Manson’s Defense Attorney Charges Case A ‘Political Trial’
Monday, January 4th, 1971
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 4 – Charles Manson is undergoing a “political trial” in the Tate murder case and should no more be charged with murder than Gov. George Wallace or John Birch Society head Robert Welch, a defense lawyer argued today.
Irving Kanarek resumed final arguments for the defense in the six-and-one-half-month-old trial by telling the jury that Manson was being charged with the slayings because his philosophies were antagonistic to most of American society today.
“There are all sorts of militant societies in this country today,” Kanarek said. “There is no reason why George Wallace, the governor of Alabama, Robert Welch of the Birch Society should be charged with murder.
“This is a political trial in which Mr. Manson is brought here because he is a symbol of one of the confrontations that is going on in this country today.”
Turning to evidence that the word “pig” was daubed in blood on the front door of the Tate home, Kanarek said the defense felt that key state witness Linda Kasabian printed those letters there.
Kanarek said it backed up the defense contentions that Mrs. Kasabian and Charles “Tex” Watson were the leaders of the bloody foray at the Tate home.
The four defendants were absent from the courtroom again today, listening to the proceedings by loudspeaker from nearby rooms. Kanarek began his final arguments in the six-month-old trial last week and told Superior Court Judge Charles Older he would finish today.
Kanarek has attempted to discredit the testimony of the state’s key witness, Linda Kasabian, a former “Manson Family” member who was granted immunity.
The attorney portrayed her as a Mr. Magoo-type character who created havoc but remained unscathed. He also likened the cult leader to a Christian being thrown to the lions and the trial to a Roman circus.
The lawyer began his summation by showing the jury enlarged, color photographs of the victims, including the nearly nude body of actress Sharon Tate, who was eight months pregnant.
At one point, Kanarek, whose repeated objections have punctuates the testimony of many witnesses, suggested that the prosecution was out to set him personally.
Deputy District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi objected, and Older sustained the objection.
Bugliosi had attempted to have Kanarek removed as an attorney in the case when the trial began contending that Kanarek had a history of prolonging trials by dilatory tactics.
Attorney Maxwell Keith, who was appointed to represent Leslie Van Houten in the case after her lawyer, Ronald Hughes, disappeared on a camping trip Thanksgiving, was to follow Kanarek with his final arguments.
The lawyers for the other two female defendants, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel, have already presented their final arguments.