Die Hard director to go to prison for role in Hollywood wiretapping scandal


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The Independent Culture

The director of Die Hard is set to go to prison for his role in a Hollywood wiretapping scandal after the Supreme Court denied an appeal for his sentence to be overturned.

John McTiernon, 62, received a one-year sentence and fine of $100,000 in 2010 for making false statements to the FBI during its investigation into private investigator Anthony Pellicano.

On Monday the Supreme Court refused his request to reverse his guilty plea and a judge is expected to order him to prison.

Private eye Pellicano, 68, is currently serving 15 years in a federal prison in Texas for charges including bugging the phones of the rich and famous on behalf of other Hollywood celebrities and major business players.

He was arrested in 2002 after the FBI found hundreds of hours of illegally recorded telephone conversations, along with hand grenades and enough plastic explosives to bring down a passenger jet. He was later found guilty of racketeering and more than six dozen other counts, including conspiracy, wire fraud and wiretapping and is expected to be released in 2019.

McTiernan is alleged to have hired Pellicano to investigate producer Chuck Roven. On appeal the film director had sought to suppress a recording in which McTiernon and Pellicano can be heard discussing the use of an illegal wiretap.

The recording relates to 2002 when McTiernan was working on the remake of Rollerball with Roven as producer.

According to an unnamed attorney for McTiernan quoted in The Hollywood Reporter there is a still a motion before the judge to reduce his client’s sentence on the grounds that it has never been proven that Pellicano wiretapped Roven.

McTiernan’s lawyers claim to have evidence from his former assistant that to her knowledge Roven was never wiretapped.

However, the filmmaker’s sentence was handed down on the basis that he lied to the FBI when he was first interviewed by police around seven years ago - at which time he claimed his dealings with Pellicano were very limited.

A digital recording later emerged showing he had hired the private detective so McTiernan was forced to plead guilty.

McTiernan hired a new legal team and upon his initial appeal to the federal court the judge ruled that he had previously received bad legal advice and allowed him to withdraw his guilty plea. The appeal failed and he was forced to re-submit his guilty plea.

As his sentence stands currently McTiernan will spend 12 months in federal prison followed by three years under supervised release.

1988 film Die Hard starred Bruce Willis, pictured. McTiernan's other directing credits include The Thomas Crown Affair, Die Hard: With a Vengeance, Predator and Medicine Man.