Angela Davis Lawyer Leo Branton Jr. Dies at 91

The civil rights lawyer also helped Nat King Cole integrate a wealthy Los Angeles neighborhood.

Posted: 04/26/2013 03:06 PM EDT
Angela Davis Lawyer Leo Branton Jr. Dies at 91

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Leo Branton Jr., a lawyer who helped successfully defend radical Angela Davis in a sensational 1972 murder case, has died. He was 91.

His son, Tony Nicholas, tells the Los Angeles Times that Branton died on April 19 in Los Angeles.

The Times says Branton also helped singer Nat King Cole integrate a wealthy Los Angeles neighborhood, won police misconduct cases and defended Communists in the McCarthy era.

He was co-lead counsel at the trial of Davis, who faced a potential death penalty because a gun registered in her name was linked to the murder of a Marin County judge.

Davis, who was black, won acquittal from an all-white jury.

Davis tells the Times that Branton's brilliant closing argument had a profound impact on the jury.

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(Photo: AP Photo/Robert W. Klein)

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