Judge comes down hard on lawyer in wiretap case

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Prominent entertainment attorney Terry Christensen's 42-year career ended Monday when he was sentenced to three years in a federal prison for conspiring to wiretap the ex-wife of his billionaire client and former MGM mogul Kirk Kerkorian.

Christensen was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wiretapping and aiding and abetting a wiretap for his role in working with convicted former Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano.

Christensen's attorney, Terree Bowers, argued for a lenient sentence, placing the blame on Pellicano and indicating that Christensen's involvement was a blemish on an otherwise stellar legal career.

Prosecutors countered that Christensen was intricately involved with the wiretaps and openly appreciative of the legal ammunition gleaned for the child support case.

U.S. District Court Judge Dale Fischer sided with the prosecution, ordering Christensen to the three-year prison term as well as three years probation and a $250,000 fine.

"Mr. Christensen has not taken responsibility for his actions, much less expressed remorse," she said. "If he is not punished for his egregious conduct, others will lose respect for the justice system as well."

Christensen remains free on a $100,000 bond pending an appeal.

Christensen's sentence resulted in him being stripped of his ability to practice law. The lawyer, who was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1966, was listed on the bar's Web site Monday as "not eligible to practice law."

Pellicano also was convicted for his role. He is scheduled to be sentenced next month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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