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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Prosecutor Says Lawyer's Acts were Brazen Efforts to Corrupt and Subvert the Legal System

Convicted Ex-Name Partner Makes Bid for Home Confinement
The National Law Journal by Amanda Bronstad - November 14, 2008

LOS ANGELES – Terry Christensen, the lawyer who was convicted this summer for hiring a private investigator to wiretap his opponent in a high profile child support case, claiming he had an "aberrational, isolated exercise of bad judgment," is seeking a probationary sentence of 10 months to be carried out in home confinement. The request, outlined in a sentencing memorandum filed on Thursday, mimics the recommendation of the U.S. Probation Office, which also suggested a fine of $30,000, and contrasts significantly with the position of federal prosecutors. On Monday, in their own sentencing memorandum, prosecutors demanded that Christensen, who faced trial alongside the private investigator, celebrity sleuth Anthony Pellicano, serve three years in federal prison and pay a $500,000 fine due to his "brazen efforts to corrupt and subvert the legal system."

The government claims that Christensen paid more than $100,000 to Pellicano to wiretap the phone lines of Lisa Bonder Kerkorian, the ex-wife of billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, in a 2002 child support case involving her daughter, Kira. Bonder Kerkorian and Kerkorian were married for 28 days. Christensen is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 24; Pellicano, who was convicted on 78 counts of various federal charges related to the wiretapping, is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 15, along with several other defendants. In a letter to U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer, of the Central District of California, Christensen said he regretted his decision to hire Pellicano.  "Looking back, when I was approached by Mr. Pellicano, I should never have agreed to hire him," Christensen wrote. "No matter how I look at this, from whatever angle, I cannot escape this lapse of judgment on my part." Christensen, who was indicted in 2006, said his recent resignation as managing partner of the firm, now called Glaser, Weil, Fink, Jacobs & Shapiro, and the removal of his name from the masthead, was intended to help its lawyers and staff move past the criminal case.

More than 70 letters from friends, family members, law firm colleagues and clients were filed on his behalf. Among them are: Norman Brownstein, chairman of Denver-based Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck; former Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig; retired U.S. District Judge Dickran Tevrizian, of the Central District of California; Ronald J. Nessim, a principal at Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks & Lincenberg; Thomas R. Malcolm, a partner at Jones Day; and Robert K. Rasmussen, dean, and Matthew Spitzer, former dean, of the University of Southern California (USC) School of Law, Christensen's alma mater. "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," Spitzer wrote in his letter. Several of the letters come from current and former board members and senior executives of MGM Mirage, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and Tracinda Corp., Kerkorian's firm. Christensen, who has represented some of the nation's largest movie studios, started his own law firm in 1988. The firm now has 110 attorneys.

In his sentencing memo, 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. 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. "This is not a case of a defendant who committed a crime and who coincidentally happened to be an attorney," prosecutors said. "To the contrary, this case involves a defendant whose criminal activities were directly intertwined with and inextricable from his work as an attorney."

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is amazing; an attorney advances his client's interest as well as his own. This is an improvement on the typical situation where the attorney advances his position to the detriment of his client. This man is a Saint and needs the beatification of our own Saint Andrew (Cuomo), here in NY. Imagine; an attorney working for his client's best interests. What a surprising ethical act.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that what lawyers are supposed to do? Subvert the Legal System. It's the first thing you learn the first day you get a job at a law firm.

Anonymous said...

OCA wiretaps, but no one, including the FBI cares...but finds it accepatble for the legal system to gather information illegally!
I say that no one should be punished for illegal acts such as that, until OCA is cleaned out and up...using illegal wiretaps, with "no probable cause" for all the slimy information needed to corral those that are responsible.
OCA used the wiretaps for the basis for illegal charges they filed to ruin someone's life, reputation and employment...and they have no regrets and continue to pursue a case that they know is completely false, utilizing perjury to bolster it's lies.
No one is a criminal until OCA is fumagated!

kato said...

These bums, Oh so sorry, Lawyers have CORRUPTED and SUBVERTED the Legal System in the U.S. many, many years ago! Put them all in prison where some of their former client's are housed! THAT"S JUSTICE!

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               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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