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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

Tale-telling lawyer failed clients, public

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Chances are you've never heard of Lawrence Teeter. He's a lawyer and God only knows there's enough of them to go around. But Teeter made his name as a conspiracy-theory lawyer, one who concocts bizarre stories on behalf of his client. Apparently the thinking is that the more outlandish the explanation, the greater chance someone will believe him.

It rarely works.

Teeter died last week but he left one legacy that will surely put him in the Conspiracy Hall of Fame. Teeter was the lawyer who represented Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Robert Kennedy in 1968. And a straight-faced Teeter told the courts and the public that Sirhan was framed for the Kennedy assassination by the "military industrial complex" who hypnotized him that fateful night in Los Angeles.

Of course no one believed Teeter. He wove this mysterious tale that a gang within the federal government feared that Kennedy would end the Vietnam War if elected president so they duped Sirhan into taking action by hypnotizing him and putting a gun in his hand. Just to hedge his bets however, Teeter also said that Sirhan actually was not the shooter but just coincidentally fired a pistol in the Ambassador Hotel at the exact same time Kennedy was shot. Teeter seemed to think Sirhan was guilty of bad timing but not an assassination.

Not one to leave a tall tale alone, Teeter also said the evidence that would clear his client had then been destroyed by the Los Angeles police.

Lawrence Teeter - to some of us - epitomized everything wrong with the legal community. Either he was crazy or he was lying. Teeter must have known his conspiracy theory was pure bunk. Let's face it, he had to know. But he stood in front of the public and the judge and swore to the theory of hypnotism and bad timing and the favorite of the left - the "military industrial complex."

I recognize and appreciate the role of the legal community in our society. I support and embrace their critical position in the workings and dealings of people. But when someone like Teeter so blatantly misleads the public and the courts, there should be some form of sanction.

I will not speak poorly of the dead. But I will also hold no respect for the likes of Lawrence Teeter and his attempt to lie for his client at any expense. Teeter didn't just ruin his reputation with his bizarre tall tale. He sullied the name and reputation of lawyers everywhere.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen