Former entertainment superlawyer and now convicted felon Terry Christensen is being sentenced at 8:30 AM Monday morning. But get this: he still thinks he’s a bigshot. Because he’s requesting to be put on probation for 10 months under home confinement. That’s right, he doesn’t want to go to jail with all the peons after he was convicted this summer for hiring then Hollywood P.I. Anthony Pellicano to wiretap Kirk Kerkorian’s ex-wife in a high profile 2002 child support case. According to details provided by the Los Angeles Daily Journal newspaper (subscription only so I can’t link), Christensen is now explaining away his crime as an “aberrational, isolated exercise of bad judgment” on his part. His sentencing request was outlined in his recently filed sentencing memorandum. To be fair, the U.S. Probation Office is also asked for the same sentence for him, plus a fine of $30,000. But prosecutors, in their sentencing memo, called the Probation Office’s recommendation “reckless, uninformed, and completely inappropriate”. Their memo states that Christensen had managed the scheme with Pellicano to wiretap Bonder Kerkorian’s phones and, as an attorney, held a higher level position of trust that warranted prison time. So the feds demand that Christensen serve three years in federal prison and pay a $500,000 fine due to his “brazen efforts to corrupt and subvert the legal system… This is not a case of a defendant who committed a crime and who coincidentally happened to be an attorney. To the contrary, this case involves a defendant whose criminal activities were directly intertwined with and inextricable from his work as an attorney.”
Pellicano’s sentencing has been put off until December 15th.
According to the Los Angeles Daily Journal legal newspaper (which is subscription-only), Christensen wrote a letter to U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer, of the Central District of California, saying he regretted his decision to hire Pellicano. “Looking back, when I was approached by Mr. Pellicano, I should never have agreed to hire him. No matter how I look at this, from whatever angle, I cannot escape this lapse of judgment on my part.” Christensen said his recent resignation as managing partner of the prominent entertainment law firm that he started in 1988 and bore his name until he was found guilty, and is now called only Glaser, Weil, Fink, Jacobs & Shapiro, was intended to help its lawyers and staff move past the criminal case. Christensen said he is on interim suspension by the State Bar of California. “He will likely never again practice law and his ability to earn an income has been vastly reduced, if not eliminated altogether,” the memo states.
Still, more than 70 letters from his law colleagues and clients and friends and family were filed on his behalf. Several of the letters come from current and former board members and senior executives of Kerkorian’s present and former investment holdings like MGM Mirage, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and Tracinda Corp. One was from Matthew Spitzer, the former dean of the USC School of Law, Christensen’s alma mater, who wrote, “The legal and business community has paid close attention to this case, and the fall of Terry Christensen has become a terrifying cautionary tale for others.”