Four days later, the indictment says, Pellicano told Christensen about a wiretapped call between Lisa Kerkorian and her attorneys and warned Christensen to "be very careful about this, because there is only one way for me to know this."
Less than a month later, Bing filed a $1-billion-plus invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against Kirk Kerkorian. Kerkorian's paternity was disproved, and Bing and the mogul later resolved their differences without publicly disclosing who the father was.
Christensen's firm, Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro, has a broad practice that reaches beyond the entertainment community and includes a number of other prominent attorneys, including Robert Shapiro, a member of O.J. Simpson's defense team. Also in the firm are Glaser, who represented a film company suing actress Kim Basinger for spurning a role in the film "Boxing Helena," and Louis R. "Skip" Miller, who has represented a number of government agencies, including the city of Los Angeles.
Miller cemented his relationship with the city by defending it against civil litigation filed over the 1991 Rodney G. King beating case. The firm also represented then-Councilman Nate Holden in a sexual harassment case and the city of Beverly Hills in a complicated racial-profiling case in the mid-1990s.
Christensen's attorneys say it's absurd to think that a partner in such a prestigious firm would wiretap an opponent in a child support case.
"This was not some complicated tactical litigation," said Terree Bowers, who was U.S. attorney in Los Angeles from 1992 to 1994. "This was just a modification for child support, for crying out loud. What are the great revelations you are going to get" in a wiretap?
"Terry Christensen never heard wiretapped conversations. He never got a transcript of a wiretapped conversation," said Handzlik, another former federal prosecutor. "All he had to go on was what Pellicano was telling him over the phone."
Times staff writers Hemmy So and Peter Y. Hong contributed to this report.
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`Obviously, They Don't Know I Know'
A federal grand jury accused attorney Terry Christensen and disgraced private eye Anthony Pellicano of wiretapping Lisa Bonder Kerkorian during her bitter child support dispute with billionaire Kirk Kerkorian. Christensen allegedly paid Pellicano to do the wiretapping. The indictment includes liberal quotes from taped conversations that federal authorities seized from the detective's computer files:
April 22, 2002: Pellicano tells Christensen about a wiretapped phone call between Lisa Kerkorian and her attorneys and warns Christensen to "be very careful about this, because there is only one way for me to know this."
April 27, 2002: Pellicano relates Lisa Kerkorian's discussion with her lawyers about their settlement position "quoting to defendant Christensen [her] 'exact words.' "
April 27, 2002: Pellicano tells Christensen about Kerkorian's conversation with her father, reminding him "there is no way, except with my unique techniques, that you would know this."
April 28, 2002: Pellicano tells Christensen that he was "hearing both sides, you know, I'm hearing her talk to Kirk too. That's not for attribution, I mean for distribution, but I'm hearing both of them, I'm hearing all of it, the whole nine yards."
April 29, 2002: Pellicano assures Christensen, "I know everything that's going on, and obviously they don't know I know."
May 3, 2002: Pellicano tells Christensen about a conversation between Lisa Kerkorian and her attorney that was "worth its weight in gold."
May 8, 2002: Christensen tells Pellicano he likes what he's hearing and is thinking about sending "a little more expense money" to cover the cost of the wiretap.
May 15, 2002: Christensen tells Pellicano to "wrap up" the wiretap.
May 16, 2002: Christensen tells Pellicano he has been "great," and the private investigator confirms that "the switch gets shut."
Source: U.S. attorney's office