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Mark John Geragos
October 5, 1957
|Alma mater||Haverford College|
Loyola Marymount University
|Occupation||Criminal defense lawyer|
|Website||Geragos & Geragos|
Geragos was born in Los Angeles, California, where he attended Flintridge Preparatory School in La Cañada, graduating with honors. He earned his bachelor's degree from Haverford College, in 1979, double-majoring in anthropology and sociology, then his Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Loyola Law School at the Loyola Marymount University in 1982. He was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1983.
An Armenian-American, Geragos maintains a close relationship with the Armenian community. He has earned praise from the Armenian National Committee of America, and serves on the Advisory Committee of Birthright Armenia, as the chairman of Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry, and also is involved with the Armenian religious community. He has been a member of the Armenia Fund International Board of Trustees since 2006.
Geragos is the managing partner for the law firm of Geragos & Geragos, where he oversees criminal defense and civil litigation. He was one of the lead lawyers in two groundbreaking federal class action lawsuits against New York Life Insurance and AXA, for insurance policies issued in the early 20th century during the time of the Armenian Genocide of more than 1.5 million Armenians. The two cases settled for over $37.5 million, in 2004 and 2005. In 2009, a lawsuit against three German insurance companies was rejected by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, on the basis that the U.S. government does not legally recognize the Armenian Genocide.
The firm's office is located on Figueroa Street in Downtown Los Angeles in a former Los Angeles Fire Department fire station, Engine Company No. 28, alongside Kabateck LLP. The 1912 building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places listings in Los Angeles and is jointly owned by Geragos and his investment partner, attorney Brian S. Kabateck, since 2007, among other joint acquisitions; the partners have litigated together and also, in recent years, against one another over their mutual investments.
Geragos first garnered national attention when he began representing convicted Whitewater figure Susan McDougal, the former business partner of former President Bill Clinton. Geragos secured a presidential pardon for McDougal on January 20, 2001. Geragos also represented McDougal in a 12-count embezzlement trial in Los Angeles in which the jury returned a not-guilty verdict.
He has since represented many notable clients, including Gary Condit; suspended NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield; Scott Peterson, who was sentenced to death; Scott Barney; Roger Clinton Jr.; Lee Tamahori; Kesha, briefly, in her lawsuit against Dr. Luke, until May 2016; Clare Bronfman; and, as of 2019, Colin Kaepernick. Other notable clients include:
- Winona Ryder – In December 2002, Geragos defended Academy Award-nominated actress Winona Ryder on charges of stealing more than $5,500 worth of merchandise from a Beverly Hills, California store in 2001. She was sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to undergo psychological and drug counseling.
- Michael Jackson – In the early stages of the Michael Jackson molestation case, Geragos simultaneously handled that case as well as Scott Peterson's case, two of the best-known U.S. trials at that time. Geragos's "crushingly busy calendar" in the courtroom earned him a rebuke by a judge in an embezzlement case Geragos was also representing. On April 26, 2004, Jackson removed Geragos as his attorney, replacing him with Thomas Mesereau. In a public statement provided by his spokesperson, Raymone Bain, Jackson stated, "It is imperative that I have the full attention of those who are representing me. My life is at stake..." suggesting that Geragos may not have had enough time to handle his case because of his workload. Geragos later said that he was dismayed to see Jackson climb atop an SUV to the cheers of his fans after leaving the Santa Barbara County, California courthouse in January 2004, when he was first arraigned on the initial complaint. Geragos's co-counsel, Benjamin Brafman, also expressed disapproval of Jackson's actions. "Although [in January] the lawyers explained the behavior as 'Michael being Michael'," The New York Times reported, "they are said to have privately expressed consternation at the display of frivolity in the face of serious charges."
- Roger Clinton Jr. – Geragos won dismissal of all alcohol-related charges against former President Clinton's brother.
- Carradine family – He assisted the family of actor David Carradine in the aftermath of his accidental death. Geragos had previously represented a class of plaintiffs that had included actor Keith Carradine, his spouse, actress Hayley DuMond, attorney Stephen Kolodny, and designer Donna Dubrow in a class-action lawsuit related to private investigator Anthony Pellicano's illegal wiretapping conspiracy and subsequent conviction.
