Film director pleads guilty in wiretapping case

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US film director and president of the jury John McTiernan (C) delivers a speech on January 31, 2010 in Gerardmer, eastern France, during the closing ceremony of the Fantastic'Arts Gerardmer film festival.

Film director John McTiernan pleaded guilty today to lying to FBI agents and a federal judge in connection with the Anthony Pellicano wiretapping and racketeering case.

McTiernan, now 59, was indicted in April 2009 in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles on two counts of making false statements to federal agents and one count of perjury.

Trial was set to begin tomorrow in the case, which dates back to 2006. In April of that year, McTiernan pleaded guilty to a charge of "knowingly lying'' to FBI agents involved in the Pellicano case.

Shortly afterward, the filmmaker asked to back out of his plea, arguing that he had received poor legal advice and was under the influence of alcohol and jet-lagged when federal agents interviewed him.

Instead, U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer sentenced him to four months in federal prison and fined him $100,000.

McTiernan remained free on bail while appealing the sentence, and in October 2008, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Fischer to hold a hearing on McTiernan's request.

Fischer then granted McTiernan's request to plead not guilty and ordered the director's $100,000 fine returned.

On April 17, 2009, McTiernan was indicted by a federal grand jury on the current charges.

In his initial 2006 guilty plea, McTiernan admitted he hired Pellicano to illegally wiretap film producer Charles Roven after they worked on the 2002 film "Rollerball,'' and then lied to an FBI agent about the bugging.

Amid his legal problems, McTiernan directed a documentary that claims former Bush administration adviser Karl Rove pursued the Pellicano case as part of a conspiracy under Bush to prosecute Democrats.

Pellicano, 65, was convicted of 78 felonies, including racketeering, conspiracy and wiretapping, at two separate trials in 2008. The former private eye to the stars is currently serving a 15-year sentence in federal prison.

Fischer set an Oct. 4 sentencing date for McTiernan, whose directing credits include "Die Hard,'' "Predator'' and "The Hunt for Red October.''

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