(AP) A man charged with threatening a reporter who was investigating an alleged Mafia extortion plot against Steven Seagal told an FBI informant the actor was behind the threat, court documents show.
Alexander Proctor allegedly said in secretly recorded conversations that he was hired to carry out the threat by Anthony Pellicano, a private detective to the stars. FBI agents said Proctor told the informant Seagal hired Pellicano to threaten Los Angeles Times reporter Anita Busch.
“He wanted to make it look like the Italians were putting the hit on her so it wouldn’t reflect on Seagal,” Proctor, 59, told the informant, according to a search warrant affidavit filed by FBI agents who later searched Pellicano’s office.
Pellicano was arrested Thursday in connection with what appeared to be explosive materials found during the search, said FBI spokesman Matt McLaughlin. He was expected to appear before a federal magistrate Friday.
An attorney for Seagal told the Los Angeles Times that his client had no involvement in the threat.
“This uncorroborated allegation by someone arrested is pure fiction and is nothing more than a transparent attempt to divert attention from himself and the real perpetrators,” said attorney Martin R. Pollner, who represents Seagal. “This is part of an unrelenting campaign to disparage Mr. Seagal and reads like a bad screenplay.”
A federal law enforcement source also told the newspaper that “at this time, other than Proctor’s uncorroborated statements, there is no independent evidence that Seagal was involved in the threat made to the reporter.”
Prosecutors said Proctor smashed Busch’s windshield in June and left a dead fish with a long-stemmed rose in its mouth on the car along with a sign reading “STOP,” according to a federal grand jury indictment.
Proctor was charged with interference with commerce by threats of violence, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. He has pleaded innocent.
According to court documents, Proctor told the informant he owed Pellicano about $14,000 and agreed to intimidate Busch for $10,000. Proctor allegedly told the informant he was supposed to “blow up” Busch’s car as a warning so she would stop reporting about Seagal. There is no indication in court documents that Proctor ever met with Seagal.
The Los Angeles Times published several stories earlier this summer about the arrest of Seagal’s former business partner, Julius Nasso, for his alleged role in a multimillion-dollar extortion scheme against the actor. Federal prosecutors in New York said they had a tape of Nasso and a Gambino crime family member plotting the shakedown.
Last month, Nasso’s attorney alleged in a court document that Seagal might have been involved in the threat against Busch and that it could reflect on the actor’s credibility as a witness.
Meanwhile, the FBI said its informant in the case was facing criminal charges at the time he agreed to cooperate in the Proctor investigation.