Investigator Claims Fleiss Threatened His Life
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss threatened to kill a private investigator who turned her wiretapped telephone conversations over to the FBI, the investigator testified.
Fleiss told Daniel Portley-Hanks that unless he gave her the original tapes, ``she’d cut my throat and (expletive) down my neck,″ Portley-Hanks testified at a pretrial hearing Monday. Fleiss had already paid him $4,700 for copies, he said.
Fleiss’ lawyer, Robert Bonner, said Tuesday that Fleiss ``absolutely denies making the threats.″
The federal hearing was to determine whether to dismiss charges against Fleiss in her federal money-laundering and tax-evasion case.
Fleiss claimed she was a victim of selective prosecution, and said no one else arrested for pandering in 1993 had then been charged with federal income tax evasion or money laundering.
U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall found no basis for the assertion and rejected Fleiss’ bid to dismiss charges she laundered money from her call-girl ring and lied on her federal tax returns. Fleiss was ordered to stand trial on June 20.
Fleiss, who has admitted running a call-girl ring serving the rich and famous, was convicted in state court in December on three pandering counts. Last month, she received the minimum three-year sentence and was fined $1,500. She is free on $200,000 bail while she appeals.
Portley-Hanks, who works for a Nevada, Calif., investigation firm, said he had been hired by the syndicated show ``Hard Copy″ for a story on Fleiss and her prostitution ring.
He testified he gave the FBI the tapes after Fleiss and one of her bodyguards threatened him.
Prosecutor Mark Holscher declined to say whether Fleiss or the bodyguard might be charged with making threats or whether Portley-Hanks could be charged for the wiretapping.