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Craig Titus & Kelly Ryan Investigation » Blog Archive » Greg Denue You’re FIRED!

Greg Denue You’re FIRED!

Glenn Puit delivers another story via The Las Vegas Review Journal this weekend…

craig smiling

Fitness champ seeks new attorney - Fired lawyer says husband ‘pulling strings’
Accused killer Craig Titus was all smiles Friday when it was announced that his co-defendant wife, Kelly Ryan, was firing her defense attorney.

But the attorney, Greg Denue, said his firing was a result of Titus controlling his wife’s legal defense, which he said he believes is detrimental to Ryan in the long run.

“Who’s looking out for Kelly?” Denue said. “I think he (Titus) has been pulling the strings.”

Ryan said in court Friday that she wants to replace Denue with defense attorney Michael Cristalli, the law partner of Titus’ defense attorney, Marc Saggese.

Cristalli said Titus and Ryan have signed a “joint defense agreement,” meaning they will pursue the same line of defense.

Titus, 42, and Ryan, 34, are two of the fitness world’s top celebrities. They are charged with killing their acquaintance, Melissa James, in December 2005, then setting her body on fire in the trunk of Ryan’s Jaguar off Blue Diamond Road.

Titus and Ryan have described James as their personal assistant.

Titus told police that James, 28, overdosed on drugs at the couple’s home and that he burned the body in an attempt to avoid bad publicity.

Since the couple’s arrest in Boston in January 2006, there has been speculation that Ryan would turn on her husband and enter into a plea deal.

Ryan has remained loyal.

Her first defense attorney, Tom Pitaro, was fired in September. Denue was hired, but with him came further speculation that Ryan would take a plea deal or that Denue would pursue a trial defense contrary to Titus’ defense regarding how James died.

Denue said Friday that Titus has repeatedly tried to communicate with him since he started representing Ryan. He said he hasn’t responded to the bodybuilder’s inquiries.

“I won’t return his calls,” Denue said. “He sent me a letter, and I put it in an envelope and sent it back to him without opening it. He’s not happy because he knows I have adverse interests, so I have to go.”

In the courtroom of District Judge Jackie Glass on Friday, attorneys were scheduled to argue a multitude of pretrial motions for the couple’s murder trial in April.

But once the proceedings started, it became clear that the issue of the day was Denue’s firing.

Titus smiled broadly at the sight of Cristalli in court.

“I’ve been trying to do this for a year now. … This is what I’ve been trying to do since day one,” Titus said loudly.

Cristalli, who in 2004 secured an acquittal for Sandy Murphy in the high-profile Ted Binion murder trial, said his proposed representation of Ryan was not dictated by Titus.

Cristalli said Ryan and her father, Tom Ryan, were responsible for his hiring.

“I’ve never met with Craig on this issue, ever, never, ever,” Cristalli said.

Ultimately, it is Kelly Ryan’s choice as to who her attorney will be.

“She has a Sixth Amendment right to the counsel of her choice,” Cristalli said.

He said that even though he is Saggese’s law partner, he will pursue whatever defense is best for Ryan. He also said that any talk of a plea deal for Ryan isn’t feasible for one reason: She doesn’t want to take a deal.

“It ain’t never going to happen,” Cristalli said.

Before Cristalli can officially become Ryan’s attorney, Glass must sign off on the proposal.

The judge said Friday that she wants to have a hearing on whether there is a conflict in having two lawyers from the same law firm representing two defendants in the same criminal case.

Glass also said she will appoint an independent attorney to speak with Ryan regarding the matter. She scheduled a hearing for 2 p.m. Wednesday to probe the issue further.

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