Pellicano Deja Vu

One-time private eye to the stars Anthony Pellicano, along with entertainment attorney Terry Christensen, was convicted August 29 in yet another wiretapping case – this time involving billionaire and MGM mogul Kirk Kerkorian.

Each was 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.

In a case befitting a soap opera plot, Pellicano and Christensen were accused of recording Lisa Bonder Kerkorian’s phone calls to disprove her claim that Kirk Kerkorian was the father of her young daughter.

Bonder Kerkorian, a former tennis pro, was married to Kerkorian, now 91, for 28 days in 1999. Christensen paid Pellicano $25,000 up front and promised $100,000 more if he could identify the father of the girl, prosecutors said. DNA tests later showed movie producer Steve Bing is the biological father.

Kirk Kerkorian testified briefly during the trial, saying he had no knowledge of any wiretapping being used in the paternity case.

“This case uncovered corruption by the wealthy and influential, and today’s guilty verdicts render assurance that the justice system cannot be bought by those with money and power,” said Salvador Hernandez, assistant director in charge of the FBI in Los Angeles.

Pellicano and Christensen each face up to 10 years in federal prison and $500,000 in fines when sentenced September 24 by U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer. Pellicano also faces sentencing during the same hearing for convictions on wiretapping and racketeering charges in a separate case.

Christensen, who is free on $100,000 bond, is to be sentenced November 17. He was ordered to surrender his passport and instructed not to travel outside of the L.A. area without permission.

Pellicano was remanded back to the Graybar Hotel, where he’s been a guest since being arrested in connection to the previous wiretap case. His troubles began with an FBI raid on his office in 2002. Before that, he’d famously worked for such clients as Michael Ovitz, Brad Gray, Bert Fields, Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson.