Film director John McTiernan leaves following his arraignment in the Pellicano case at the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles, California April 17, 2006.[AP]
A federal judge sentenced Hollywood director John McTiernan to four months in prison Monday after refusing to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea to a charge of lying to the FBI about his association with disgraced private eye Anthony Pellicano.
Judge Dale S. Fischer gave the director of such films as "Predator," "Die Hard," "The Hunt for Red October" and "The Thomas Crown Affair" until Jan. 15 to turn himself in to authorities. McTiernan's lawyer said he would appeal.
McTiernan also was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine.
When he entered his plea last year, McTiernan said he lied when he told an FBI agent the only time he used Pellicano's services was during his divorce. In actuality, he said, he hired Pellicano to wiretap Charles Roven, a producer who had worked with him on the 2002 box-office flop "Rollerball."
Pellicano, who served 2 1/2 years in federal prison for possessing illegal weapons, has pleaded not guilty to charges in a 111-count indictment accusing him of bugging phones and bribing police to get information on celebrities and others.
McTiernan was originally scheduled to be sentenced two weeks ago but that hearing was delayed after his lawyer asked that he be allowed to withdraw the plea and fight the charge. Attorney Milton Grimes said at the time that McTiernan hadn't had adequate legal representation when he entered the plea upon a previous lawyer's advice.
On Monday, the defense argued that when McTiernan spoke to the FBI agent he was tired from having returned from a long trip to Asia, was taking antibiotics for a sinus infection and had gone off his anti-depression medication.
The judge was not persuaded.
"I find these arguments completely lacking in credibility," she said.
The 56-year-old McTiernan did not speak.
Grimes said outside court he was disappointed in Fischer's ruling and would appeal.
He disagreed with Fischer's observation that McTiernan "lived a privileged life and simply wants to continue that."
"He's probably one of the most down-to-earth people I've met in Hollywood in my 30 years working here," Grimes said of McTiernan.
Authorities say Pellicano, who is scheduled to go on trial next year, is the ringleader of a scheme that was used to get dirt on clients in legal disputes.
Prosecutors claim Pellicano bribed law enforcement and phone company employees to gather information and that he illegally wiretapped Sylvester Stallone and other Hollywood notables. They say he also had police officers run the names of more than 60 people, including comedians Garry Shandling and Kevin Nealon, through government databases.
Pellicano, who is jailed without bail pending trial, has said he is innocent. He speculated during a jailhouse interview with The Associated Press last year that he might be the target of overzealous prosecutors.
Before he was imprisoned on the weapons charges, Pellicano's celebrity clients had at one time or another included such names as Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson and Stallone, as well as high-profile Hollywood lawyers and agents.