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Craig Titus & Kelly Ryan Investigation » Blog Archive » Battered wife issue raised. Will Ryan turn on Titus? “Denue likewise refuses to dance the Titus two-step”

Battered wife issue raised. Will Ryan turn on Titus? “Denue likewise refuses to dance the Titus two-step”

Things get interesting with the lawyers as the saga continues between the two camps. The latest story comes from Glenn Puitt of the Las Vegas Review Journal.

BODYBUILDER CASE: Battered wife issue raised
Attorneys dispute whether Ryan still backs husband

Kelly Ryan’s lawyer said Tuesday that the national fitness champion is a battered woman, and he plans to tell a jury that Ryan was under the control of her husband, bodybuilder Craig Titus, when the couple’s personal assistant turned up dead in the desert.

Attorney Greg Denue said he is now seeking a court order to have Ryan examined by an expert on battered woman syndrome, and he also plans to argue at Ryan and Titus’ murder trial that Ryan did whatever Titus wanted her to do because she was an abused spouse.

“She (Ryan) agrees with my defense,” Denue said. “Her actions were done under the duress of Craig Titus, and she’s finally starting to see the light.”

Kelly Ryan Craig titus

Denue also announced Tuesday he’s seeking to have Ryan tried separately from Titus, and he wants to have Titus’ lawyer, Marc Saggese, kicked off the high-profile murder case for visiting Ryan at the Clark County Detention Center even though he’s not Ryan’s attorney.

“His visits have made him a witness in this case,” Denue said.

But an attorney seeking to replace Denue as Ryan’s attorney said Denue is wrong, and that Ryan has no interest in blaming her husband for the fate of their personal assistant, Melissa James.

“That is completely inconsistent with what I’ve heard from her,” Michael Cristalli said. “It’s not true.”

The battered woman allegations surfaced Tuesday amid a battle over which lawyer will represent Ryan.

Ryan had a thriving career as one of the world’s top women’s fitness athletes. Titus is a nationally known bodybuilder who competed in the Mr. Olympia contest. The husband and wife are accused of killing James in December 2005 at the couple’s posh southwest Las Vegas home, then setting James’ remains ablaze in the desert off State Route 160.

Titus and Ryan have denied killing James.

The fitness stars told police they found James dead of a drug overdose in their home, and instead of simply reporting the overdose to the police, they panicked and set James’ body on fire to avoid negative publicity.

Last month, it seemed as if Denue was being sacked as Ryan’s defense attorney in favor of Cristalli. It would have been the second time since Ryan’s arrest that she has fired her attorney.

However, before Denue was ousted, it was learned that his proposed replacement was Cristalli, the partner of Titus’ defense attorney, Saggese.

Denue has since claimed that Titus, through Saggese, is seeking to control his wife’s legal defense. Specifically, after Cristalli sought to represent Ryan, Cristalli and Saggese said Ryan and Titus had signed a joint defense agreement, meaning they had agreed to pursue a similar defense strategy at trial.

District Judge Jackie Glass, however, ruled that Cristalli would not be allowed to represent Ryan, saying having two law firm partners representing co-defendants in the same murder case presented a conflict of interest.

Cristalli and Saggese are now appealing Glass’ decision to the Nevada Supreme Court, saying it is ultimately Ryan’s choice as to who will represent her.

Denue said Tuesday it is true that Ryan originally wanted to fire him, but she is now having second thoughts. Instead, Ryan wants to leave it up to the Nevada Supreme Court as to who will represent her.

“She wants it to play out in front of the Supreme Court, and she believes whatever happens is God’s will,” Denue said.

Denue on Tuesday filed the motions seeking to have Ryan tried separately from Titus and to have Saggese tossed off the case.

“Craig Titus found the sock puppet lawyer he has been searching for in Marc Saggese,” Denue wrote in the motion. “When three of this town’s top lawyers … refused to dance to Titus’ tune, he choreographed their removal. Now, because Denue likewise refuses to dance the Titus two-step, he too is targeted for legal amputation by Titus and his errand boy, Saggese.”

Denue wrote that Saggese is seeking to have Ryan “sacrificed at the altar of Craig Titus” and that when Glass appointed veteran attorney William Terry to meet with Ryan, Terry concluded the joint defense agreement was “essentially an unenforceable contract.”

Saggese on Tuesday night countered that Denue is attacking him because Denue doesn’t want to be taken off the high-profile case, and that Denue’s problems with Ryan resulted from the attorney never visiting with Ryan at the Clark County Detention Center.

“I feel sorry for him,” Saggese said of Denue. “It’s an act of desperation. It’s not my fault he didn’t have the competence to represent her. Kelly Ryan literally cried to me in desperation to have a lawyer really represent her. He is lashing out at me because of his shortcomings as an attorney. If he was a good lawyer, he’d be her lawyer.”

Saggese also confirmed Tuesday that Clark County prosecutor Robert Daskas has given him notice that he plans to call Saggese as a witness in the case, but Saggese said he will never testify in the Titus-Ryan trial.

“I think Denue conspired with Daskas to eliminate me from the case,” Saggese said. “I would never practice law for a second, ever again, for the rest of my life, if I was in some way forced to testify against Kelly Ryan or Craig Titus. I would give up all I have or ever will have to stand by the attorney-client privilege. No person, no entity, and no agency could ever get me to testify against my client.”

Because of the unresolved dispute over who will be Ryan’s lawyer, Glass canceled Titus and Ryan’s previously scheduled April trial date. A new trial date was not set.

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