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Craig Titus & Kelly Ryan Investigation » Blog Archive » Law firm: DENIED

Law firm: DENIED

The judge has ruled but Cristalli and Saggese said they plan to appeal the denial to the Nevada Supreme Court. Despite the outcome of the higher court Ryan will still be getting a new lawyer.

A couple of things we found the most interesting in the article:

• Denue also suggested Ryan’s best defense was to separate her case from Titus, something she has refused to do.

“The jury is going to hear about him (Titus) dousing the body with lighter fluid,
” Denue said.

Denue also filed a motion Tuesday to have Saggese disqualified from the case, saying Saggese’s many visits to Ryan in jail, which are not protected by attorney-client privilege, could make Saggese a witness.

• “Everything may seem hunky-dory, and her prospective lawyers are convinced that Ryan has nothing but visions of a bare-chested Titus riding on a unicorn,
” Denue wrote in the motion.

—-

Bodybuilder defendants: Law firm denied Titus, Ryan cases
Judge won’t allow partners to represent both husband, wife charged in slaying

Written by: By K.C. HOWARD THE LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

District Judge Jackie Glass on Tuesday denied accused killer Kelly Ryan’s request to hire the partner of the attorney who is representing her husband and co-defendant Craig Titus.

Marc Saggese, Titus’ lawyer, and Michael Cristalli, the man Ryan wanted to hire, argued that having their firm represent both of the fitness-world celebrities would not pose a conflict of interest.

Titus and Ryan are charged with the murder of their 28-year-old live-in assistant Melissa James. In December 2005, James’ body was found in the trunk of Ryan’s burning Jaguar sedan off Blue Diamond Road. Titus told police James overdosed and he burned her body to avoid bad publicity, police reported.

In court on Tuesday, Ryan and Titus agreed to waive any potential conflict to secure the Cristalli & Saggese firm.

Ryan wanted Cristalli, whose repertoire of high profile cases includes an acquittal for Sandy Murphy in the Ted Binion murder trial, to replace Greg Denue as her lawyer.

Cristalli and Saggese hoped to represent Titus, 42, and Ryan, 34, with a joint defense agreement, which would prevent each from testifying against the other and would bar Cristalli from putting potentially damaging witnesses to Titus on the stand for Ryan, or vice versa.

Citing Ryan’s sixth amendment right to choice of counsel, Cristalli said she had the right to waive any potential conflict. But, he added, there is currently no conflict, because Ryan is not cooperating with the district attorney or planning to testify against her husband.

“Let’s not forget, it is her choice. It is her constitutional right to counsel of choice,” Cristalli said. If a conflict did arise, another lawyer could represent her, he said.

But Glass, Denue and prosecutors cited concerns with the joint representation from one law firm.

For one thing, the conflict could aid in Ryan’s or Titus’ ability to overturn a conviction later by citing ineffective counsel, they said.

“A defendant will do just about anything they can to overturn that conviction,” Glass said.

Two attorneys from the same firm “become one person representing two individuals in a case involving the most serious charges a person can face,” she said.

Cristalli and Saggese said they plan to appeal the denial to the Nevada Supreme Court.

Denue said Ryan will be getting a new lawyer no matter which way the state’s highest court goes because Denue plans to withdraw because Ryan lacks faith in him.

Denue also suggested Ryan’s best defense was to separate her case from Titus, something she has refused to do.

“The jury is going to hear about him (Titus) dousing the body with lighter fluid,” Denue said.

Denue also filed a motion Tuesday to have Saggese disqualified from the case, saying Saggese’s many visits to Ryan in jail, which are not protected by attorney-client privilege, could make Saggese a witness.

“Everything may seem hunky-dory, and her prospective lawyers are convinced that Ryan has nothing but visions of a bare-chested Titus riding on a unicorn,” Denue wrote in the motion.

If Ryan is convicted, her appeal lawyer could claim that Ryan was induced to abandon her own interests to protect her husband, Denue said.

Saggese said his visits to Ryan in jail — seven since Dec. 19, according to Glass — were to discuss the case and not her lawyer.

But Ryan said Denue wasn’t giving her case enough attention, Saggese said.

“It was always 100 percent about the case, until the visits started to turn into desperation,” and Ryan cried and begged Saggese to help her, Saggese said.

Saggese said he was surprised when Cristalli walked into his office recently and said he was going to be retained to represent Ryan.

“I was like, incredible, perfect, this will be a good joint defense,” Saggese said.

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