‘United Front’ Defense Mapped
Tuesday, March 10th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Mar. 10 – The lawyer appointed to defend Charles Manson, accused leader of a hippie murder cult, believes the best trial strategy may be a “united front” for all six defendants in the Sharon Tate murders.
“The overall strategy may be to present a united front as far as all defendants are concerned,” Charles Hollopeter, 59, said.
Hollopeter, appointed as Manson’s attorney Friday over the vigorous objections of the defendant, said Monday he and his client are now getting along fine.
The lawyer said he spoke with Manson for two hours Sunday and “it went very well. He was very cooperative and we seemed to have a good rapport.”
Superior Court Judge William B. Keene ordered Hollopeter to take the case after ruling that “outlandish” motions filed by Manson proved he was incapable of representing himself.
“You can kill me, but you can’t give me an attorney,” Manson shouted at the time.
Hollopeter would not elaborate on his ‘united front” comment and added that he had not yet finished reading the county grand jury transcripts which resulted in Manson’s indictment and five of his followers last December.
However, the lawyer said he fully expected to talk to all the defendants soon and that there was a “distinct possibility” he would ask the court to postpone the March 30 trial so he could study the case further.
While Manson was acting as his awn attorney he was granted a motion to interview his codefendants if they consented to such meetings.
Last week, he met for 75 minutes with Susan Denise Atkins, 21, a police informer whose grand jury testimony resulted in the indictments.
Following the meeting, Miss Atkins indicated she had second thoughts about testifying against Manson at their trial. Her lawyer was asked it Manson had tried to persuade her to let him call the shots for the defense.
“No,” said attorney Richard Caballero, “he told her to do what she thought was right.”