Jack Palladino: Private eye's photos used to track his suspected killers

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Jack PalladinoImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Jack Palladino was known for representing high-profile clients

A well-known private investigator whose clients included celebrities and presidents has died from injuries sustained during an attempted robbery.

Jack Palladino, 76, hit his head after a struggle with two alleged robbers who tried to grab his camera outside his home in San Francisco last week.

The camera held images that led to the arrest of two suspects, police said.

Palladino was in a coma and died on Monday after he was taken off life support.

In a career spanning decades, the private eye worked on an array of high-profile and controversial cases, ranging from sex scandals to murder allegations.

Former President Bill Clinton, musician Courtney Love, and disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein were among the biggest names to solicit his detective services.

"He was daunting and scrupulous in his profession," his lawyer Mel Honowitz told the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper. "When the game was afoot, Jack led with intellect, experience and passion for the truth."

What happened to Jack Palladino?

Last Thursday, Palladino was outside his home when he was allegedly assaulted by two men.

Witnesses told local media that one of the men attempted to reach out from a car to snatch Palladino's camera from his hands.

A struggle ensued before Palladino fell backwards and hit his head on the pavement, leaving him unconscious.

At some point before the alleged robbers fled, Palladino took pictures of them on his camera, which police later used to track them down.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Palladino started his career as an investigator in the 1970s

On Sunday, police said two men had been arrested in connection with the alleged robbery.

Lawrence Thomas, 24, and Tyjone Flournoy, 23, have been charged with attempted murder, attempted robbery and other crimes, according to the San Francisco Examiner newspaper.

"Those of us who knew Jack are mourning his death but chuckling that it is a fitting way for him to go," Mr Honowitz told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Private eye to the stars

Trained in law, Palladino started his career as an investigator in the 1970s, an era when private detectives were glamorised on TV and in Hollywood.

In 1977, he founded a private detective agency with his wife, who spent decades living and working on cases together.

Their most famous cases involved prominent celebrities, many of whom hired them to quash negative stories or discredit allegations.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The presidential campaign of Bill Clinton hired the private eye in 1992

Courtney Love, for example, employed Palladino to handle media surrounding the death of her husband, grunge icon Kurt Cobain.

But Palladino was perhaps best known for his involvement with the Clinton campaign, which hired him in 1992 to help quell rumours of the former president's extramarital affairs.

In a 1999 profile, the San Francisco Examiner described Palladino as having "built a reputation for aggressive investigations, an in-your-face style and the ability to neutralise adverse witnesses and spin hostile media".

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