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A judge in Los Angeles on Friday agreed to celebrity private eye Anthony Pellicano’s request to serve as his own lawyer against charges of illegal wiretapping and racketeering. The move removes Steven Gruel, the former San Francisco federal prosecutor who had been representing Pellicano since February. In November, a judge had delayed the trial until August, a motion Pellicano had opposed. “Mr. Gruel has been acting out of friendship, and I will not allow him to continue paying his own expenses and not being paid for his welcome services,” Pellicano wrote in a December letter to U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer. Pellicano, who says he is broke, has only paid $1 to Gruel; the rest of the bills � travel costs � have been footed on Gruel’s own dime. Gruel’s application to be appointed by the court to represent Pellicano � and be paid � was denied, according to the December letter. Apparently, Pellicano had thought the court might appoint an out-of-town attorney, such as Gruel, since the latter had already been preparing for the defense. Gruel would not comment on Friday’s session or his prediction of the case’s outcome now, saying only, “Mr. Pellicano is a good friend of mine, and I stand ready to assist him in any way possible.” Pellicano has pleaded not guilty to the charges, detailed in a sweeping 110-count indictment against him and several others.

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