"Die Hard" director McTiernan gets year in prison

Mon Oct 4, 2010 8:03pm EDT
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Die Hard" director John McTiernan was sentenced to one year in prison on Monday for perjury and lying to officials in a wiretapping case involving a former private investigator who represented many Hollywood stars.

McTiernan, 59, was also fined $100,000 at the conclusion of the long-running case which stemmed from him hiring convicted sleuth Anthony Pellicano to wiretap a film producer after they both worked on the 2002 movie "Rollerball."

McTiernan's attorney Oliver Diaz said in a statement that the movie director was a victim of "prosecutorial vindictiveness" and planned to appeal his conviction.

The film director initially lied to the FBI about his involvement with Pellicano, pleaded guilty in 2006, and then asked to withdraw his guilty plea saying he had received poor legal advice.

In 2009, he was indicted by a grand jury and pleaded guilty to two counts of making false statements and one count of perjury.

"The defendant doesn't think the law applies to him, and the court has no reason to believe he will not violate the law again when it suits him," U.S. District judge Dale S. Fischer said on Monday, before sentencing McTiernan.

Pellicano was convicted of racketeering, conspiracy and wiretapping in 2008 and is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence.

Diaz claimed that McTiernan had not been read his rights when first speaking with the FBI, nor being told he was the subject of an investigation.

"Mr. McTiernan was forced to plead guilty to a crime most people don't even know is a crime," Diaz said. "Records in this case show that nearly every one contacted by this (FBI) agent denied knowledge of Pellicano's activities, making statements similar to Mr. McTiernan's."

McTiernan, whose other movies include "The Hunt for Red October" and the 1999 remake of "The Thomas Crown Affair", did not address the court at Monday's sentencing hearing.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

 
<p>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. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>