"I've been told that I am a subject, not a target, of the investigation," Fields said. "But I have never in any case had anything to do with illegal wiretapping. I don't do that."
A "target" in a federal investigation is a person who is likely to be charged and at whom the investigation is aimed. "Subject," by contrast, is a broad category that can cover a person who is associated with events involved in the investigation and who may or may not face criminal liability.
Fields' statement came as the former nanny for a wealthy publishing heiress said in an interview that she had testified before the grand jury and had been asked extensive questions about Fields.
Her statements were the first public confirmation that the grand jury has taken testimony about the lawyer.
"They had a great interest in Bert Fields. They asked me a ton of questions about him," said Pamela W. Miller.
Miller was the nanny to Taylor Thomson, a client of Fields' firm. Thomson is a member of the family that owned Canada's largest newspaper company. Miller has sued Thomson alleging that she was wrongly fired from her job.
Investigators in the wiretapping case have questioned a broad range of entertainment industry figures, including Warren Beatty and comedian Garry Shandling, according to attorneys involved in the probe. Beatty declined to return calls, as did Shandling.
Prosecutors are using the grand jury to investigate allegations involving Anthony Pellicano, a private investigator who worked for Fields and other entertainment industry figures. Investigators have told several of those they have questioned that they believe Pellicano wiretapped them.
They are seeking to determine whether people who hired Pellicano may have authorized the surveillance or been aware of it.
Federal officials have not commented on the scope of their investigation. But at least one other prominent lawyer's name has come up in grand jury testimony.
Lawyers familiar with the testimony said Tuesday that the grand jury has examined at least one case handled by Ed Masry, who became well known when he worked with environmental activist Erin Brockovich. Masry did not respond to calls seeking comment.
Masry's name was raised during grand jury testimony by Kissandra Cohen, a former employee of the Westlake Village attorney. Last year, Cohen won a $120,000 judgment in a slander case against Masry. Masry appealed that judgment as well as the award of $600,000 in attorney's fees to Cohen's lawyers. The appeal is pending.
According to an associate of Cohen's who is familiar with the case, she was asked at the grand jury about wiretapping and about checks that Masry had written to Pellicano.
The source said Cohen "identified checks that Masry wrote to Pellicano and a check written to Pellicano by another Masry employee. Cohen verified that it was Masry's signature," the source said.
The source said that Cohen had suspected for some time during her litigation against Masry that her telephone had been tapped because of questions she was confronted with during depositions.
Masry does not appear to be a major focus of the investigation, however, the source said, adding: "Masry is two pages out of a 50-page chapter."
Fields, by contrast, appears to be a major focus of the probe. Federal agents have questioned several lawyers and their clients who went up against Fields.
Miller, the former nanny, was one of those opponents. Attorney Robert Chapman, one of Fields' partners, on Tuesday called Miller a "disgruntled former employee" and noted that her suit alleging she had been wrongfully fired had been dismissed by a federal judge in mid-October. Miller's attorneys have since refiled some of her claims.