Legal News - Mark Geragos takes Japanese man's murder case

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Celebrity attorney Mark Geragos says he is representing a Japanese man accused of killing his wife in Los Angeles in the 1980s and that his first goal will be to get the charges dismissed on grounds of double jeopardy.

Geragos' client, Kazuyoshi Miura, was convicted in Japan in 1994 but the conviction was overturned on appeal. Although that trial was in Japan, Geragos said he believes U.S. law still prevents Miura from being tried again for the same crime.

"The first thing I'm going to do is challenge the arrest warrant," Geragos told The Associated Press on Saturday.

Miura's arrest last month in the U.S. territory of Saipan has created a sensation in Japan, where his case has been called that country's equivalent to the O.J. Simpson case.

Simpson, a former pro NFL football star turned actor, was acquitted in a criminal trial of the 1994 murders of his wife and her friend. After the families sued for wrongful death, a civil court jury found Simpson liable and ordered him to pay $33.5 million.

The now-60-year-old Japanese clothing importer said he and his wife were vacationing in Los Angeles in 1981 when robbers shot him in the leg and her in the head. Kazumi Miura, 28, died the following year in Japan.

The attack, in broad daylight on a busy downtown street, fed fears in Japan that U.S. cities were too dangerous to visit. Los Angeles, preparing to host the 1984 Olympics, was embarrassed.

Police initially seemed to accept Miura's story, but eventually became convinced he had conspired with someone to have his wife killed so he could collect on her life insurance policies. Los Angeles and Japanese investigators worked together in building a case against him.

Miura, who is in jail in Saipan awaiting extradition to Los Angeles, has maintained his innocence.

Geragos said he hopes extradition proceedings can be delayed until his petition to have charges dismissed is considered.

The attorney, who has not met his client yet, said he was contacted by Miura's lawyers in Saipan and asked to handle legal matters in Los Angeles.

Geragos, a frequent TV legal commentator whose clients have included Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder and convicted wife killer Scott Peterson, is no stranger to the limelight. Just last week, he won a multimillion-dollar judgment against a private air charter company that secretly videotaped his conversations with Jackson while he was working for the pop star.

However, he said the blizzard of calls and personal contacts by members of the Japanese news media he has received since word leaked out that he had joined Miura's legal team exceeds anything he has experienced.

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