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Lawyer pleads not guilty in wiretapping probe

A prominent attorney who represented billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian pleaded not guilty Tuesday in connection with a Hollywood wiretapping scandal.Terry Christensen, 65, of Beverly Hills is among 13 people facing federal charges in an alleged wiretapping scheme involving Hollywood celebrities and executives.Prosecutors claim Christensen paid private investigator Anthony Pellicano at least $100
/ Source: The Associated Press

A prominent attorney who represented billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian pleaded not guilty Tuesday in connection with a Hollywood wiretapping scandal.

Terry Christensen, 65, of Beverly Hills is among 13 people facing federal charges in an alleged wiretapping scheme involving Hollywood celebrities and executives.

Prosecutors claim Christensen paid private investigator Anthony Pellicano at least $100,000 to illegally wiretap the phones of Kerkorian’s former wife, Lisa Bonder Kerkorian, during a child support battle.

Christensen, who helped build the Los Angeles law firm Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro, was charged with conspiracy and intercepting wire communications. If convicted of both charges, he could face up to 10 years in federal prison. His trial was set for April 18, and he is free on $100,000 bond.

Prosecutors contend that Pellicano illegally wiretapped the phones of Hollywood stars such as Sylvester Stallone and bribed police officers to run the names of more than 60 people, including comedians Garry Shandling and Kevin Nealon, through government databases.

Christensen resigned Tuesday from the MGM Mirage board of directors pending the resolution of the case against him, said J. Terrence Lanni, chairman and CEO of MGM Mirage. Kerkorian’s Beverly Hills-based Tracinda Corp. is majority owner of the casino and hotel operator.

“Terry Christensen is a founding director of MGM Mirage, and we are confident that after a trial on the merits, he will be exonerated,” Lanni said in a statement.

Christensen’s attorney, Terree A. Bowers, referred calls to his client’s law firm. Calls to the firm were not immediately returned Tuesday.