Manson, Girls Order Lawyers To Keep Mum
Thursday, June 25th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Jun. 25 – Charles Manson ordered his further defense at the Sharon Tate-LaBianca murder trial.
His three female codefendants joined the hippie guru in asking their attorneys to sit mute in court while prospective jurors were being questioned.
The strange twist in the bizarre case came in a closed meeting in the chambers of Judge Charles H. Older after 12 persons had cleared preliminary examination and were seated in the jury box to be queried in open court.
Irving Kanarek, the attorney for the hippie cult leader, would not immediately comment on whether he would follow Manson’s instructions.
Details of the heated exchange in Older’s office were related by other defense attorneys. They said that Manson asked permission to address the judge and Older agreed.
Manson argued that he should personally be permitted to examine the prospective jurors and ask them “a few simple questions.” Older replied that Manson would have to address his questions through his attorney.
The 35-year-old defendant then asked that Kanarek be discharged and that he act as his own lawyer. Older replied they had gone over that long before and the motion had been denied.
Manson then said he had only two alternatives—to act as a “disrespectful child” and disrupt the court proceedings or to offer no defense at all. The judge told him he would hurt his own case if he became unruly before the jury.
At that point, Manson turned to Kanarek and said that “from this point on” he did not want the lawyer to raise any type of defense or to question the prospective jurors.
Whether Manson intended to maintain such a position when witnesses actually were called remained to be seen.