David Oscar Markus, a Miami trial attorney who has been called “a reincarnation of the old school criminal defense lawyer” and has represented clients from the head of the Cali Cartel to Fortune 500 companies and their CEOs, has partnered with rakontur, the lauded storytellers behind Cocaine Cowboys, The U and 537 Votes, to launch a new podcast series called For the Defense. The podcast focuses on the work of the least-respected but perhaps the most important profession in America: the criminal defense attorney. In each episode, Markus will interview a top criminal defense lawyer about one of their most gripping trials. Sadly, the criminal defense trial lawyer is a dying breed. The Feds have manipulated the system -- which was founded on the idea of trial by jury -- to force almost everyone (occasionally including the innocent) into pleading guilty to avoid trial. If you dare to go to trial, you risk going to prison for decades longer than had you surrendered and pleaded guilty. The system has shifted from valuing and encouraging trials to punishing those who dare exercise their constitutional right to have a jury decide their guilt. In the 1980s, over 20% of cases went to trial -- now less than 3% do so. Having tried cases all over the United States, Markus is well-positioned to speak to other leading criminal defense lawyers in the country and explore with them the decision they made in a high-profile case to proceed to trial, including their trial strategy, the risks involved, and the clients themselves. In the premiere episode, available now on all podcast platforms including Apple, Spotify and Google, Markus discusses the Harvey Weinstein case with his lawyer Donna Rotunno and what it was like for her to represent the most hated man in America against an entire movement. New episodes will be available on Tuesdays. Among the highlights of Season One: How did Roy Black flip the prosecution witnesses in his favor during the trial of a police officer charged with killing a black man during an altercation in an arcade? Why did Tom Messereau initially want to call Michael Jackson to the stand but ultimately decide against it? What was going through Marty Weinberg’s head when his client, a lawyer, decided he wanted to give part of the closing argument? How did H.T. Smith deal with a judge who was wearing handcuffs as his tie-tack? How did F. Lee Bailey, just a year out of law school, land the most followed trial of the day, Sam Sheppard (the defendant who ended up being the inspiration for The Fugitive)? CONTACT: [email protected], [email protected]
Douglas Brooks for Harvard Fencing Coach Peter Brand
1:23:14Well-known Boston lawyer Douglas Brooks sits down with David Oscar Markus to discuss the Harvard Fencing Coach case, an off-shoot of the Varsity Blues prosecution. The college admissions process gives all applicants – and their parents! – stress. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston charged over 50 defendants in the biggest college scandal of our time, which they dubbed Varsity Blues. Only a handful had the guts to go to trial, including the fencing coach at Harvard, who turned to Douglas Brooks to help him. In this bonus episode, David Oscar Markus speaks with Doug, his old college and law school buddy, about the incredible trial tactics that led to this amazing acquittal.
Barry Pollack for Ric Blake (Chicken Antitrust)
57:09DOJ’s antitrust division has gotten crazy aggressive in recent months, bringing criminal cases with new theories never tested before in federal court. These new cases haven’t done well, however. In a recent case alleging that 10 defendants agreed to fix prices for chicken, all defendants proceeded to trial. The jury hung as to all the defendants. In trial number 2, yet again the jury hung. Should the government get a third chance? The head of the antitrust division says yes because he is not part of “chicken shit club.” In this bonus episode, David Oscar Markus discusses these two lengthy trials as well as DOJ’s aggressive tactics with Barry Pollack, one of the nation’s top trial lawyers, who tried the first two cases.
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Ed Shohat for Carlos Lehder
54:41The 1980s was the wild west of drug trials. And there was no bigger cocaine cowboy than Carlos Lehder, who co-founded the Medellin Cartel. Lehder turned to Edward Shohat to represent him in a 7-month trial in which the prosecutor, nicknamed Mad Dog, called 29 snitches. In this episode, the finale of Season 4, David Oscar Markus takes Ed through the sprawling trial and the crazy turn of events after the trial ends.
