Former energy secretary Chris Huhne has hired Harry Redknapp's legal team to fight allegations of perverting the course of justice.
Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce exchanged strained smiles and muttered under their breath as they appeared before a crown court judge for the first time.
The pair were told by Mr Justice Saunders that a summer trial was likely at Southwark Crown Court.
Huhne, 57, who remains the MP for his home town of Eastleigh in Hampshire, stood down from the Cabinet to fight claims he wrongly told investigators his wife was driving his car.
John Kelsey Fry QC, the top criminal barrister who represented football boss Redknapp at his tax fraud acquittal last month, has been appointed by Huhne. A two-week trial could take place before October, the court heard.
Huhne, from Dutton Lane, Eastleigh, and Pryce, from Crescent Grove, Clapham, south London, will appear again for a plea and case management hearing "at some time in the week beginning May 21", Mr Justice Saunders said.
After briefly exchanging glances with Huhne, Pryce - who is also accused of perverting the course of justice - made notes during the brief hearing.
Wearing a black and white cotton scarf and black-rimmed glasses, she looked down throughout much of the hearing while Huhne, wearing a mauve tie with white shirt and navy suit, spoke only to confirm his name.
Pryce, 59, was listed in court by her Greek forename, Vasiliki.
The pair left the bullet-proof glass-encased dock on unconditional bail.