Seagal Blames FBI for Floundering Career

Former action star wants apology for implicating him in a nefarious plot.

ByABC News
August 17, 2007, 4:09 PM

Aug. 17, 2007 — -- Movie buffs might assume that '90s action star Steven Seagal's career took a nosedive due to changing audience tastes, the emergence of younger muscle-bound actors or that his acting was less than Oscar-worthy.

Well, you could be mistaken.

According to Seagal, it's the FBI's fault that he now stars in low-budget movies that go straight to video. And he wants an apology from the bureau.

The 56-year-old pony-tailed martial-arts expert broke a long silence today to complain that his career was devastated by an FBI affidavit in 2002 that described allegations that he was involved in a plot to intimidate two journalists out of writing stories about him.

"False FBI accusations fueled thousands of articles saying that I terrorize journalists and associate with the mafia," Seagal told the Los Angeles Times. "These kinds of inflammatory allegations scare studio heads and independent producers -– and kill careers."

According to allegations detailed in the affidavit and a subsequent affidavit, Seagal hired infamous private eye Anthony Pellicano to frighten Times reporter Anita Busch and Vanity Fair writer Ned Zeman. In 2002, someone shot a bullet through the windshield of Busch's car and left a dead fish with a rose in its mouth and a sign reading "Stop" on top of the vehicle.

Zeman said an unidentified man pointed a semiautomatic pistol at his head and said, "Stop!" before pulling the trigger. Luckily for him, there was no bullet in the chamber.

Seagal was never charged in the case and the investigation quickly changed course, focusing on Pellicano, who now sits in federal jail awaiting trial on wiretapping and other charges. But the actor has still not been publicly cleared by the FBI.

"We have received no apology from the FBI or Department of Justice," Seagal lawyer Jan L. Handzlik tells "In fact, Steven was left hanging for several years while story was reprinted over and over again. And the damage to Steven's career was substantial even though these allegations are not true."