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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


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.

28 Responses to “Law firm: DENIED”

  1. CHAINSAW Says:

    I believe that KR should have the lawyer of her choosing anyway. She will just try to get a conviction overturned anyway saying the judge denied her right to a defense of her choice. I wish these lawyers/judges would stop trying to predict the future, and just get on with it.

    Of course they are going to appeal a conviction. What else is new?

  2. darkstar Says:


    It doesnt work that way…she has a right to an attorney, not necessarily a specific attorney.

    The judge is right. There is not only a huge conflict of interest, but potential for overturn on appeal due to a claim they didnt get adequate representation…they cant have it both ways.

    I wonder who will represent her now? Do you think CT will try to ring up ‘ol Deen to see about setting up a hit on Judge Glass? Just kidding…


  3. CHAINSAW Says:

    They will get a lawyer that will be a frontman for cristalli you watch.

  4. darkstar Says:

    I kind of doubt that…it would be way too complicated, arguably pose some ethical problems, not to mention the defendants are supposedly broke.


  5. Jason G Says:

    The Nevada Supreme Court has previously ruled that defendants may use a different attorney from the same law firm, as long as all parties sign a waver witch Titus and Ryan did each sign. Additionally the decision states that with thoes terms met it will then be at the “discretion” of the presiding judge. Thus the problem.

    Attorney Greg Denue sounds like a real class act. You may understand Kellys frustration if she has the same problem contacting attorney Denue as I just experienced. There is no listing with information and his listing in the new Las Vegas telephone directory is disconected.

    Just for the record, I believe that if these are the attorneys Titus and Ryan have chosen to represent them and have “by rule” signed the wavers, I personally do not believe that leaving a decision such as this to “the discretion” of the judge. This leaves too much room for error and or personality conflicts, should one exist. A new law or rule may now be forth comming from the Nevada Supreme Court.

  6. wayne mortensen Says:

    I dont get it. It sounds as though KRs lawyer is telling her what is really happening. They they might be found guilty. He is not telling KR what she wants to hear, that there is a real possibility that they will be found guilty. Also, he has probably told her to roll over on CT, that this was her best shot. I do not think this current lawyer has deceived her in any way. She is still thinking that CT is some sort of super hero and he will get them off. KR, take a hint, be smart, you will get life if you do not roll over and rat on CT. Obviously, the prosecution thinks they have enough to get convictions on both. KR, you are kidding yourself if you do not think that you and CT are just going to walk away from this without you two mensas being punished. Both of you
    will get life.

  7. Jason G Says:

    Another way to look this is that they want to stick together. May be they did the deed together or may be they are innocent and want to show everyone that they are going to stick together for better or worse.

    Kelly’s present attorney, Greg Denue can not be contacted. It’s no wonder she doesn’t want him to represent her.

  8. shockandawe Says:

    Jason G,
    So says you. Remember, Denue was repeatedly asked for his expert opinion about the proceedings in the Sandy Murphy/ Rick Tabish trial in the matter of Ted Binion’s murder. (LVRJ - November 22, 2004) - He’s no local slouch.

    He is diametrically opposed to the kind of defense that Sagesse and Christalli are likely to stage - which is in legal circles, admittedly risky and showboating. If it works, it works, it not it is abyssmal for a client.

    Here, Denue is quoted about Tabish’s attorney, Serra, which gives you a birdseye view into his view on courtroom antics:


    I just think that Kelly is a total idiot who is truly mentally deranged if she thinks that Titus is going to save her or by not turning on him, it’s going to help her.

    But I must say, in the single letter that we exchanged from prison, in wishing her Happy Birthday this past July, she did sound like she felt so much faith in God, that she was resigned to anything happening.

    Then, reading the part about Sagesse stating that Ryan was desperate and crying, it made me think, “She is scared, but she’s being snowed and controlled ONCE AGAIN by Titus and the man who is just like Titus, but works within the law. Titus and Sagesse are twins separated at birth.


  9. shockandawe Says:

    Sorry, here is the QUOTE, which was pulled because I bracketed it with (

  10. shockandawe Says:

    Once again…. SHEESH!