- Greg Anderson – In 2006, Geragos represented Anderson, who was the personal trainer of Barry Bonds. On July 5, 2006, Anderson was found in contempt of court by U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who jailed Anderson for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury investigating perjury accusations against Bonds. Geragos announced that he would file an appeal based on his assertion that the subpoena to testify violated Anderson's July 2005 plea bargain agreement in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative case. Anderson was to be held until he agreed to testify or the grand jury's term expired. Geragos has said his client would not testify. The grand jury expired on July 20, 2006, and Anderson was released from prison two weeks later. On August 28, 2006, Anderson was again found in contempt of court for refusing to testify before a newly convened grand jury and sentenced to prison. Anderson was freed on October 5, 2006 after an order from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the trial judge had committed legal errors. Anderson was sent back to jail on November 16, 2006.
- Cameron Brown – He was the attorney for Brown, who was charged with murdering his four-year-old daughter by throwing her off a Rancho Palos Verdes cliff. The twelve-week trial ended in August 2006 without a verdict. The jury deliberated for over nine days but was hopelessly deadlocked and a mistrial was declared by Judge Mark Arnold of the Torrance Superior Court. The case was retried in the fall of 2009 by an associate at Geragos's firm. The second trial also ended with a hung jury. A third trial saw him convicted.
- Amphit Dhaliwal and Kulbir Dhaliwal – In December 2007, the two survivors of the tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo, hired Geragos to represent them against potential criminal charges, and in anticipation of filing a lawsuit against the zoo. Despite pressure from city officials, the local police inspector made it clear that there were no grounds for filing criminal charges against the Dhaliwal brothers related to the tiger attack. Geragos filed a federal suit against the Zoo and the City of San Francisco for violation of the Dhaliwal brothers' civil rights, including the Dhaliwals' being subject to search and seizure without probable cause, and for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Geragos settled the civil suit in the early phase of the court process for $900,000.
- Kazuyoshi Miura – In 2008, he joined the defense of Japanese businessman Miura, who committed suicide before his trial.
- Chris Brown – Geragos represented Brown, who pleaded guilty to the assault of his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. On February 8, 2009 he brought Chris Brown to surrender to the LAPD. Later, Brown was arrested, and his court date was set to be on March 5, 2009. Geragos and Brown attended the court date, but did not plea and asked for arraignment until the next court date, April 6, 2009. On June 22, 2009, Brown pleaded guilty to one count of felony assault and was sentenced to 5 years' probation and 6 months' community service.
- Jussie Smollett – He represented Smollett in the 2019 alleged false police report. Geragos was sued, along with another member of Smollett's legal team, on April 23, 2019, under claims of defamation and false light by the two individuals originally arrested in connection with an alleged attack on the actor.
Geragos occasionally appears as both guest and legal commentator on TV. He has appeared on the Today show, Good Morning America, 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper 360°, On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren, and has appeared a number of times on Larry King Live, including its 20th-anniversary show. Geragos was employed by CNN in a contributor role until March 25, 2019, when he was reportedly implicated in an alleged scheme with attorney Michael Avenatti to extort more than $20 million from Nike, Inc.
Geragos has made multiple appearances on the Adam Carolla Show since 2013, usually giving commentary on whatever is the top legal issue in pop culture. He guest-hosted for Carolla in April 2014 while Carolla was shooting his independent feature film Road Hard. Geragos filled in for Dr. Drew Pinsky and co-hosted with Carolla in March 2015 on The Adam and Dr. Drew Show, another podcast that airs on Carolla's Carolla Digital Network.
In June 2015, it was announced that Geragos would co-host a podcast with Carolla that would be a part of Carolla Digital. The show is called Reasonable Doubt and features Carolla and Geragos discussing issues in society including the law, from Geragos's viewpoint as a civil and criminal defense attorney. The show debuted on July 25, 2015, and new episodes debut every Saturday.
Geragos was an executive producer for the 2016 ABC network television series Notorious, which was inspired by the working relationship between Geragos and Larry King Live producer Wendy Walker. The show was cancelled after one season.
- 1999 – Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Los Angeles Criminal Courts Bar Association
- 1999 – Jerry Giesler Memorial Award for Trial Skills, Judgement & Dedication
- 2001 – Humanitarian of the Year by the Mexican American Grocers Association
- 2004 – Professional of the Year by the Armenian Professional Society
- 2005 – Consumer Attorney of the Year by the Consumer Attorneys of California
- 2006 – Attorney of the Year by the California Lawyer magazine
- According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. Searchable at http://www.familytreelegends.com/records/39461
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- "$20M Settlement For Armenians". Cbsnews.com. 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2013-07-05.
