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Former 'bling ring' lawyer sentenced [Updated]

September 20, 2010 |  1:08 pm

A Sherman Oaks attorney who represented an alleged member of the "bling ring" celebrity burglary group was sentenced Monday in an unrelated witness tampering case.

[Updated 4:20 p.m.: An earlier version of this post, and the headline, said Sean G. Erenstoft had been disbarred, based on a statement released by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. But prosecutors acknowledged Monday afternoon that Erenstoft faces potential disbarment rather than outright disbarment for pleading no contest to the single felony count of attempting to dissuade a witness.

Pleading guilty to a felony involving the practice of law, prosecutors said, usually involves disbarment.

But Erenstoft, who according to the state bar website remains active, said in an e-mail to The Times that there was no discussion with prosecutors regarding his disbarment.

"I have not been disbarred and there was no deal made concerning my status or future as a lawyer," Erenstoft said.

Erenstoft said he took responsibility for his mistake but that the characterization of his case by prosecutors "obscures more than it reveals."]

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Wesley also sentenced Erenstoft, 43, to three years of formal probation and 100 hours of community service. Erenstoft must pay $9,028 in restitution to the victim.

Erenstoft originally was charged with three felonies, including bribing a witness. Under a plea agreement, two of the criminal counts were dropped and he would not serve time behind bars.

In exchange, Erenstoft agreed he would be barred for life from practicing law in California but could apply for reinstatement in five years.

Prosecutors alleged 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 alleged 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