    Denue said he found Serra’s mannerisms to be odd.

    “I don’t know if that sort of hippie routine will work on the road in Vegas,” Denue said. “He just looks different, and he was so theatrical. His hands were moving, and it looked like he was putting a spell on the jury, so if they come back with a guilty verdict, they are all going to turn into lizards.

    “I was thinking, this is like something out of `Macbeth,’ ” Denue said.

  11. shockandawe Says:

    You know, in reading about Denue’s other cases - VERY high profile requiring a GREAT DEAL of skill, it did occur to me that though the legal system needs defense attorneys, I don’t know how they can go to sleep at night or wake up with themselves after representing scum like Shod Walker (Nov. 2005) who raped a former Elite model and then smashed her pretty head with a 44 pound boulder.

    Hanging out with animals like Walker, Titus and Ryan must be depressing and soul-destroying.

  12. shockandawe Says:

    Sorry, one more thing… (you’re probably thinking… shut up already!! haha)

    I did find it interesting that Denue was STILL looking out for the interests of his client, despite her wanting to oust him as her defense attorney- filing

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

    ~ 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.

    ~ 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

    I see this last statement of Denue’s an indication that he was probably willing to help Kelly defend herself with very little money, and that losing faith was the last straw.

    REMEMBER, Denue has acted many times in high profile cases as a PUBLIC DEFENDER of heinous murderers. This being just another of those.

  13. darkstar Says:

    I’m with you on that, Shock…Denue is no slouch and the fact that his number in the phone book is disconnected is not determinative of his accessability to his clients. His clients know how to reach him, guaranteed.

    I think he is right about Kelly as well…She is taking a big risk doing what she is doing. I also believe he had her best interests in mind strategy wise. She may well regret her decision.

    As for Serra, well, he is currently in the Federal pen in California for tax evasion. He may be out by now, but thats where he has been recently.

    He has had some success as an attorney, but he is different for sure. It plays well in Northern California, but he is not everyone’s cup of tea. I also believe it was the evidence, or lack thereof, in the Binion case that was the biggest factor in the not guilty verdicts. That, and a jury who used their common sense and brains, not the “compelling” theatrics of Serra, et al…


  14. Jason G Says:

    I have no opinion regarding the ability of Greg Denue. My point is, that it doesn’n matter how good you are IF you cannot be contacted.

    My opinion is that Mr. Denews’ remarks in open court or to the press were unprofessional and prejudicial to Ryan and Titus. At this time he is the attorney of record for Ryan and has responsibilites.

    You call Mr. Deune and see if you can get him to answer. As I explained, I only tried to make contact with Mr. Denue and could not.

  15. darkstar Says:


    What the hell, are you some kind of attorney stalker??

    Just because you, who is NOT a client of Denue’s, cannot contact him doesnt mean shit. Do you seriously believe that KR didnt have Denue’s phone, cell, blackberry, whatever, numbers? Its not exactly like she has her own private phone line…

    It is highly unlikely that he purposely didnt return calls……

    His comments may have been in court, but it wasnt during the trial, and not in front of a jury…he was simply sticking up for his client. That IS his responsilbility, and he appears to have been vigourously defending her.

    Too bad she sees it differently. Her loss.


  16. Disgusted Says:

    Darkstar is correct Chainsaw. By law you have the right to an attorney, NOT the attorney of your choosing. If you CANNOT AFFORD an attorney one wil be APPOINTED to you. This means that the taxpayers are NOT obligated to foot the bill for a howboating sideshow who sees an opportunity to double his fees.

    The quote is on the mark, Ryan is an idiot who is under the dillusional spell of her devil of a husband. Her jailhouse conversion to Christianity doesn’t fool anyone, it’s been done a few times before and juries just don’t buy it anymore.

  17. Tiger818 Says:

    Disgusted, just how well do you know Ryan? Spell, for this long, I don’t think so…….
    DUNUE, still looking for more info on him… As far as Dunue looking out for the best interest of Ryan, I wonder??? Anyone know how much she paid him? Oh I also, can not find a # on Dune. Looks like he moves around a lot. I have to agree with Chain, Kelly should have the lawyer of her choosing…….

