by Sandra Marquez, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Police are investigating reports of threats
against two journalists who wrote about alleged Mafia attempts to
extort money from actor Steven Seagal.
Ned Zeman, who wrote his story for the October issue of Vanity
Fair, told police that a motorist pulled up alongside his car on
Aug. 26, pointed a gun at him and said, "Stop." Zeman filed the
report that day, and detectives are still compiling a composite of
the man, police said.
In June, Anita Busch, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times,
told police someone had smashed her windshield and placed a dead
fish and rose under a roasting pan on her car's hood. A note with
the word "Stop" was left on the driver's side window, police
The LAPD's organized crime division is investigating that
report, Sgt. John Pasquariello said. Before being hired at the
Times, Busch was editor of the Hollywood Reporter. She resigned
that position in April 2001.
Pasquariello said despite the similarities between the threats,
detectives have yet to link them and the investigations are
separate. He said police advised Busch to take security
precautions but did not know whether Zeman had been given similar
Officials at both publications said they were taking steps to
protect their reporters.
"After discussions with law enforcement, we took the measures
recommended to ensure the safety of our reporter," said David
Garcia, a Los Angeles Times spokesman.
Vanity Fair spokeswoman Beth Kseniak said, "We are taking the
threat seriously and we're taking security precautions."
Both journalists reported on a federal grand jury indictment
involving Julius Nasso, a filmmaker who was Seagal's former
Nasso was arrested in June and charged with conspiring with the
Mafia to extort money from Seagal. Federal prosecutors in New York
said they had taped Nasso and a Gambino crime family member
plotting the shakedown. Nasso has pleaded innocent to
The case has been reported by a variety of news
In New York, Seagal's attorney, Martin R. Pollner, said his
client continues to work in Los Angeles on the Sony Pictures film
"Half Past Dead," in which crooks storm newly reopened Alcatraz
prison to force an inmate to reveal the location of a gold
fortune. The film, scheduled for release in November, stars Seagal
as an undercover FBI agent.
Pollner said he was in touch with law enforcement officials to
determine whether the incidents involving the two journalists
posed any threat to his client. Either way, he said Seagal, 51,
wasn't taking any chances.
"He does not travel alone, let's put it that way," Pollner