Prominent lawyer to defend BART ex-officer

25Jan09

Johannes MehserleFormer BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle, charged with murder in the fatal New Year’s Day shooting of an unarmed rider in Oakland, has hired a prominent defense attorney to represent him.

By hiring Michael Rains and his Pleasant Hill law firm, Mehserle turned to one of the best-known defenders of Bay Area police officers suspected of misconduct. Rains is frequently quoted as a legal expert by media outlets, including The Chronicle, and provided commentary on Mehserle’s case until he was hired.

Among those Rains has represented was one of three former Oakland police officers, known as the Riders, who were tried twice after being accused of crimes including fabricating evidence against suspects. Jurors acquitted the officers of some charges and deadlocked on others, resulting in mistrials.

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