John McTiernan gets another shot

Judge to decide whether director can withdraw guilty plea

Director John McTiernan is getting one more chance to prove his 2006 guilty plea for lying to the feds about the wiretapping abilities of former celebrity sleuth Anthony Pellicano should be tossed out.

On Wednesday, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered that Judge Dale Fischer hold a full evidentiary hearing over whether the "Die Hard" director has a "fair and just reason" to withdraw his guilty plea.

In March 2006, McTiernan signed a plea agreement admitting that he lied to federal investigators about Pellicano, who the director had hired during a bitter legal battle with producer Chuck Roven over the boxoffice blunder "Rollerball." The movie was made for $70 million but grossed just $25 million worldwide.

McTiernan claims he was not informed by his previous attorney that he could have moved to suppress incriminating recordings seized by the government from Pellicano's office. Fischer had ruled that McTiernan simply changed his mind on the plea once he learned that the government intended to put him in prison.

The U.S. Attorney's Office had no comment on the decision.

If his guilty plea remains, McTiernan faces four months in federal prison, a two-year supervised release and a $100,000 fine.