Leo Branton Jr., who helped defend radical Angela Davis in 1972 murder trial, dies at 91

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.


Information from: Los Angeles Times,