Anthony Pellicano, a private investigator who once worked for Hollywood stars, and a prominent lawyer, Terry N. Christensen, were convicted Friday in the wiretapping of the ex-wife of the investor Kirk Kerkorian in a child-support case.
Both Mr. Christensen and Mr. Pellicano, 65, were convicted of conspiracy to commit wiretapping in Federal District Court here. Mr. Christensen was also convicted of aiding and abetting a wiretap; Mr. Pellicano was also convicted of wiretapping.
The conclusion of the six-week trial before Federal District Judge Dale S. Fischer opens the door for a number of civil suits against the two men as well as several others in the case. The suits, which were delayed during the criminal proceedings, largely involve victims of wiretapping seeking damages for incidents in which private conversations were recorded.
Mr. Christensen, 67, a founding partner of the leading entertainment litigation firm that bears his name, is the first Hollywood power player to be convicted in the six-year investigation and legal proceedings surrounding Mr. Pellicano’s wiretapping operation.
In a statement, Daniel A. Saunders, the lead prosecutor, called Mr. Christensen’s use of wiretapping to gain a strategic advantage in the child-support case “a stain” on the Los Angeles legal community.
“We are grateful to the jury for helping to eradicate that stain today,” Mr. Saunders said in the statement.
The United States attorney for Los Angeles, Thomas P. O’Brien, issued his own statement, calling Mr. Christensen’s behavior “reprehensible.”
Patricia Glaser, Mr. Christensen’s defense lawyer and a partner at his firm, said she would file an immediate appeal. “We will be fighting this to the end,” Ms. Glaser said. “We think the jury got it wrong. We are going to be appealing on a myriad of issues.” She declined to specify which issues, but added, “believe me, there are a ton.”
The two men were found guilty of conspiring in the spring of 2002 to illegally tap the telephone of Lisa Bonder Kerkorian, who was involved in a lawsuit over child support at the time with Mr. Christensen’s client, Mr. Kerkorian.