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Old 04-04-2013, 11:49 PM
John McTiernan begins his one year stint at a Federal prison

For those who haven't been following the whole debacle that is the phonetapping McTiernan was involved in, he began serving his one year at a federal prison.


To be honest, it's sort of bittersweet news because while there's some bullshit here - I'm glad that he'll serve his sentence and get it over with already. He's had a few films in development all throughout this and let's just hope he can make them once he's out.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:31 AM
Acquaint yourself with the story.

The excellent and well documented article from the French news magazine L'Express, with a new perspective on the hidden side of John McTiernan's case is now totally translated for our english friends.

John McTiernan : Behind the case.

The Die Hard with a Vengeance and Thomas Crown Affair director, is going to be sent to prison on April 3rdfor perjury and lying to the FBI. A source close to the family relates the story of the case which ruined John McTiernan's career.

By Sandra Benedetti.

Snow is twirling down in gusts on Wyoming. In the outhouse of a ranch where cow boys were once running away from Sioux' arrows, a man with tormented wrinkles is writing the story of a bunch of flying firemen. He named it Warbirds. It is a script on which John McTiernan is working, with anxiety on his mind. Two weeks from now, on April 3rd, at exactly midnight, the director of Die Hard and The 13th Warrior will have to surrender to the authorities.

He has been sentenced to a year in prison, a $100 000 fine and 3 years probation for having lied on two occasions to the FBI and for committing perjury in front of a court of law. The conclusion of an old case which has ruined the career of this lone bear, at the polar opposite of the Hollywood noise, a kind of cinematic maverick turned outcast since 2006.

It all started in 2000 on the set of Rollerball. What should have been, in the mind of McTiernan, a modern Spartacus was turning into a nightmare. Thugs were extorting the crew, a fire of undetermined origin destroyed the set and the accountant, terrified, took off. The filmmaker and his producer, Charles Roven, both had their finger on the trigger. Roven didn't give a damn about Spartacus and wanted a simple "whiz-bang" action film, basically. McT suspected him of plotting a first class sabotage with the help of the MGM moguls.

Desperate, he hired a professional with whom he already dealt in 1998 during his divorce from Donna Dubrow : Anthony Pellicano. This tuxedo and shined shoes wearing, unsavoury character dresses like Al Capone, is the private detective that the City of Angels goes to when things go awry. A big shot, with links to the mafia. "When you are one of his friends, you are part of his family. If you're not, then you have a big problem" according to Sylvester Stallone.

Michael Jackson, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Courtney Love, Stevie Wonder, agents and film star lawyers, moguls and even Hillary Clinton are among his clients. He is nicknamed "the sin eater". He his a man of many specialties. Blackmail, threats, illegal wiretaps, spying, corruption and various falsifications. And all very 'hush hush ». On the phone, John McTiernan asked Pellicano to find out what Charles Roven and MGM were plotting regarding Rollerball.

No problem, that'll be $50 000, thanks, see you soon.

The film, butchered indeed in the editing room by Roven, came out in 2002 to disastrous reviews. This very same year, the FBI raided Anthony Pellicano's place. A Los Angeles journalist had pressed charges : she had found a dead fish, a red rose and the word "Stop" on the broken windshield of her Audi. In mafia parlance, this is a death threat. She was sniffing around in the life of two of Pellicano's clients and was sure that this was where the threat came from.

The cops quickly apprehended a small time crook, Alexander Proctor, who admitted to the felony and pointed the finger at the private detective. In the den of the sin eater, agents took possession of hard drives, computers, hand grenades, hand guns, explosives, assault weapons, CDs, thousand of pages of telephone conversation transcripts and gadgets worthy of James Bond. Arrested for illegal possession of military grade weaponry, Pellicano is sentenced to 30 months in prison. Just the time it will take the FBI to go through this mountain of evidence.

On February the 13th 2006, John McTiernan was having dinner in his Wyoming based ranch. A source close to the family tells that the director had came back the day before from a location scouting in Thailand and was suffering from typhoid fever and serious jet lag. In one account, one of the judges of the appeal court indicates that the scouting took place in Canada. Anyway. The phone rang and, feverish or not, exhausted or not, McT took the call. A guy saying he is from the FBI asked him questions about Pellicano and lawyer Dennis Wasser, which the director had previously hired during his divorce from Donna Dubrow. He wanted to know if McT had knowledge of the detective's illegal wire-tapping. The answer was no.

