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McDougal Lawyer Hired to Defend Michelle Holden

January 22, 1999

PASADENA — Lawyer Mark Geragos, who recently won an acquittal for Whitewater figure Susan McDougal, has been hired to defend the wife of Pasadena's mayor on charges of unlawful sex with a minor.

Geragos, who successfully defended McDougal on embezzlement charges, became Michelle E. Holden's lawyer Thursday because her previous attorney was excused from the case last week for an unspecified conflict of interest.

Michelle Holden was indicted last July by a grand jury on six felony counts--one count of sexual intercourse, four counts of oral copulation and one count of a lewd act. She also was charged with two misdemeanor counts of annoying or molesting a child. She pleaded not guilty to offenses that allegedly occurred in early 1998.

Geragos, speaking outside a courtroom at Superior Court on Thursday, immediately questioned the credibility of two teen-age boys who made the accusations against Michelle Holden, wife of Mayor Chris Holden, and promised a vigorous defense.

"There is only one victim here and that is Michelle Holden," Geragos said.

In November, Chris Holden and his father, Los Angeles City Councilman Nate Holden, alleged that a sheriff's official attempted to extort money from them, saying money would make the case go away. The district attorney's office has said there is insufficient evidence of such a crime and those accused have denied the allegation.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Tuppence McIntyre declined to respond to Geragos' comments Thursday.

Also Thursday, Superior Court Judge Joseph DeVanon granted Geragos time to review the evidence in the case. A pretrial hearing is scheduled Feb. 26.

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