State Again Tries to Oust Manson Defense Counsel
Wednesday, June 24th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Jun. 24 – The trial of cult chieftain Charles Manson and three of his girls in the Tate LaBianca murders erupted in anger today as prosecutors made another attempt to have the hippie leader’s attorney taken off the case.
Prosecuting attorneys, headed by Dep. Dist. Atty. Aaron Stovitz, filed a new motion with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Older to have Irving Kanarek relieved of his duties as attorney for Manson on the basis that he is an “obstructionist” and would unduly delay the trial.
A similar motion filed by the prosecution when the trial first began last week was rejected by Judge Older who told the prosecutors that he did not have the authority to remove the attorney.
Stovitz originally said he would take the case to the State Supreme Court. He apparently did not and returned today to file the renewed motion.
Kanarek, obviously angry, jumped to his feet as the trial opened this morning, charging the prosecution was “interfering with my conduct of the defense.”
Although interrupted several times by Dep. Dist. Atty. Vincent Bugliosi, who shouted into the microphone that this was “a legal issue that should be discussed in chambers,” Kanarek continued to charge the prosecution with a “personal attack…invading Mr. Manson’s right to effective counsel.”
“I don’t believe politics and criminal justice should mix,” Kanarek later told newsmen. “Dist. Atty. Evelle Younger is running for attorney general and for political reasons he and his deputies feel that if I represent Mr. Manson it will look bad for them.”
Concern for the safety of the 12 jurors finally selected to hear the case was voiced Tuesday as the question of sequestering the panel for the entire three to five-month trial was being reevaluated.
The “re-evaluation” of Judge Older’s decision to lock up the panel was brought up again by the judge, who asked opinions from attorneys in a closed-door session.
Kanarek and attorney Daye Shinn, defending Susan Atkins, have voiced opposition to the sequestration. Prosecuting attorneys agreed, but defense attorneys Paul Fitzgerald, representing Patricia Krenwinkle and Ira Reiner, defending Leslie Van Houten, both claimed the locking up of the jury would be in the best interests of all.
Kanarek told the judge the procedure would mean ending up with a “peculiar kind of jury, one that wasn’t normal.”
The attorney also contended the jury could not further be tainted by bad publicity, since he said the damage had already been done.
By MARY NEISWENDER