The Hollywood Reporter
The lawyer who saved Michael Jackson from a long prison run in 2005 has scored again.
Thomas Mesereau, Jr. and his partner Susan Yu had a big victory in Los Angeles last week. They kept Hollywood realtor to the stars Joseph Babajian from trading in Armani suits for those with horizontal stripes.
Babjian has sold houses to the likes of Barbra Streisand, Warren Beatty, Bruce Willis, Lee Iacocca, Becks and Posh, and so on.
But he and his partner, Kyle Grasso, and a real estate appraiser, Lila Rzik were indicted and went to trial for several counts of bank fraud that included inflating prices. Prosecutors said the scheme cost Lehman Brothers Bank $40 million on $142 million worth of loans on homes in the Beverly Hills-Bel Air area. Grasso and Rzik were part of a huge ring that included two real estate developers and eight others, all of whom had originally pleaded guilty.
If you ever get in trouble in Los Angeles, or anywhere: call Tom Mesereau.
Grasso and Rzik were found guilty, and face sentencing in January to a combined 940 years in prison. But Babajian walked on 13 counts. Another eight counts caused jury deadlock, and a mistrial was declared.
Babajian is a lucky, lucky man, even though the government still has the option of retrying him on the eight counts. But according to reports, the judge in the case told the prosecutor such a trial would be an uphill battle.
Mesereau’s real magic here was in separating Babajian from Grasso and Rzik, and convincing the jury that the famed realtor was not aware of their shenanigans.
It’s another huge victory for Mesereau and Yu, who’ve kept a relatively low profile since their phenomenal Jackson victory in June 2005.
In fact, Mesereau, rather than grandstanding on TV shows, devotes a huge amount of time to doing pro bono criminal work for the wrongly accused down in Alabama.