« Journalists often called pretending to be somebody else, a close member of the family remembers. John knew by experience that it was better to answer their questions in order to be left alone. At the end of the conversation, the man asked John if it had been the only time he hired Pellicano and John answered "Yes. I have to leave you and go back to my dinner". And that's where it ended".

FBI special agent Stanley Ornellas hung up and took notes. The gates of hell had just been opened. Merely a month later, the most powerful detective on the planet was standing again in front of a court of law. Among the hundred charges held against him : extortion, illegal wire-tapping and conspiracy to commit a crime. He faced 20 years in prison. "This trial has the potential of opening a rare window on the hidden face of hollywood", attorney Pierce O'Donnell declared. The whole of Tinseltown was shaking. The first big name to fall into the hands of justice was John McTiernan.

He will be the only one to suffer the consequence.

On March 4th, the government suggested to the director that he should hire a lawyer. When on March 16th, he was summoned to an interview with a government representative, McT brought his lawyer alongside him. The attorney mentioned agent Stanley Ornellas' phone call to McTiernan during which he denied knowledge of the illegal methods of the detective as well as having hired him after 1998. Then, he brought up transcripts of the illegal wire-tapping involving Charles Roven, and the recording, dated August 17th 2000, of a conversation between McT and the detective of the stars, which the federals said was found on one of the seized computers.

Instead of claiming, hand on his heart, that he knew nothing of Pellicano's actions as all the other celebrities would do afterwards, the filmmaker decided to plead guilty at the trial. His lawyer assured him that it was the only line of defense, based on the evidence presented. According to the New York Times, McT declared to the court: "Actually, I thought about hiring Pellicano to wiretap Charles Roven during the summer of 2000. I talked about it with him. I never got a report. After two weeks I paid him and I fired him. But I didn't mentioned it to the FBI agent on the phone." He had just set foot in hell for good. Lying to the FBI is a felony, punishable with a prison sentence of 5 years.

Since the beginning of the procedure, McT is on probation. Like every other accused in his situation. He has to give a weekly account of every single one of his activities to an agent, ask for permission if he wants to travel further than 100 miles from his home and obtain permission from a judge to leave the country as long as his case is pending.

Making a film under such conditions is impossible, since no insurance company will accept a project on which the director can be sent to prison and offered an orange jumpsuit at any given time. "Mister McTiernan is not above the law", so the accusers like to claim. The one who is not above the law is going round in circles in his ranch. Hollywood scorns him, for fear of being compromised.

In 2007, the sentence was given : 4 months in prison, 2 years of probation and a $100 000 fine. The filmmaker realised then that he had been duped by his lawyers, who had omitted to mention a few details on the consequences of a guilty plea. He fired them and hired two proud, stubborn, nasty, pugnacious lawyers. From there, sentences, trials, appeals, accusations and canceling requests would follow one another. Magistrates are full of resources, and so is the government.

Above all, there is judge Dale Susan Fischer. Cold eyed, short white fringe, toothy smile. The rumors say she is trying to make a name for herself by putting McT behind bars. When the lawyers mentioned the very serious state of depression of their client to try and soften the sentence, she answered: "He certainly won't be the only depressive in detention", as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Free McTiernan

According to our source, Fischer is said to have refused for the jury to be informed of an error in procedure. FBI agents are supposed to introduce themselves in person, with a badge and I.D., in order to interrogate somebody. Besides, every person involved in the Pellicano case was contacted through his agent or lawyer by the Federal Bureau before being interviewed. Only McTiernan was approached on the phone.

As for the notorious transcripts of Charles Roven's illegal wiretapping, which L'Express had full access to, they only consist of brief summaries, without a single dialogue. "Simple messages on an answering machine", adds our informant. Those two pieces of information and the fact that a key witness retracted herself should annul the director's sentence, he reckons.

But that's supposing the judge accepts to take them into account. The hotshot lawyers, Todd Neal and Chuck Sevilla, won't back down, despite the tenacity of Dale Fischer. They did manage to get her permission concerning a medical follow up of McT in prison. "The medication that John has been taking for the last ten years is not recognized by the Board of Prisons. If the treatment is brutally stopped, he will suffer from very serious side effects", warns our source.

