“Die Hard” Director Gets Plea Reversed, Fine Returned

LOS ANGELES -- "Die Hard" director John McTiernan won his federal court battle to reverse his guilty plea to lying to an FBI agent about his relationship with ex-celebrity wiretapper Anthony Pellicano, court papers show Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer granted McTiernan's request, ordering the 58-year-old director's $100,000 fine returned, according to a ruling dated Monday.

McTiernan, in his April 2006 guilty plea, admitted he hired Pellicano to illegally bug film producer Charles Roven after they worked on the 2002 film "Rollerball," and then lied to an FBI agent about the wiretapping.  

McTiernan, whose credits also include "Predator," later recanted, claiming he was woozy from alcohol, prescription medication and jet-lag when he made false statements to the FBI. McTiernan also argued that his attorney at the time neglected to suggest possible defenses to the charge, court documents show.

Fischer originally declined to accept McTiernan's change of plea request, and in September 2007 sentenced him to four months imprisonment and a $100,000 fine. The director remained free on bail while appealing the sentence.

Last October, a federal appeals court vacated McTiernan's sentence and ruled he was entitled to a hearing on whether he could reverse his guilty plea.

Fischer granted the plea reversal, ordered the fine returned and set a March 23 status conference in the case. McTiernan did not attend the hearing.

Pellicano, 64, was convicted of 78 felonies, including racketeering, conspiracy and wiretapping, at two separate trials last year. He is currently serving a 15-year sentence in federal prison.

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