In his search for freedom, convicted murderer Charles Manson has hired — who else — a man known as “the Devil’s Advocate” in order to win a new trial.
Attorney Giovanni Di Stefano told CNN that he has filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Manson’s behalf, claiming that Manson did not receive a fair trial when he was tried because he was not allowed to represent himself. He says the denial was a violation of his Sixth Amendment rights and is thus grounds for a new trial. He wants the proceedings reviewed in U.S. Federal Court.
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But Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor in the 1970 trial, says the judge assigned Manson a public defender because of Manson’s erratic behavior while representing himself in court. Besides, the issue has already been ruled on by an appellate judge. “He may be a fine lawyer and very sincere,” Bugliosi said, “but he’s coming up against a brick wall here because there is no merit.”
Di Stefano, who lives in Italy, insists that Manson, despite the gruesome nature of his crimes deserves a new trial. “I have no interest in the facts of this case,” he said. “The law is the law.”
In one of the most bizarre murders in California history, Charles Manson and his makeshift “family” were convicted of the 1969 killings of actress Sharon Tate and her unborn child, and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. He has since been denied parole 11 times.
Manson is just the latest among Di Stefano’s notorious clients. He is most noted for his defense of Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein in a 2006 trial, and his henchman “Chemical Ali” Hassan al-Majid in 2007, and was nicknamed “the Devil’s Advocate” for his representation of the two infamous men.
(More on TIME.com: See a Q&A with Charles Manson’s prosecutor)