  18. chainsaw Says:


    If she (can) pay him, she should be able to get anyone she wants, Period.

  19. darkstar Says:

    Doesnt work that way, Chain…In this case it would create arguably intentional appeal issues which the judge has alluded to.


  20. chainsaw Says:


    They will appeal it anyway if she doesn’t get to use him.

  21. darkstar Says:

    Maybe, but they will lose. I am confident Judge Glass’s decision will be affirmed.


  22. Disgusted Says:

    Tiger818: Don’t know Ryan at all, what’s this got to do with anything?

    Chain: It’s been made very clear that Ryan is broke, cannot afford an attorney and her own father refuses to pay one dime toward her defense.

  23. chainsaw Says:


    All I have to say is pump-fake. Say you can’t, but you really can.

  24. darkstar Says:


    OK, but that gets you to where? Either you are broke or you arent. If you cry poverty when you really are not, and then get state money to buy experts or pay lawyers, that sounds like fraud to me…

    I would like to know what their legal bils are so far…I bet it is hundreds of thousands…remember this has been going on for way over a year so far…

    I bet they are about tapped out…


  25. Disgusted Says:

    Pump-fake? The bitch is broke and daddy says no to paying for her defense. Pump-fake? What assets could she still have after being incarcerated for over a year now? Why should intelligent people care?

  26. darkstar Says:


    They gotta be broke. I dont see any way they couldnt be.

    The question is, will Saggese and who ever ends up defending KR work for free?


  27. shockandawe Says:

    For what it’s worth, I do not believe her dad has abandoned her - not because it isn’t possible and sometimes parents are not behind their kids, BUT, I just don’t see it. I know it has ripped the life from their family and they are forever changed by this, but I don’t believe he is not helping her. I do believe he is.

    When was the last time any of us heard the truth about this? Ummm..never? Remember, it was Craig who said that about her dad. And if Kelly has said anything, it’s sickly driven and motivated and usually in favor and defense of Titus, rather than her own father even.

    Just because they claim to be broke, doesn’t mean the judge has taken Mr. Ryan aside and said, “Sir, are you NOT willing to help your daughter financially here?” Of course, that has not happened.

    I just think people’s speculation over where there is money is skewed by Titus. He wants people to think he’s a hero and her OWN DAD is some kind of demon! C’mon! He’s a successful guy who raised a family and is wealthy. He was still good friends with Kelly’s mom whom he had divorced years earlier - in fact her death was a crushing blow. Do you honestly think that Mr. Ryan is denying his DAUGHTER money? NO.

    But I would bet that he is denying it if she INSISTS on pairing her defense efforts with Craig. Her unwillingness to let that go and take care of herself, finally, and see what a schmuck Titus is, and how he’s ruined her life, is probably MIND BOGGLING to her dad. It would be to me. It IS to me - I used to be great friends with her and this is unfathomable.

    I get the whole “she isn’t rolling because she’s guiltier and he could rat on her too” deal… and maybe that IS it. But, I suspect that Mr. Ryan, no matter who is guilty, wants to have that money go to HER, and not her ne’er-do-well husband whom he forbid her to marry and said he would bless or accept, and that if she did, he would turn his back on her.

    In the end, I still don’t believe he’s turned his back on his daughter - just if she refuses to separate from him. Which, in many ways, I don’t udnerstand because they will never ever hold one another again, or visit with one another or have a life togehter - that has ended forevermore.

    There are ways of separating your defense without rolling on Titus. All she has to do is focus on how her life is NOTHING like it once was, and that is due to her involvement with Titus. Influence is a BIG BIG thing in courtrooms. It is risky, but it is a risk worth taking and I believe that is precisely the defense that Denue wanted to give to her.

    Anyway, just my two cents.

  28. darkstar Says:


    I agree totally. Mr. Ryan is stuck between a Kelly and Craig. As long as she and CT are paired up for their defense, Mr. Ryan is screwed. Im sure he would pay for her defense, but I bet he is saying “I’ll be god dammed if I will defend that fucker CT who ruined my daughters life, etc, etc…
    DEnue was on the right track. Too bad he wasnt allowed to continue.


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