The New York Times‘ Pellicano scandal reporting duo of David Halbfinger and Allison Hope Weiner is back, this time with a scoop in Thursday’s edition that’s audible, too: the recordings that the indicted Hollywood P.I. secretly made of his own telephone conversations with billionaire investor and one-time MGM/UA owner Kirk Kerkorian’s superlawyer Terry Christensen. And the audio and transcripts are posted on the NYT website. Maybe this latest embarrassment will cause Christensen’s L.A. law firm to rethink his status: I’m still floored that this lawyer — accused in a two-count indictment of paying Pellicano at least $100,000 to record phone conversations between Lisa and her attorney — is still managing partner and even acting spokesman for Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil & Shapiro. The reporters write that, on the tapes, Christensen “repeatedly said he told the billionaire — then locked in a legal dispute with his ex-wife, Lisa Bonder Kerkorian — what the private detective was learning from what prosecutors say were his wiretaps.” According to the NYT, the recordings make clear that Kerkorian, according to Christensen’s assurances, was grateful for intimate information that helped his case:
“Tell me that the old man has a smile on his face,” Pellicano said in 2002.
“He does, O.K.? He’s happy,” Christensen said. “Our jaw is still hanging down.”
The NYT says the recordings also show how Kerkorian and his lawyer pushed the private dick to investigate movie producer Stephen Bing, whom Kerkorian suspected of being the biological father of his ex-wife’s daughter. Meanwhile, prosecutors are probing NYT access to stuff which are supposed to be under a court protective order. Oh yeah: Christensen denies all charges.