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Los Angeles-Famed entertainment litigator Terry Christensen, who was indicted last month in a sweeping federal probe into the activities of celebrity private investigator Anthony Pellicano, has hired Dan Webb to be lead counsel to his defense team, according to a partner at Christensen’s law firm. Webb, a prominent white-collar criminal defense lawyer at Winston & Strawn in Chicago, is expected to join Christensen’s case after wrapping up the defense of former Illinois Governor George Ryan this month in a high-profile public-corruption trial. Webb would lead a team that includes two Los Angeles lawyers already representing Christensen, who is accused in conspiracy charges of hiring Pellicano to record privileged conversations between his opposing counsel and their client. “In calling around, we were not limiting ourselves to Los Angeles,” said Patricia Glaser, a partner at Los Angeles-based Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro, where Christensen is managing partner. Webb “is unanimously among the top five criminal lawyers in the country.” Christensen and Webb did not return calls seeking comment. Indictment watch So far, Christensen is the only lawyer among eight individuals indicted in a three-year investigation, which includes charges against the celebrity sleuth. Other Los Angeles lawyers under investigation include celebrity divorce lawyer Dennis Wasser, a partner at Wasser, Cooperman & Carter, and high-profile litigator Bertram Fields, a partner at Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman Machtinger & Kinsella. Federal prosecutors expect to file another indictment soon, according to statements they made in reports last week by the Los Angeles Times. Among other high-profile clients, Christensen is the long-time lawyer for billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, the MGM Mirage investor who was embroiled in a child custody dispute four years ago with his ex-wife, Lisa Bonder Kerkorian. According to the recent indictment, Christensen paid at least $100,000 to Pellicano, who illegally wiretapped Lisa Bonder Kerkorian’s phones in order to record her conversations with her lawyers. 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,” the indictment states. Pellicano was able to record Lisa Bonder Kerkorian’s “exact words” and told Christensen, “I know everything that’s going on, and obviously they don’t know I know. Nobody knows except you and me,” according to the indictment. He also warned Christensen to “be very careful about this because there is only one way for me to know this,” the indictment said. Glaser, who said she is the firm’s spokeswoman for calls related to Christensen’s indictment, responded that Christensen was a “one-time user” of Pellicano, and that he did not hire the private eye to wiretap or “to get a leg up in litigation, but to protect the life of a dear friend and client, and a young child.” Last month, Christensen hired Jan Handzlik and Terree Bowers, two criminal defense lawyers and partners at the Los Angeles office of Washington-based Howrey. Neither returned calls. When asked why Webb was retained, Glaser replied, “We want absolutely the best.” Webb is wrapping up Ryan’s six-month trial, which began closing arguments last week. In the past year, Webb was hired by the New York Stock Exchange Inc. to conduct its internal investigation into the compensation paid to its former chairman and chief executive, Richard Grasso. He also represented Philip Morris USA Inc. in the U.S. Department of Justice’s racketeering suit against the nation’s tobacco companies. In representing a Los Angeles lawyer, Webb boosts Winston & Strawn’s presence among the West Coast criminal defense bar. Although the Chicago-based firm is well-known for its criminal work back home, none of its attorneys in California practices in that field. The firm has about 50 lawyers in Los Angeles, most of whom handle litigation, corporate and labor and employment work. It has a similar number of lawyers in San Francisco.

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