No reprieve for helmer on 12-month prison decision

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied director John McTiernan’s effort to win a reprieve from a 12-month prison sentence for his role in the Anthony Pellicano wiretapping scandal.

The three-judge appellate panel rejected McTiernan’s argument that one of Pellicano’s recordings should not have been admitted as evidence, and that U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer should have been recused from the case on the claim that she had shown animus toward him in an earlier part of his case.

McTiernan entered a conditional guilty plea in October 2010 to two counts of making a false statement to an FBI agent and one count of making false declarations before a court. In addition to the prison term, his sentence also called for three years of supervised probation and a $100,000 fine. It was conditioned on his right to pursue an appeal.

The director had hired Pellicano to investigate Charles Roven, once a business colleague. As the FBI was probing Pellicano’s cache of recordings, special agent Stanley Ornellas phoned McTiernan and asked whether he had ever discussed wiretapping with Pellicano. McTiernan denied it, but investigators already had retrieved recordings of a 2000 conversation between Pellicano and McTiernan in which they discussed wiretapped conversations of Roven.

At sentencing in 2010, McTiernan’s attorney Oliver Diaz said outside the court, “Mr. McTiernan was forced to plead guilty to a crime most people don’t even know is a crime.”

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