Lawyer Howard Weitzman, who had a list of clients including Michael Jackson, OJ Simpson, Marlon Brando, Morgan Freeman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ron Meyer and CAA, has died at the age of 81.
Kinsella Weitzman founding partner Iser Kump & Aldisert died Wednesday in his hometown of Los Angeles from cancer.
One of the first lawyers to step down from the defense of NFL superstar Simpson in his infamous criminal trial for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and his friend, Ron Goldman, Weitzman was a powerhouse among the sharp elbows of Hollywood lawyers. Unlike many other members of his upper echelon in his profession, Weitzman has worked on both sides of the Hollywood power play. Having served as executive vice president of corporate operations for Universal Studios from 1995 to 1998, the 1965 USC Law Center graduate also taught his alma mater for over a decade.
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However, it was in the often relentless service of his clients that the quick-witted and strategic Weitzman made his mark in legal circles.
After the death of the King of Pop in 2009, Weitzman worked with fellow lawyer John Branca and recording director John McClain to transform Jackson’s estate from the deepest of red. Within a few years, the field was flourishing, in large part thanks to the $ 750 million sale of the artist’s lucrative 50% stake in Sony / ATV Music Publishing to Sony Corp that Weitzman helped orchestrate.
As recently as last year, Weitzman continued to pilot the Polar the singer’s flag by taking over Jackson’s estate in his $ 100 million battle against HBO Leaving Neverland documentary and its allegations of sexual misconduct by the artist with young boys. By withdrawing a decades-old contract between Jackson and the premium cable operator on a concert film, Weitzman was able to convince the courts to take the case to arbitration, even after an appeal from HBO.
A two-time recipient of the Jerry Geisler Memorial Award as Outstanding Los Angeles County Trial Lawyer, Weitzman is survived by his wife Margaret and two sons.