Demopolis attorney has ties to Jackson trial

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 16, 2005

DEMOPOLIS-All over the nation, including Marengo County, people tuned in to the Michael Jackson trial with great interest. However, none were likely more interested than Demopolis attorney Barrown Lankster. Lankster had a special interest in the case, not because a major celebrity was in court, but because of a family friendship with defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr.

Lankster has known Mesereau for several years as a good man and a good attorney whose clients always come first. Lankster said Mesereau was very active in the community and always willing to lend a hand.

“Tom does a lot of work for free in Los Angeles,” Lankster said. “He is very active and helpful especially in the African American community. He has a free clinic where he provides free legal consultation at an African Episcopal Church there.”

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Lankster said his generosity has even brought him to Alabama. Years ago Mesereau came to Alabama where he worked pro bono to acquit a 21-year-old homeless man regarding the murder of a beauty queen.

The Lankster’s and Mesereau have become well acquainted over the years. Mesereau was even a guest at their 1999 family reunion in California. Lanskter said his brother Saul was actually with Lankster the first time the Jackson team requested his services.

“My brother was actually with him the first time they called to ask him to represent Jackson,” Lankster said. “He had to decline the offer at the time because he was busy representing Robert Blake at the time.”

However, things did not work out between Mesereau and Blake freeing him up to defend Jackson. Towards the end of the trial it became clear a verdict of innocent would likely be handed down. Lankster said before the decision was released his brother called Mesereau to congratulate him. However, Mesereau said he would not be satisfied until he heard it from the jury.

“My brother actually called him to congratulate him on getting Jackson acquitted of all charges before the jury had given their verdict,” Lankster said. “Tom said he did not count his chickens before they hatched though.”

For many lawyers a landmark win such as this would give them all the reason they would need to be arrogant. However, Lankster said that is not Mersereau’s style. He said Mesereau has gone to the finest schools including Harvard and studies in England, but he has always said he was nothing unless he could get the desired results for his client.

“He always said it does not matter where he went to school,” Lankster said. “He is not the kind of person who likes to brag.

He said the most important thing for him is to get the best deal for his client.”

Lankster said many people see lawyers defend celebrities and forget that they are people too. He said once you get to know Mesereau he is just like anyone else. He cares about his fellow man and wanted to do his part to make the world a better place.

“A lot of people see him on television and do not know him personally,” Lankster said. “He is a very articulate, very caring person.”

Sa with any case there are those who disagree with the verdict. Lankster advised them to believe in the American legal system.

“We have to have faith in the system,” Lankster said. “We have to have faith that the men and women on the jury did what they felt was right. They were the ones who heard all the evidence and testimony. We just have to have faith in the system.”