John Gleeson for the Holloway Project
1:23:11John Gleeson has done it all. He’s been a federal prosecutor. A federal judge. And now he’s a criminal defense lawyer. Having seen the injustices in the criminal justice system, Gleeson started the Holloway project in which he and a team of lawyers are trying to free defendants who have been crushed by the system and minimum mandatory sentences. In fact, Holloway himself was a defendant that Gleeson sentenced when he was a judge. Gleeson and David Oscar Markus discuss this project, prosecuting John Gotti (who was represented by Albert Krieger), presiding over the Wolf of Wall Street case, and other fascinating stories.
Brian Heberlig for Ali Sadr
1:21:40There's prosecutorial misconduct and then there's what happened in the case of Ali Sadr in the Southern District of New York. Sadr's lawyer, Brian Heberlig, sits down with David Oscar Markus at his White Collar Law seminar at the University of Miami School of Law to discuss the absolutely insane misconduct committed by federal prosecutors in this trial and what -- if anything -- can be done about it.
Geoffrey Fieger for Dr. Jack Kevorkian
43:23Dr. Jack Kevorkian, also known as Dr. Death, was the center of debate at every dinner table – should a doctor be permitted to assist a patient in committing suicide if that’s what the patient wanted because of excruciating pain and a terminal illness. Prosecutors in Michigan said no and went after Dr. Kevorkian, who turned to Geoffrey Fieger to represent him. Fieger sits down with David Oscar Markus to discuss the fascinating criminal cases and the moral implications of Kevorkian’s actions.
Gerry Goldstein for "Deep Throat"
38:20Back in the 1970s, prosecutors started to go after what they deemed to be “obscene.” They went absolutely crazy when the movie Deep Throat was released. So they decided to arrest the projectionist, Richard Dexter, to send a message. Gerry Goldstein was a young firebrand lawyer who took on the case to trial and even all the way to the Supreme Court. Listen to him discuss all the twists and turns of the defense with host David Oscar Markus.
Juanita Brooks for John DeLorean
1:00:41Everyone knows of DeLorean cars, which were made famous in Back to the Future. What folks may not know is that the car's namesake -- John DeLorean -- was charged in two different federal cases in the 1980s. In one case in Detroit, he was charged with racketeering and embezzlement. Enter Juanita Brooks, who was one of the few women criminal defense lawyers to have her own practice at the time. Juanita is now known as the "jury whisperer" for her ability to convince jurors even in the most difficult cases. She did so here as well. Check out her strategies in jury selection through cross examination through closing argument as she discusses the case with fellow criminal defense lawyer David Oscar Markus.
Mark Geragos for Susan McDougal
43:00Mark Geragos, trial lawyer and fellow podcaster, discusses the Susan McDougal trials with host David Oscar Markus.In the 90's, Ken Starr was pursuing Bill Clinton. And anyone who got in Starr's way became a target. This included Susan McDougal, who refused to testify against Clinton because she believed that Starr was pressuring her to lie. Enter Mark Geragos, who was thrust onto the national stage with back to back trials involving McDougal -- one in state court in Santa Monica and one in federal court in Little Rock, Arkansas. The California case involved allegations of embezzlement from a famous conductor and his wife. But many believed that Starr was using this case as pressure to get McDougal to fold in the federal case. He miscalculated both McDougal and Geragos, who proceeded to trial in both cases, and won. Enjoy the discussion between two real trial lawyers -- Geragos and host David Oscar Markus -- who discuss the enormous risks clients face when taking on the government and their strategic decisions along the way.
Bruce Rogow for Luther Campbell and 2 Live Crew
46:05Season 4 of For the Defense premieres with Bruce Rogow who sits down with David Oscar Markus to discuss the groundbreaking criminal trial against 2 Live Crew and its front man Luther Campbell.Bruce Rogow discusses the 2 Live Crew case, an only in South Florida story in which a rap band was prosecuted because of its dirty lyrics. Rogow and David Oscar Markus get into the backstory of the case, how it put 2 Live Crew on the map, and how Rogow ultimately defended 2 Live Crew in the Supreme Court on another matter. Cardi B and other megastars have recently thanked 2 Live Crew for paving the way on the First Amendment's protection of their songs.