Magazine article Newsweek

King of the Tabloid Case: Mark Geragos Is Juggling Two of the Most High-Profile Clients in the Country. to Hear Him Tell It: No Sweat

Magazine article Newsweek

King of the Tabloid Case: Mark Geragos Is Juggling Two of the Most High-Profile Clients in the Country. to Hear Him Tell It: No Sweat

Article excerpt

Byline: Jennifer Ordonez and Andrew Murr

He's the legal profession's equivalent of a pop star on a breakneck tour. Consider last week. On Sunday, Mark Geragos jetted to Modesto, Calif., to consult with his second most famous client, accused murderer Scott Peterson, before traveling to "an undisclosed location" (that is, Las Vegas) to meet with No. 1, Michael Jackson. By Monday he was in downtown L.A. on other business, reaching a plea bargain in what he called an "impossible" murder case. Tuesday and Wednesday, back in Modesto with Peterson, pausing for media face time. Thursday, Vegas and Jackson, again. Friday, Geragos hopped between various L.A.-area courtrooms, dealing with cases nobody's ever heard of.

Never before in the post-O.J. age of celebrity lawyers, it appears, has a single attorney juggled two of the nation's biggest cases at the same time. Peterson's case, which could last months, is scheduled to go to trial Jan. 26. Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon, meanwhile, promises to charge Jackson with "multiple counts" of child molestation by mid-December. Besides that, Geragos says his office is handling more than 75 other criminal cases. Is he overbooked? With a sly smile, he waves off the concern. "I've juggled cases before. It's nothing unusual for me," says the 46-year-old married father of two. Besides, he insists, his two celebrity clients are both "stone-cold innocent."

Despite his bravado, Geragos admits he plans to add lawyers to his current roster of 12. Paul Geragos, Mark's father and the founder of Geragos & Geragos, their law firm, which also includes Mark's brother Matt, acknowledges that his now-famous son is "a legal brand," a familiarity that helps him connect with jurors. For his part, Geragos seems to relish the attention. His only complaint: other high-profile lawyers have been "taking potshots at me on TV... then calling up [the clients and] offering their services for free, trying anything to grab one of these cases."

Geragos first won national television exposure after back-to-back victories for Whitewater defendant Susan McDougal, which included a Little Rock showdown against independent counsel Ken Starr. …

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