Former energy secretary Chris Huhne has hired Harry Redknapp's legal team to fight allegations of perverting the course of justice.
Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce exchanged strained smiles and muttered under their breath as they appeared before a crown court judge for the first time.
The pair were told by Mr Justice Saunders that a summer trial was likely at Southwark Crown Court.
Huhne, 57, who remains the MP for his home town of Eastleigh in Hampshire, stood down from the Cabinet to fight claims he wrongly told investigators his wife was driving his car.
John Kelsey Fry QC, the top criminal barrister who represented football boss Redknapp at his tax fraud acquittal last month, has been appointed by Huhne.