Rift Seems To Be Developing In The Charles Manson Trial
Wednesday, August 12th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 12 – A rift appears to be developing in the defense team in the Sharon Tate murder trial. Three lawyers have accused Charles M. Manson’s attorney of trying to “dump” three women codefendants to help Manson’s case.
Manson, the shaggy-haired clan leader accused of ordering the women to kill Miss Tate and six others, joined the attack Monday on his own attorney, Irving Kanarek.
“I object to my attorney,” Manson told the judge. “He’s not speaking for me.”
The complaints about Kanarek came during his sixth day of cross-examination of the state’s star witness, Linda Kasabian, who Monday was granted immunity from prosecution. He hammered away at details of the night a year ago when the beautiful actress and four others were slain at her Bel Air mansion.
Other attorneys said the testimony was repetitious. They objected particularly to accounts of the roles of two women defendants in the killings.
Paul Fitzgerald objected successfully six times to Kanarek’s questions concerning his client, Patricia Krenwinkel, 22, and vehemently opposed introduction into evidence of a picture of the bloody body of one victim.
“The picture is prejudicial and inflammatory,” Fitzgerald said. The judge ruled the picture would not be admitted until Kanarek laid a proper foundation with questioning, Kanarek dropped the subject.
Daye Shinn, representing Susan Atkins, 21, objected to a question eliciting testimony about a conversation Mrs. Kasabian said she had with Miss Atkins.
Later, Ronald Hughes, attorney for Leslie Van Houten, 20, told newsmen he felt Kanarek was hurting the defense case with his cross-examination.
“He’s turned her from an incredible witness into a credible witness,” said Hughes, “He’s hurting us by getting into the crime. I keep asking him to stop…He sort of ignores me.”
Kanarek told newsmen: “In this type of case a lawyer can represent only one litigant. Conflicts arise. An answer to a question may hurt one party and help another. Reasonable minds can differ at a trial.”
Fitzgerald said the original defense plan was to proceed on the theory that all four defendants are innocent and dependent upon one another in their defense. Kanarek has “slipped from the fold,” he said. Fitzgerald added that Kanarek possibly was doing a good job for his client but damaging the case of the women.
The squabble among attorneys came after the judge granted a defense request that Mrs. Kasabian be granted her promised immunity from prosecution. The defense attorneys said they felt once the grant was final she could recant her testimony if she wished without fear of retribution.
Kanarek again bolted from the pack, asking for a mistrial on the ground that the immunity should have been” formalized before Mrs. Kasabian took the witness stand two weeks ago.
Superior Court Judge Charles Older denied the motion saying: “I believe that when a witness testifies under the conditions Mrs. Kasabian has in this case she has immunity as a matter of law …The people have presented the petition for immunity and I have signed it.”
In spite of the immunity, the sandy-haired, 21-year-old mother of two didn’t change her testimony. She winced as she viewed again color pictures of two bloody bodies and choked back tears as she identified them as the victims she saw.
“She hasn’t been granted immunity from prosecution for perjury,” Fitzgerald said later. That might be a reason to stick with her story, he said.
Mrs. Kasabian was charged in the case with other Manson “family” members, but did not go on trial with them. Attorneys say charges must be formally dropped before she is released from jail and this probably will not happen until her testimony ends.