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A federal jury convicted former Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano and entertainment lawyer Terry Christensen on Friday of charges linked to the wiretapping of billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian’s former wife in a child support battle.
Pellicano and Christensen were each convicted of conspiracy to commit wiretapping. Pellicano was also convicted of wiretapping, and Christensen was convicted of aiding and abetting a wiretap.
“We are disappointed, think the jury is wrong, and we will be appealing,” said Patricia Glaser, Christensen’s attorney and law partner.
Pellicano and Christensen were charged with recording phone conversations of Lisa Bonder Kerkorian to disprove her claims that the MGM mogul was the father of her young daughter. The former tennis pro was married to Kerkorian, now 91, for 28 days.
Prosecutors said Christensen paid Pellicano $25,000 up front and promised $100,000 more if he could identify the true father of the girl. DNA tests later showed movie producer Steve Bing was the biological father.
The defendants, both 64, both face up to 10 years in federal prison and $500,000 in fines when they are sentenced Nov. 17 by U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer.
Pellicano was convicted of illegal wiretapping and racketeering in a separate case in May and has remained in custody. He was remanded back to jail after the latest verdicts were announced.
Christensen, who is free on $100,000 bond, was ordered to surrender his passport and not travel outside of central California without prior permission.
The seven-man, five-woman jury began deliberating Wednesday but had to start again Thursday when Fischer dismissed one of the jurors for making questionable comments about the severity of the charges in the jury room then lying about making them.
The case was built on recorded conversations between Pellicano and Christensen in which prosecutors said they discussed Bonder Kerkorian’s private phone calls. Jurors heard a playback of several conversations during deliberations.
Glaser stressed to jurors that no actual recordings of the phone calls were ever recovered.
Kirk Kerkorian testified briefly during the trial, saying he had no knowledge of any wiretapping being used in the paternity case.
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