using confidential police databases to search for embarrassing information for Pellicano, and Turner and Kachikian are accused of helping him conduct wiretaps.