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    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

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    Release No. 08-123

    August 29, 2008


    Prominent Entertainment Attorney Used Private Eye to Illegally Wiretap Ex-Wife of Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian in Child Support Case

    Former private investigator Anthony Pellicano and prominent entertainment attorney Terry Christensen were found guilty today of federal conspiracy and wiretapping charges in connection with their illegal wiretapping of the ex-wife of Christensen’s longtime client, billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, during a 2002 child support dispute. 

    Concluding a six-week trial in United States District Court in Los Angeles, a federal jury in Los Angeles found both Pellicano and Christensen guilty on each of the two counts in which they were charged.  In May, a previous jury found Pellicano guilty of 76 counts, including violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act, committing “honest services” mail fraud by paying a police officer for confidential information, identity theft and wiretapping.  The two counts that were the subject of today’s convictions were severed from the remaining counts for trial.

    The defendants found guilty today are:

    Anthony Pellicano, 64, who operated the Pellicano Investigative Agency on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood; and

    Terry Christensen, 67, of Beverly Hills, who is a name partner with the Century City law firm of Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil & Shapiro, LLP.

    Pellicano and Christensen were found guilty of conspiring in the Spring of 2002 to illegally wiretap the phone of Lisa Bonder Kerkorian, who was involved in hotly contested child support litigation with Christensen’s client, Kirk Kerkorian.  The government presented evidence that Christensen paid Pellicano at least $100,000 for the wiretap, that Pellicano listened to Bonder Kerkorian's phone calls and shared with Christensen information he learned from those calls, and that Christensen used that information - including the contents of privileged conversations with Bonder Kerkorian’s attorneys - to secure a tactical advantage in the litigation.

    The evidence included a series of 34 recordings that Pellicano made of his telephone conversations with Christensen.  In those recordings, Christensen and Pellicano are heard discussing and laughing about the contents of Lisa Bonder Kerkorian’s telephone conversations with her attorneys.  At one point, Pellicano tells Christensen, “If we continue to get this kind of information with their strategy, we’re really killing them.” 

    Pellicano is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer on  September 24.  That sentencing will include both today’s convictions and those from the previous trial.  Christensen’s sentencing is scheduled for November 17. 

    “Mr. Christensen completely disregarded his ethical oath as an attorney and repeatedly violated federal law,” said United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien.  “His shameful partnership with Anthony Pellicano to unlawfully wiretap an opposing party so he could gain the upper hand in civil litigation is reprehensible, and he will now be held accountable.”  

    Salvador Hernandez, Assistant Director In Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles, stated: "This case uncovered corruption by the wealthy and influential and today's guilty verdicts render assurance that the justice system cannot be bought by those with money and power.  This trial was hard won by the prosecutors in this case and delivered justice to many victims.  I am proud of the agents and prosecutors in this case, who persevered even when their credibility was unfairly attacked."

    The conspiracy and wiretapping charges each carry a potential sentence of five years imprisonment.

    This case is the result of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


    Release No. 08-123
    Return to the 2008 Press Release Index