He was wrong and he admits it.
Veteran director John McTiernan pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to one count of lying to FBI agents in connection with the wiretapping case against former sleuth to the stars Anthony Pellicano.
When asked if he made false statements to federal investigators, McTiernan, 55, admitted to U.S. District Court Judge Dale Fischer that the information he gave was "knowingly false."
McTiernan, the director of Predator, The Hunt for Red October and the first and third Die Hard films, was questioned in February by agents investigating Pellicano for allegedly putting illegal wiretaps on dozens of prominent Hollywood figures to glean information for rich clients. McTiernan claimed he knew nothing about the detective's actions, but was arrested when authorities learned he not only knew something but had actually hired Pellicano to eavesdrop on a business associate.
As he stated in court, McTiernan denied to the FBI in February "that Pellicano ever discussed his wiretapping ability. [The FBI] asked me if I had hired him in any other area, and I said, 'No, I didn't.'"
But a confession was part of the deal Monday, and McTiernan went on to admit his collaboration with Pellicano. "I had hired Anthony Pellicano to wiretap producer Charles Roven [Batman Begins, The Brothers Grimm] in the summer of 2000?But I never received a report or specific information?I paid him off and fired him."
McTiernan said that he paid Pellicano $50,000 to wiretap Roven's office. The director and Roven had worked together on the 2002 misfire (to put it mildly) Rollerball.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Saunders requested that the plea agreement be sealed for now and he had no comment for reporters as to whether he's recommending a lenient sentence for McTiernan.
The director, who now lives in Wyoming, is currently free on $50,000 bail providing he doesn't have contact with anyone involved in Pellicano's thick legal docket. The former detective is facing 110 counts on charges ranging from racketeering to destroying evidence, some of which carry 20 years each.
McTiernan was the 14th person--and the biggest Hollywood name--to be legally ensnared in the Pellicano web. However, attention was first brought to Pellicano's purported wiretapping activities in 2002 when he allegedly hired an ex-con to intimidate a Los Angeles Times reporter who was working on an article about action man Steven Seagal and his ties to a Mob figure.
Authorities have since cleared Seagal of any connection to the scare tactics used against the journalist, but the investigation opened a giant can of worms involving numerous celebrity lawyers, businessmen, shady information gathering and alleged victims such as Sylvester Stallone and Keith Carradine.
Deadwood actor Carradine has filed his own lawsuit against Pellicano, accusing him of collaborating with his ex-wife to eavesdrop and snatch information to use against him in divorce proceedings.
McTiernan is due back in court July 31 for sentencing.