On Mon., May 6, famous criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos will speak at the St. James Armenian Church Men’s Club Dinner about his book with Pat Harris, Mistrial: An Inside Look at How the Criminal Justice System Works…And Sometimes Doesn’t.
As the principal with the internationally known trial lawyer firm of Geragos & Geragos, Mark Geragos cemented his national reputation as a trial lawyer a dozen years ago with back-to-back state and federal court jury trial acquittals for renowned Whitewater figure Susan McDougal, later securing a presidential pardon for McDougal for a conviction sustained prior to his representation of her.
During the last decade, Geragos has won two consecutive dismissals of murder charges against clients by proving flawed eyewitness identification. One of those clients later won a $1.7 million settlement when the Geragos firm sued the City of Glendale for its false arrest of that client. In another 12-week murder trial where the victim was the defendant’s four-year-old daughter, Geragos was the lead lawyer, and the jury did not convict his client. He also convinced a San Mateo Superior Court judge to grant probation in a weapons and drug case brought against Victor Willis, former Village People front man, and was the attorney who successfully represented singer Chris Brown last year.
Geragos won the dismissal of prostitution charges against James Bond movie director Lee Tamahori; dismissal of all felony charges, including kidnapping and torture, for Hung Bao Zhong, the recognized exiled leader of China’s shadow government, with an estimated 38 million followers worldwide; dismissal of murder charges for the third time for a USC co-ed charged with murder in the death of her fetus; and dismissal of a decades-old murder charge against Japanese national Kazuyoshi Miura, a case christened the “Japanese O.J. Case” by the Japanese media.
Geragos was also one of the lead lawyers in a pair of groundbreaking Federal Class
Action Lawsuits against New York Life Insurance and AXA Corporation for insurance policies issued in the early 20th century to Armenians who later became victims of the genocide by the Ottoman Turks, eventually settling these two cases for more than $37.5 million. He is currently suing the government of Turkey for reparations.
Mark Geragos is the only lawyer besides Johnnie Cochran ever named “Lawyer of the Year” in both criminal and civil arenas. California Law Business Magazine named him “One of the 100 Most Influential Attorneys in California” three years in a row, and Geragos has repeatedly been voted by his peers as one of Los Angeles’ Super Lawyers. His $59 million jury verdict in a trade secrets case against pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Corporation was voted both “Top Ten Verdicts in 2008 in California” by the Daily Journal and “Top Fifty Verdicts in the United States” by the National Law Journal.
He has represented some of the most prominent figures in the world, including former Congressman Gary Condit, former first brother Roger Clinton, Academy Award-nominated actress Winona Ryder, pop star Michael Jackson, socialite Nicole Ritchie, singer Chris Brown, hip hop stars Nathaniel “Nate Dogg” Hale and Sean “Diddy” Combs (aka Puff Daddy), international arms dealer Sarkis Soghanalian, and the Sarkisyan family, whose 17-year-old daughter died when Cigna Corporation refused to authorize a liver transplant. For the last several years, Geragos has represented Barry Bonds’ personal trainer, Greg Anderson, in the matter relating to a federal investigation into steroid use in professional sports.
Geragos has regularly appeared as both a guest and legal commentator on the “Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” “Dateline NBC,” “Larry King Live,” “Anderson Cooper 360,” “Greta Van Susteren’s On the Record,” “60 Minutes,” and “48 Hours,” and has lectured extensively and authored numerous articles and Law Review publications on the subject of media and the law. He attended Haverford College in Pennsylvania as an undergraduate, and later earned his Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School. He was born in Los Angeles.
Pat Harris, Mark Geragos’s co-author, will also speak at the event. Harris is one of the firm’s primary trial lawyers, specializing in both felony criminal trials and major civil litigation, including civil rights’ violations, wrongful death actions, and malicious prosecution cases. His trial successes in the past year alone have included 3 jury verdicts in excess of $2.5 million, and serving as co-counsel with Mark Geragos on a case in Santa Clara County that resulted in their client receiving a verdict of over $37 million against the pharmaceutical company, Pfizer.
Over the course of his 13 years practicing law at Geragos & Geragos, Harris has also served as co-counsel with Mark Geragos on numerous other high-profile matters, including the cases of Susan McDougal, Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson, and Greg Anderson. Working on the McDougal case led. Harris to write a book entitled Susan McDougal: The Woman Who Wouldn’t Talk. The book spent four weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, and was praised by the New York Times Book Review as being “moving and compelling, composed…with dignity and compassion.” Former President Bill Clinton wrote, “Every American who loves our Constitution…should read this book.”
Harris was born in Clarksville, Ark. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was a state finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship. Before attending law school, Harris started his career as one of two legislative assistants for former Arkansas Congressman Bill Alexander (D-Ark.) in Washington, D.C. After leaving D.C., he served for a number of years as vice president of Real Estate Development for Madison Financial Corporation in Little Rock, Ark. Harris grew proficient in the financial aspect of real estate development while acting as a liaison between the financial organization and the development corporation for several real estate projects.
After working for a number of years, Harris went to law school and earned his Juris
Doctorate from the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, Mich. He began his legal career in the Davidson County Public Defender’s Office in Nashville, Tenn., before moving to California and beginning to work with Geragos & Geragos in 1997, where he focused his practice on criminal law. His numerous victories include successfully representing a high school principal charged criminally with hate crimes, and then winning a countersuit on the principal’s behalf for malicious prosecution for $600,000. Since 2008, Harris has begun trying cases in civil court with great success. In January 2009, he won a $1.3 million jury trial verdict for a client who had been falsely accused of murder. He followed up on that triumph with a $1.2 million jury trial verdict against a truck hauling company and the City of Los Angeles for negligence in destroying the property of a Los Angeles resident. Most recently, Harris won a $350,000 jury trial verdict against Bank of America for wrongly seizing $140,000 from a customer’s account.
While Harris’ practice is largely based on courtroom trials, he has also been highly successful outside of the courtroom, working with clients on cases ranging from sexual harassment to wrongful death. In the past two years alone, he has helped achieve client settlements in excess of $10 million.
The Social Hour at St. James starts with mezza at 6:15 p.m., followed by a complete losh kebab and kheyma dinner at 7 p.m., for $12 per person. The dinner meeting will be at the St. James Armenian Church, Charles Mosesian Cultural and Youth Center, Keljik Hall, 465 Mt. Auburn St. in Watertown. It is open to the public. Ladies are welcome. Reservations are requested, and can be made by calling (617) 923-8860. Book signing proceeds to benefit the Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR).