Rodney King: the drama continues...
Date: Tue, 1 Nov 94 01:08:28 PST
Subject: Rodney King: the drama continues...
From: email@example.com (Daniel Steinberg)
The following excerpts are from an article in the 10/30/94 San Francisco
Chronicle (page B-7), which apparently first appeared in the New York Times.
This reproduction, of course, is entirely without permission...
Lawyers bill L.A. for Rodney King: $4.4 million
The 23 lawyers who formed Rodney King's legal team have submitted their
bill to the City of Los Angeles, and it's a doozy: $4.4 million in legal
fees for 13,000 hours of work, at up to $350 an hour, including time spent
on talk shows, taking King to movie and theater premieres, attending his
birthday party and coaching him for the news conference where he pleaded,
"Can we all get along?"
The bill is $600,000 more than the $3.8 million that King received in
his judgement against the city.
"No wonder lawyers have such a bad name," said U.S. District Judge John
Davies, who will be settling the bill.
Lawyers also billed $3,981.25 for what they said were efforts to counter
the negative publicity generated when King was arrested with a transvestite
prostitute and charged with attempting to run over a police officer.
"To go out there and say that King was not some pervert took a lot of
technique and craft," said Steven Lerman, King's first lawyer, who was later
replaced by Milton Grimes.
Because King prevailed in his lawsuit, his lawyers can seek payment from
taxpayers for all fees and court costs accrued in the litigation. Lawyers
also typically receive one-third of any judgment; that would be $1.2 million
of King's $3.8 million award.
Grimes, who hired most of the additional lawyers on the case, said that in
public appearances with King he provided his client "guidance and direction."
Lerman defended his [$1.2 million] bill, saying that he became a frequent
guest on talk shows to "argue the case before the American public" and that
his meeting with King during his birthday was strictly business.
"Hey, I wasn't inventing the wheel here," Lerman said. "All I am asking
for is a day's wage for a day's work."
Incidentally, directly to the right of the final paragraphs of this article
appears a clip-out coupon displaying a photograph of a bearded, but none too
well-off, gentleman poised with a plastic spoon over a plate of food. The
Give A Thanksgiving Dinner To A Homeless Person
Please help us provide traditional home-cooked meals with
all the trimmings for the hungry and shelter for the homeless
during this Thanksgiving season and throughout the year.
$14.70 can help provide 10 meals
$29.40 can help provide 20 meals
$58.80 can help provide 40 meals
$147 can help provide 100 meals
And, directly below the aformentioned article is another article that
enumerates the costs of various historic trials:
$916,140 (Los Angeles County's prosecuting costs, through Sept. 30,
in the O.J. Simpson case. Legal experts predict the case
will end up costing the taxpayers over $5 million, and
that O.J. will exhaust his peronal fortune of $14.2 million
in his defense.)
$592,806 (the cost of prosecuting Sirhan^2 in the 1968 Robert Kennedy
$768,838 (the cost of prosecuting Charles Manson in 1969)
$13.2 mil (the cost of the unsuccessful prosecution, during the
'80s and '90s, of the McMartin family on charges of
sexual abuse of children at a family-run Los Angeles
To the right of this, and dominating the page, is a TWA ad proclaiming
their latest cross-country fares, all between $145 and $166 (well, twice
that, if you read the fine print, since you have to buy round-trip tickets).
All in all, a most fascinating juxtaposition. I particularly liked
the remedial multiplication tables in the homeless shelter ad. I can
imagine that Los Angeles County may one day be required to solicit
additional funds to finance their legal department:
Help This Troubled District Attorney Fight Against Crime
Please help provide legal fees to continue the never-ending
battle against terrifying criminals whom the media have
popularized through their unsavory and remorseless whetting
of the public appetite.
$14.70 can help sharpen a legal assistant's pencil
$29.40 can help sharpen two legal assistants' pencils
$58.80 can help provide a lawyer enough time to zip up
his fly as he prepares to cross-examine a witness
$147 can help provide a lunch
$3,900 can help finance an appearance on Phil Donahue
to argue the case before the American public
© 1994 Peter Langston