YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Simpson Lawyer Loses Low-Profile O.C. Case

Courts: Attorney Alan Dershowitz argues on behalf of Huntington Beach physician Nagesh Shetty, charged with filing a false tax return.


SANTA ANA — Celebrated defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz returned to a Southern California courtroom Monday, but to a far less glamorous setting than the murder trial of O.J. Simpson.

The defendant was a no-name. The TV cameras were gone. And Dershowitz lost.

Dershowitz argued in a U.S. District Court here on behalf Nagesh Shetty, a Huntington Beach doctor charged with filing a false tax return.

Dershowitz flew cross-country to argue a single motion on the doctor's behalf. At issue: whether delays by the government had trampled on Shetty's right to a speedy trial. Dershowitz said they did.

U.S. District Judge Gary L. Taylor sided with the government.

Shetty was arrested in 1994 on 28 counts of mail fraud, but those charges were dropped. He now faces three counts of making a false statement on a tax return, a felony.

Dershowitz, perhaps best known for his role as a co-counsel in Simpson's murder trial, has handled a number of high-profile cases, including the trials of socialite Claus Von Bulow and heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson.

Dershowitz argued that Shetty's trial was improperly delayed for eight months after a prosecutor became ill. Shetty was been awaiting trial for more than 18 months.

"This court must--not may--must dismiss this case," Dershowitz told the judge. "We cannot trivialize the right to a speedy trial."

But Taylor ruled that Shetty had concurred with many of the prosecution's delays.

"A good deal of the overall delay can be attributed to the defendant," the judge said.

Outside the courtroom, the famed Harvard law professor said, "I respectfully disagree with the judge's decision."

Shetty's trial begins today.

Paul William Raymond, the lead defense for Shetty, said he called in Dershowitz because he thought his legal skills might prove decisive.

"My client felt he could add to the case," he said. "I think he raised some very good points."

Dershowitz said he was glad to be back in Southern California. He said that though this was the first time he had argued in an Orange County court, it was not the first time he had been to Orange County.

"I've spoken here before," Dershowitz said. "And I've been to Disneyland."

Los Angeles Times Articles