|Born||c. 1950 (age 66–67)
UC Berkeley School of Law
|Home town||San Francisco|
Jack Palladino is a San Francisco-based private investigator and attorney. Born in Boston, he attended Boston Latin School and went on to do his undergraduate studies at Cornell. He subsequently moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to pursue graduate studies at UC Berkeley, first as a Ford Fellow in political science and then at Berkeley's Boalt Hall law school.
In the mid-1970s, he founded the private detective agency Palladino & Sutherland with his wife, Sandra Sutherland. Palladino and Sutherland met in 1972 during the course of an undercover investigation into abuses against the inmates of a New York prison on behalf of the Long Island District Attorney. Over a career spanning more than three decades, he has specialized in the preparation for trial of witnesses and evidence in litigation.
Palladino is best known for his work in the Peoples Temple tragedy, his defense of car maker John DeLorean, and for the Bill Clinton presidential election committee, the tobacco industry whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand, singer Courtney Love, and musician R. Kelly. He was also a close friend of San Francisco adult-entertainment pioneers Jim and Artie Mitchell, whose O'Farrell Theatre Palladino frequently visited.
Palladino spent seven years investigating the Peoples Temple tragedy, in which more than 900 members of a religious cult died in Guyana in 1978. His interviews with surviving members of the cult and their families is now part of the definitive history of that event.
In 1982, John DeLorean — a former GM executive who had created a struggling independent sports car company — was charged with engaging in a cocaine trafficking deal to fund his company. Palladino & Sutherland interviewed more than two hundred witnesses in a defense which convinced the jury to acquit DeLorean based on entrapment by government agents.
Palladino is perhaps best known for being hired by the Bill Clinton presidential election committee to challenge a smear campaign intended to deny Clinton the Democratic nomination. Palladino’s work included discrediting women with whom Clinton supposedly had been intimate, according to Newsweek magazine. The Clinton election committee reportedly paid Palladino over $100,000 over several years to "investigate" two dozen women in a "damage control inquiry."
Michael Isikoff claimed the Clinton campaign used deception regarding the payments. He says the payouts came from campaign funds, but were listed as legal fees paid to a Denver law firm rather than payments to Palladino. He further claimed that Clinton's chief of staff Betsy Wright later told him the funds were for "controlling Bimbo eruptions."
Palladino also was employed by singer Courtney Love to talk to journalists investigating whether she was involved in the 1994 death of her husband, singer Kurt Cobain. Palladino insists he was never involved in "fear and intimidation" in his investigations and production of dossiers on such journalists.
When former tobacco executive Jeffrey Wigand began cooperating with 60 Minutes on insider revelations of tobacco company manipulations designed to increase smoker addiction, the industry launched a million dollar public relations campaign to discredit him. Palladino engaged in a counter-investigation that turned the spotlight onto this smear campaign and preserved Wigand’s credibility as an expert witness in a lawsuit that subsequently resulted in a more than two hundred billion dollar settlement, in the first successful litigation against Big Tobacco. This effort is chronicled in Marie Brenner’s May 1996 Vanity Fair article “The Man Who Knew Too Much” and in the 1999 Michael Mann film The Insider in which Palladino plays himself, and actress Megan Odebash played Sandra Sutherland.
In 2002, singer, songwriter, and record producer R. Kelly was charged with videotaping himself having sex with an underage teenage girl. An investigation by Palladino that lasted six years culminated in Palladino’s testimony at trial challenging the principal prosecution witness, and the acquittal of Kelly in less than a day.
In April 2009, Australian businessman Peter Holmes à Court admitted in the NSW Supreme Court that the Hollywood actor Russell Crowe had hired Palladino & Sutherland to investigate opposition to the planned takeover of the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Crowe had first gotten to know Palladino and his Australian wife and partner, Sandra Sutherland, when all three worked on the film The Insider.
- Isikoff interview on the Charlie Rose show, Thursday, April 8, 1999. Isikoff discusses the Palladino case starting at 4:35 into the interview as published at "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2010. . The Betsey Wright quote is at 6:20.
- Brenner, Marie (May 1996), "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (PDF), Vanity Fair, retrieved July 2, 2010
- Susannah Moran (2009-04-03). "Russell Crowe hired Bill Clinton's private investigator to stalk takeover foes". The Daily Telegraph (dailytelegraph.com.au). Retrieved 2010-07-26.