A lawyer with a star-studded client list has entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of Vancouver businessman and philanthropist David Sidoo, charged in the U.S. college admissions scandal.

“We're going to address all of the allegations in court, “ said Sidoo’s Las Vegas-based lawyer David Chesnoff. “We're happy to be in a great court like the U.S. District Court for Boston, and we look forward to our date in court. That’s about all I have to say at this time.”

When asked about the plea, Chesnoff said “Why did I say not guilty? Because he's not guilty.”

Chesnoff is a well-known lawyer to the stars whose celebrity client list includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Britney Spears, Martha Stewart and reportedly, Harvey Weinstein.

“Well that’s an expensive lawyer,” said Alyn Edwards, a partner in Peak Communicators - a Vancouver firm specializing in crisis management. “But that's a lawyer who can speak for the individual at a very difficult time of that person’s life. And really, if the individual and the lawyer don’t tell the story, other people will.”

Sidoo posted a US$1.5 million bond, and is allowed to return to Vancouver. But he’s forbidden from travelling outside the U.S. or Canada, and has been ordered not to speak to anyone else charged in “Operation Varsity Blues.”

Sidoo is accused of paying someone $200,000 to take his two sons' college entrance exams in 2011 and 2012. His case is due back in a federal court in Boston on April 18, but he will not be forced to attend.

Sidoo has stepped aside from roles as CEO of two separate companies in Vancouver. On Thursday, East West Petroleum announced Sidoo's decision to take a leave of absence from his role as acting company president.

"Mr. Sidoo has decided it would be in the best interests of the Company to take a leave," read the statement from the oil and gas investment firm. "The subject matter of the legal proceedings is unrelated to Company activities or business and Mr. Sidoo remains as a director of the company."

Advantage Lithium Corp., a lithium investor and developer, announced Sidoo's departure as its CEO in a nearly identical statement.

“He's certainly resigned from his positions in his businesses, but life goes on,” said Edwards, who would advise Sidoo not to hide when he gets back to Vancouver. “He may have made a mistake here, it’s up to the courts to determine that. But if he appears to be hiding then it has that shadow of guilt.”

None of the charges against Sidoo have been tested in court.