If they cannot quash the sentence, the defendants have insisted that their client is incarcerated in Yankton, South Dakota, the closest prison to the family and one of the least dangerous in the United States. In the meantime, the Bear Claw Ranch that McTiernan bought on credit 25 years ago is being sold to pay for the legal costs. The little tribe now lives in the keeper's house. There, the director reads Shakespeare to his children. From his windows, he sees the deer wandering about and the eagles flying around. Free as the wind. Free as he still is himself. Not for long.

Upon hearing of his fast approaching incarceration, French fans and journalists have created the page FREE JOHN McTIERNAN on Facebook. It has created quite a lot of turmoil since its creation a couple of weeks ago. Samuel L Jackson, Joe Carnahan, Brad Bird, Jan Kounen and a multitude of other film related names have joined the cause. Enough to give a bit of courage to John McTiernan, there, on the other side of the Atlantic.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:43 AM
Holy shit, after reading Digifruitella's post, I truly feel for McTiernan. That's some fucked up shit.

Free McTiernan indeed.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:55 PM
McTiernan's wife speaks out.

Now that John McTiernan has joined Yankton State Prison in South Dakota, his wife Gail decided to break the silence and sent us the following message :

Dearest Friends of Free John McTiernan:

It is with much sadness that I tell you, as you know, that my husband self surrendered and gave up his seven year battle to keep his freedom. It was a day of high emotion, especially on my part. I promised him that I would not stop fighting this injustice and would get him home as soon as I can. While his fight may be over for now, mine has truly just begun.

The Federal Government has now imprisoned a man, with no prior criminal record, for saying a single false word on the phone (the answer of "yep") to a stranger’s voice he could not have possibly known or verified was law enforcement. Given the years of calls from fans or journalists, sometimes parading as some form of law enforcement, the responses to the caller that evening at dinner, were a courteous gesture. Everyone presumes the FBI comes to your door, black suits, badges showing. The FBI Manual certainly says the credentials must be shown so the person knows to whom they are speaking. But that didn't happen this time. Not giving the call another thought, John was shocked when two weeks later that phone call resulted in a federal felony charge. He pled guilty upon advice of counsel and later withdrew the guilty plea when he realized he had a defense to the false statement charge. The Court denied his request to withdraw his guilty plea. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with McTiernan. After the win, the Government quadrupled the charges and took away his chance for a fair trial. He filed a conditional guilty plea and then appealed again to the Ninth but a panel of a different political ilk sided with the Government. His request to be heard by the United States Supreme Court was denied.

He's since filed a habeas motion as it has been discovered that the alleged wiretap of Charles Roven (co-producer on Rollerball) never occurred, that Atlas (a Roven company) was a client of Pellicano, and that Pellicano former employees have never seen the alleged summaries of wiretapped calls. In addition, the hard drive given to defense attorneys that was to prove where evidence against John came from was in such a condition that the defense expert witness concluded "recovery…and verification of any content would be impossible." The "summary of wiretapped calls evidence" against McTiernan has never to this day been delivered to our defense lawyers . The pending habeas petition could have been decided before he ever set foot near a federal prison as his sentence is questioned by the newly discovered information. The Government has stalled his case with years of delays in filings, and filed their reply to the habeas just two days ago; a month late. That month was crucial to him and would have given time for his lawyers to file a response. Now with John in custody, the delays as a tactical strategy are sure to continue.

It is not okay to treat people in this manner. Many will say that he treated Chuck Roven badly. Well, actually, no. His film, and it's crew were in peril. As director, his job was to protect the people and the project. In a moment of bad judgement, he sought whatever information he could find. He also fired the guy when he realized he was talking of nonsense. His learned nothing, and no one was harmed. It's much like arresting the naive guy for buying oregano when he thought he was buying marijuana. Do you still send him to prison?

I am grateful that the judge called today to ensure his health issues would be addressed. I am hopeful in the coming weeks she will put her blindfold back on and listen to the merits of John's case. The path is bound to be rocky and I ask for your continued support and good thoughts.

