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Former 'bling ring' lawyer pleads no contest to attempting to dissuade witness in separate case

July 14, 2010 | 12:57 pm
A Sherman Oaks attorney who represented one of the key suspects in the "bling ring" celebrity burglary case pleaded no contest Wednesday in a separate case to a felony charge of attempting to dissuade a witness, authorities said.

Sean G. Erenstoft, 42, originally was charged with three felonies, including bribing a witness. Under a plea agreement, two of the criminal counts will be dropped at sentencing Sept. 15 and he will not serve time behind bars, which could have been upwards of three years, said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.

In exchange, Erenstoft agreed that he will be barred for life from practicing law in California but can apply for reinstatement in five years. He must also complete 100 hours of community service and pay more than $9,000 in restitution, Robison said.

Prosecutors allege that the attorney, while representing a defendant in a stalking case, filed a civil case against the victim to dissuade her from testifying against the defendant at his preliminary hearing.

Prosecutors in the grand jury indictment also allege that Erenstoft later offered to drop the civil case in exchange for favorable testimony at his client's sentencing.

In the "bling ring" case, Erenstoft represented Nicholas Prugo, 18, of Calabasas, who is charged in connection with eight burglaries of celebrities' homes, including those of Paris HIlton and Rachel Bilson.

-- Andrew Blankstein