Howard Weitzman, a Hollywood lawyer whose clients included celebrities Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber and OJ Simpson, died of cancer on Sunday. He was 81 years old.
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Weitzman died at his home in Pacific Palisades, Calif., The Los Angeles Times reported.
Weitzman was best known for defending Jackson and his estate. His client list also included almost every studio and major talent agency, as well as Hugh Grant, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Britney Spears and Sean “Diddy” Combs, the newspaper reported.
“Howard’s wit, charm and brilliant legal wit is legendary, and he will be sorely missed,” Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump LLP said in a statement, the Santa Monica law firm he co-founded. in 2006. “RIP Howard, you will always be a giant.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter.
Weitzman initially told media that Simpson was on a flight to Chicago at the time of the murders, then withdrew from the case, citing a heavy workload, the website reported.
Weitzman has defended Jackson and his estate against claims by creditors and accusations of pedophilia, The Times reported. After Jackson’s death in 2009, Weitzman filed a lawsuit against Lloyd’s of London in a claim against an insurance policy covering the pop star’s “This Is It” concert tour, according to the newspaper.
“It’s been a real roller coaster ride,” Weitzman told The Hollywood Reporter in 2010. “Not a week goes by where something strange doesn’t happen. People claiming to be Michael’s wife or child are common. “
The case was settled in 2014 for an undisclosed amount.
“We are heartbroken by the passing of our friend and colleague Howard Weitzman,” John McClain, John Branca and Jackson’s estate said in a statement. “Howard has always been a fierce fighter for just causes and fought fiercely for Michael during his lifetime and beyond.
Weitzman represented Bieber in his case against Mariah Yeater, who accused the singer of fathering her child in 2011, the Times reported. The trial was eventually dropped.
According to the Times, Weitzman has been lead counsel in more than 300 civil and criminal jury trials and has represented more than 1,000 individuals and companies in areas such as intellectual property, entertainment family law and estates.
Weitzman was born in Los Angeles on September 21, 1939. His first job was working in his parents’ grocery store, the Times reported. He graduated from the Gould School of Law at the University of Southern California in 1965, the newspaper reported.
Weitzman taught advocacy at USC Law School for 12 years, according to the Times. He has also taught at Harvard University, Georgetown University Law Center, and UCLA.