We appreciate all of the tremendous support his fans and colleagues have shown. To see so many artists offer their support has been very touching. That the true chain of events is coming out is most welcome. This last month has been a very hard one. This Facebook page has been a source of smiles throughout this month….our hardest yet. We are so touched by the wonderful words, videos, artwork, and support. It is truly a shining example of humanity in a world where caring for one another is becoming a lost art.

When I told McT that his French fans had started a fantastic support page, he smiled and asked, "The French?" and I responded "Yes, really." He grinned and said in his sexiest French accent, "But of course!" Then quietly added, "They're wonderful aren't they?" "Yes my love, but of course," was my reply.

Vive la France! I hope we are back soon!

Gail McTiernan
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:29 PM
I have never heard about this, I gotta read up about it when I have more free time.
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:44 AM
Originally Posted by AspectRatio1986 View Post
I have never heard about this, I gotta read up about it when I have more free time.
Just listen to this podcast - http://www.hipcast.com/podcast/HCgbv2wQ start at 25 minutes in
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:45 AM
A couple of things....

I find it is hilarious that all this is over Rollerball. Quite possibly the worst movie of the past decade and an absolute abortion of a film if there ever was one. And what did McT hope to accomplish with his actions? I can say without a doubt that nothing would save this flick. In fact, a lot more of it should have been "butchered", like the whole damn thing. Adding more running time, more of the uncut material, getting the entire thing would only make it worse not better.

Also, just out of morbid curiosity, if a directors cut ever popped up I would be compelled to watch it now. I couldn't watch the entirety of the first one. I remember picking it up at Blockbuster with high hopes only to make it about 20-30 mins in before I was convulsing on the bathroom floor like Jim Carey in Ace Ventura during his "Finkle is a man" epiphany.

It would be very tough to make it through any more of this thing but I am up for the challenge now. Someone please make this happen for me.

As for my compassion of this whole ordeal, McT having to go to prison and all, seemingly getting the shaft by the suits and all. All I can say is choosing to hire a known felon to engage in illegal activities on your behalf is not smart. Under no circumstances does that cross my mind as a logical thing to do unless my life is in danger. And I am not a very smart person. So that means that McT is even less smart then me so it is what it is. Love Die Hard and Predator, the picture with the kids is touching, but a dumb ass move will usually net unsatisfactory results.
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:42 AM
There are valid points you state, rusty. Though there's more to the story. McT engaged in this because he tried to save the film. He had good intentions in having a suspicion Roven was trying to fuck him over when one of the sets got burned. Also supposedly Roven didn't like what McT was doing with the film which doesn't align with what the final product came out to be.

Regardless, the whole situation is a mess. But let me say one, or two things - some food for thought.

Polanski rapes a child and gets away with it. Chris Brown gets Rihanna's face busted and gets away with it, asks for forgiveness and somehow everything is forgotten. But a man looking out for his crew and a film who hires a PI - later fires him for realizing he's kooky, gets tricked by a Fed (who by LAW must identify himself when speaking to anyone) for 'suppressing' info fights the case for 7 years and loses.

I think there are "some" holes in the US justice system.

More reading http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew..._b_644462.html

Last edited by Digifruitella; 04-08-2013 at 10:55 AM..
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Old 04-08-2013, 11:04 AM
this whole story has pissed me off since i first heard about it... you have McTiernan going to jail for a year for this "crime", which put NO ONE in harms way... and yet a piece of shit like Lindsey Lohan goes partying every day, gets in fights, gets behind the wheel of a car and puts everyone's life in danger by doing so, escapes jail at every turn.

Just shows how fucking ass backwards our justice system is.
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Old 04-09-2013, 02:35 AM
Listen to the tape here - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alliso...l_b_93417.html
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:36 PM
http://www.hipcast.com/podcast/Hwv21xjQ his wife's interview
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:09 AM
A very thorough article written by a Rolling Stone writer on the case and some new quotes from McTiernan's wife on the past month of the sentence


so messed up. I read a lot of reports about this case and it's a seriously fucked up miscarriage of justice.
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Old 05-24-2013, 05:18 PM
Originally Posted by Digifruitella View Post
gets tricked by a Fed (who by LAW must identify himself when speaking to anyone) for 'suppressing' info
To be fair, the FBI agent DID identify himself on the phone, and McT acknowledges that. The question is whether or not he believed it/knew it was against the law to lie to him.

