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Steven Seagal, whose action movies once were major box-office attractions, believes false allegations by FBI agents ruined his career, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday.
The comments in the Times are the first Seagal has made publicly about an investigation begun some five years ago by the FBI into accusations he intimidated a reporter and had ties to organized crime.
The Times said Seagal is demanding an apology from the FBI. A spokesman for the actor was not immediately available on Friday.
“False FBI accusations fueled thousands of articles saying that I terrorize journalists and associate with the Mafia,” Seagal told the newspaper. “These kinds of inflammatory allegations scare studio heads and independent producers -- and kill careers.”
Seagal, 56, was once a major star of action movies such as 1992’s “Under Siege,” which earned $156 million at worldwide box offices, but now he makes straight-to-DVD releases such as “Flight of Fury” and “Attack Force.”
The FBI investigation stemmed from Seagal’s ties to former private detective Anthony Pellicano, who once was employed by many Hollywood stars, directors and producers, but is now in federal prison awaiting trial on wire-tapping and other charges.
The Pellicano investigation dates to 2002 when a free-lance reporter for the Los Angeles Times found a dead fish, a red rose and a note saying “Stop!” on her car. At the time, the reporter was researching Seagal and a former business partner.
Seagal told the Times that he and Pellicano had not been on speaking terms since the 1990s and the Times’ story said his lawyers told FBI agents that by 2002, Seagal and Pellicano had become rivals in a bitter legal dispute.
The actor said in October 2004, an FBI official told him that federal agents knew he had nothing to do with the Pellicano investigation. Still, Seagal claims they have not publicly exonerated him.
An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment “because of the ongoing nature of the investigation” and referred calls to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney noted Seagal has never been charged or accused of being involved in the incident that eventually led to Pellicano’s arrest. The spokesman added that the office does not comment on talks it has with attorneys representing defendants, investigation targets or witnesses.