Solo trial for Christensen


Entertainment attorney Terry Christensen will have his day in federal court — after the trial of former Hollywood celebrity sleuth Anthony Pellicano and his alleged cohorts is over.

In a significant win for the lawyer, U.S. District Court Judge Dale Fischer ruled Tuesday that Christensen will be tried separately from Pellicano and four other defendants in the racketeering and wiretapping case, set for trial next week.

Fischer agreed with Christensen that the evidence levied against him, if correct, involves only two of the 111 counts charged in the government's indictment against Christensen, Pellicano and the others.

Those two counts charge Christensen and Pellicano with conspiracy to intercept and interception of wire communications in connection with alleged wiretapping from March-May 2002 of Lisa Bonder Kerkorian, the ex-wife of billionaire Kirk Kerkorian. Christensen represented Kirk Kerkorian in a child custody dispute with his ex.

Pellicano and the other four defendants, including an ex-Los Angeles Police Department officer, are accused of intercepting the communications or illegally accessing the information of more than 100 people, including Kerkorian.

Fischer's decision rejects the government's argument that Christensen was part of the co-defendants "common plan, scheme or conspiracy."

The U.S. Attorney's Office declined comment on the decision.

"We think this is the right result," Christensen's law partner Patricia Glaser said. "It does create a situation where Terry gets an appropriate trial instead of one where Terry would be unduly prejudiced."