Look, no sane person thinks the US justice system is very good. McT has some sympathy from me, but he didn't do any due diligence with his PI and that means something.

But that Buzzfeed article (and much of the other coverage) is almost as appalling to me -- and they're doing the same sort of bullshit inference that they're claiming to be so up-in-arms about.

Trying to vilify Saunders, the Buzzfeed article says "it wasn’t uncommon for Scagnetti to send his entire stable of male clients over to audition" which is a statement of nothing. It literally quotes McT's publicist as source! How can we take that seriously?!?

The article contains this paragraph:

At first Saunders said that his memories of the seven-year McTiernan prosecution were hazy. (On the Bingham website, Saunders lists the Pellicano case and imprisoning John McTiernan in his official biography.)
This is aggressively terrible journalism. What the hell does one statement have to do with the other? Clearly the intent is implied libel, that Saunders must be lying since he uses the case on his website. Wouldn't it be precisely logical to do so, if that was a career highlight? Wouldn't distancing himself from the case be more suspicious? Not to a journalist who has already clearly made up his mind.

He writes that Saunders "indicated that he was shocked by the line of questioning about his acting career, despite the Vanity Fair story." The word "despite" there means precisely nothing. Terrible, terrible writing and irresponsible journalism.

He closes with this zinger:

After giving me his statement, Saunders asked me what year The Hunt for Red October had opened. He then seemed to have Googled it. The film was from 1990, and Saunders told me that he’d started law school in August 1989. Therefore, he explained, it would have been impossible for him to have auditioned for the movie.

The casting for The Hunt for Red October occurred in the fall of 1988.
Which, again... means nothing! Seriously. It's absurd. It falls prey to about a dozen fallacies of logic.

Again, none of this has to do with McT himself, but this sort of "support" isn't helping him any.
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Old 05-24-2013, 08:35 PM
Originally Posted by AceD View Post
To be fair, the FBI agent DID identify himself on the phone, and McT acknowledges that. The question is whether or not he believed it/knew it was against the law to lie to him.
Believing someone on a phone is law enforcement did turn out too good for these people: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...ruel-hoax.html

Honestly, even in grade school we are taught to not believe someone is in law enforcement until they show a badge.

Anyone can call and claim to be the FBI. The press, sociopaths, crazed fans, all have a history of doing this. This isn't uncommon.

If it is illegal to not believe that some random person on the phone is FBI, then those people in the link above should never receive a punishment.

A study was done to show that people will perform immoral acts if a perceived authority figure tells them to, and its bullshit like this that scares people into this kind of complete submission.
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:38 PM
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Old 05-31-2013, 07:40 PM
Originally Posted by AceD View Post
To be fair, the FBI agent DID identify himself on the phone, and McT acknowledges that. The question is whether or not he believed it/knew it was against the law to lie to him.
That's news to me about the ID - because McT's side is that he did NOT Id himself.

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Old 06-02-2013, 03:09 PM
Holy shit...
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Old 06-04-2013, 12:38 AM
Doesn't look like the agent followed procedure, and the case should have probably stopped when that came out. It would seem someone at the agency might be out to make an example of McTiernan when there are obviously way worse offenders.
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Old 06-04-2013, 02:07 PM
Article from The Guardian - http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2013/...tiernan-prison
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Old 06-04-2013, 04:38 PM
This is not right form a man who directed Rollerball.

Is there a petition?
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:48 PM
Originally Posted by Bandgurl View Post
This is not right form a man who directed Rollerball.

Is there a petition?
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:19 AM
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:40 PM
In related news - a holy shit moment - the guy who wrote that Rolling Stone article, and who was on Huffington Live talking about this case died in a car accident. http://mashable.com/2013/06/19/buzzfeed-reporter-dies/


People, be careful out there. One moment you're here, next you're gone.
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:12 AM

Last edited by Georgie Boy; 08-06-2014 at 06:29 PM..
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Old 06-29-2013, 01:34 PM
Wow, if you read into this Hastings death it's fucking fishy.
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Old 10-20-2013, 01:38 PM
Q&A at USC with McTiernan's wife

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