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- Birthright Armenia – Mark Geragos Archived October 15, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
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- "''Armenian Daily'', "French Insurance Co. Agrees To Pay $17 Million To Genocide Heirs," October 6, 2005". Armeniainfo.am. Retrieved 2013-07-05.
- "Federal appeals court rejects Armenian genocide case". Los Angeles Times. 2009-08-21. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
- "LA Attys Kabateck, Geragos Back In Court Over Private Jet", Law360.org, January 22, 2018. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
- King of the Tabloid Case Archived September 10, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
- "Susan McDougal Speaking Out — Finally". Cbsnews.com. Retrieved 2013-07-05.
- "Mcdougal Not Guilty In Embezzlement Case". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 2016-05-23.
- Kasindorf, Martin (2005-06-14). "Mesereau new 'go-to guy' for celebs in trouble". Usatoday.com. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- Prosecutors Drop Prostitution Charge Against Bond Director Archived February 13, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- "Clare Bronfman Pleads Guilty in Nxivm ‘Sex Cult’ Case, Leaving Leader to Stand Trial Alone", by Colin Moynihan and Barry Meier The New York Times, April 19, 2019. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "Colin Kaepernick's Attorney Says Maroon 5 Is Crossing the "Picket Line"". Spin. February 1, 2019. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
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- "Prosecutor won't seek jail for Ryder". Archives.cnn.com. Archived from the original on 2009-02-13. Retrieved 2013-07-05. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Susman, Gary (2002-11-11). "''Entertainment Weekly'', "Shopgirl," November 11, 2002". Ew.com. Retrieved 2013-07-05.
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- Judge Grills Geragos On Workload Archived June 2, 2004, at the Wayback Machine
- "Jackson says he 'terminated' lead attorneys". MSNBC. Retrieved 2013-07-05.
- Waxman, Sharon. "Jackson Says 'Full Attention' Of Legal Team Was Lacking." The New York Times, April 27, 2004, p. A-23
- Kasindorf, Martin (2005-06-14). "Mesereau new 'go-to guy' for celebs in trouble". Usatoday.com. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- ["Carradine mystery deepens, family seeks FBI help" By loy Chitsomboon and Bob Tourtellotte (Reuters) – https://www.reuters.com/article/entertainmentNews/idUSTRE5546WC20090607]
- "Keith Carradine Sues Pellicano". Los Angeles Times. 2006-03-25. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
- Waxman, Sharon; Garrett, Diane (29 April 2011). "Anita Busch Deposed as Lawsuits Against Michael Ovitz, Anthony Pellicano Revived (Exclusive)". www.thewrap.com. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
- "sfgate sfgate". Sfgate.com. 2006-07-06. Retrieved 2013-07-05.
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- "sfgate". sfgate. 2006-08-29. Retrieved 2013-07-05.
- Altman, Larry (2009-10-05). "BREAKING NEWS: Jurors deadlocked in Cameron Brown case – Crime & Courts". Insidesocal.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-24. Retrieved 2012-02-10. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Cameron Brown sentenced to life in prison for tossing daughter to death off Rancho Palos Verdes cliff".
- "Japanese businessman accused of conspiring to have wife murdered found dead". The Canadian Press. 2008-10-11. Retrieved 2008-10-11.[dead link]
- "WATCH LIVE: Osundairo brothers say Smollett 'directed every aspect' of attack". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
- Archived September 10, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
- "The Latest: Smollett Attorney: Indictment Is 'Vindictive'". Associated Press. 9 March 2019. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
- "Mark Geragos: Sandusky could have a hung jury – Anderson Cooper 360 - CNN.com Blogs". Ac360.blogs.cnn.com. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
- "CNN Drops Mark Geragos as Contributor After Being Reported as Michael Avenatti's Co-Conspirator". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
- Perez, Chris (2019-03-25). "Lawyer for Michael Jackson, Jussie Smollett named as Avenatti co-conspirator". New York Post. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
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- "Eyewitness to a witch hunt". Seattleweekly.com. Archived from the original on 2016-01-09. Retrieved 2013-07-05. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Awards & Recognitions Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine