By Kyle Swenson
LOS ANGELES (Washington Post) — It was November 2003. Mark Geragos was earning a worldwide rep for defending the most reviled man in America inside a courtroom in Modesto, Calif., when his beeper started screaming.
The business at hand was serious enough without digital distractions.
That April, the murdered remains of a missing 27-year-old pregnant woman named Laci Peterson splashed ashore on San Francisco Bay. Police charged the victim’s husband, Scott Peterson, a philandering fertilizer salesman who authorities said killed his wife and unborn son. Most legal experts and TV pundits said the evidence stacked against Peterson made an acquittal a long shot — an opinion echoed by Geragos on cable TV, until the mustachioed and media-savvy Los Angeles attorney decided to represent him.
But as he was in court with Peterson, his pager kept going off. The calls were to alert the attorney that another client, pop star Michael Jackson, had just been served search warrants at his Neverland Ranch. Two days later, Geragos walked Jackson into a police station in Santa Barbara, Calif., where he was charged with child molestation.
Geragos was suddenly thrust front and center in the country’s two most high-profile criminal cases. And his beeper did not shut up. Over a 24-hour period that week, his pager buzzed 700 times, Geragos told the New York Times.