White Collar Crime
Attorney and PI Convicted in Celebrity Wiretapping Case
Posted Aug 29, 2008 2:30 PM CST
By Martha Neil
A well-known California lawyer was convicted today in a federal wiretapping conspiracy case, due to his legal work for a billionaire client.
Terry Christensen conspired with private investigator Anthony Pellicano to wiretap billionaire Kirk Kerkorian's ex-wife during a bitter child custody dispute, a federal jury in downtown Los Angeles found. Although a number of marquee entertainment lawyers used Pellicano's services, Christensen was the only one indicted, recounts the Los Angeles Times.
Christensen's defense attorney and Century City law partner, Patricia Glaser, promised an appeal, saying that there are "tons of issues" to be argued.
Pellicano, who was also convicted in an earlier case, probably won't get much, if any, additional time. However, the consequences of the conviction are likely to be severe for Christensen, who probably faces at least a year in prison plus the loss of his law license due to his felony conviction, the newspaper reports.
He remains free on bail, although his passport was confiscated.
"The conclusion of the trial also gives the green light to a slew of civil lawsuits that have been filed against Pellicano, Christensen, AT&T and the city of Los Angeles that were put on hold during the criminal proceedings," the Times article says. "Attorneys representing alleged wiretap victims said their clients could be entitled to at least $5,000 in damages for each incident in which their private conversations were tapped."
ABAJournal.com: "Did Lawyer in Wiretap Case Hear Opposing Counsel’s Talks With Client?"
ABAJournal.com: "As Lawyer Faces Trial in Wiretap Case, Others Advised to Watch PIs"