U.S. top court won't review "Die Hard" director's guilty plea

Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:16pm EST
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By Jonathan Stempel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - John McTiernan, director of the films "Die Hard" and "The Hunt for Red October," lost his bid on Monday to have the U.S. Supreme Court review his guilty plea and one-year prison sentence for perjury and lying to the FBI.

The Supreme Court's action could clear the way for the 62-year-old McTiernan to begin serving his prison term.

Charles Sevilla, a lawyer for McTiernan, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The court declined to consider whether lower courts erred in refusing to suppress a recording in which prosecutors said McTiernan discussed an illegal wiretap.

Prosecutors had accused McTiernan of lying about having hired former private investigator Anthony Pellicano, who represented many Hollywood stars, to wiretap a film producer.

McTiernan pleaded guilty in 2006 after the FBI obtained a recording in which the men discussed the wiretap, but later withdrew his guilty plea after hiring a new lawyer.

He was then indicted a second time and, after failing to suppress the recording, entered a conditional guilty plea allowing him to appeal. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected that appeal last August.

McTiernan said the 9th Circuit used the wrong standard to evaluate when suppression is proper, by insisting that the secret taping be "essential" to a criminal plan.   Continued...