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As word of attorney Terry Christensen’s indictment spread across Los Angeles last week, lawyers made phone calls, swapped e-mails, and wondered whether the first indictment of a lawyer in the Anthony Pellicano case was a harbinger of more indictments to come. Several sources close to the case said that more indictments are expected in the coming weeks. Prosecutors said last week that the investigation is ongoing. The two-count indictment handed down by a federal grand jury Feb. 15 alleged that Christensen, 65, had paid Pellicano at least $100,000 to record and report on telephone conversations between Lisa Bonder Kerkorian and her attorney in 2002. At the time, Christensen represented billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, the former head of MGM Studios, in a child support dispute. Christensen “would use the information gleaned from the illegal wiretap to secure a tactical advantage in litigation by learning Lisa Bonder Kerkorian’s plans, strategies, perceived strengths and weaknesses, settlement position, and other confidential information,” according to the indictment. Jan Handzlik, a partner in Howrey’s Los Angeles office representing Christensen, said last week that “prior to this episode in 2002, Mr. Christensen had never hired Mr. Pellicano or used his services in any way. It was Mr. Pellicano who called Terry in an unsolicited phone call to offer him evidence.” “We believe the government should be interested in who initiated the activities that led to this unsolicited call from Pellicano to Terry Christensen,” Handzlik said. Handzlik said he and Howrey partner Terree Bowers were retained three and a half weeks ago, after Christensen learned of his involvement in the Pellicano investigation. Patricia Glaser, a partner at Christensen’s firm, said last week that Winston & Strawn partner Dan Webb would take the lead in Christensen’s defense. Webb’s past engagements have included representing Philip Morris in the Justice Department’s racketeering suit. He currently represents ex-Illinois Gov. George Ryan on corruption charges. Handzlik previously represented actor Steven Seagal when a dead fish and bullet hole were found on a Los Angeles Times‘ reporter’s windshield amid her reporting on alleged connections between Seagal and the mafia. Seagal was exonerated, but the investigation led police to charge Pellicano in the incident, and a search of his home kicked off the ongoing federal investigation into wiretapping. Handzlik said his prior representation of Seagal didn’t present a conflict. The Pellicano indictment has fueled intense speculation in legal circles about the investigator’s relationships with prominent attorneys representing celebrities. “Those of us who have never used the services of Mr. Pellicano are having badges printed that state: I have never retained Anthony Pellicano,” said Marshall Grossman, a partner with Alschuler Grossman Stein & Kahan in Los Angeles. Grossman said his firm had been approached by Pellicano but hadn’t ever used his services. Grossman, who has worked opposite Christensen, said he received dozens of e-mails from clients and colleagues when the indictment came down. “I guess nothing surprises me anymore, but it would be a disappointment if it was, in fact, true,” he said. Glaser, a name partner at Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro, sent an e-mail Feb. 15 explaining to attorneys that “Terry’s only involvement with Pellicano was brief and completely justified. Terry was acting to protect a client and a child from repeated death threats and extortion.” As associates learned of the charges, they reacted with shock and within minutes were instant-messaging colleagues and sending e-mail links to news articles, said a litigation associate at the firm. “It’s very surreal � our boss has been indicted,” the associate said. “It blindsided everyone. I’ve always thought of Terry as one of the most upstanding members of the legal community � of all the partners, he would be the least I would expect [to be accused of] any alleged wrongdoing.”
Kellie Schmitt is a reporter for The Recorder , an ALM publication in San Francisco in which this article first appeared.

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