Garrido's Lawyer Speaks - NBC Bay Area

Garrido's Lawyer Speaks

Public defender Susan Gellman comments on 'sensitive nature' of case



    Garrido's Lawyer Speaks
    Phillip Garrido is seen with his court appointed attorney, Susan Gellman, during his arraignment on 29 felony counts stemming from the abduction of Jaycee Dugard,11, in 1991, in the El Dorado Superior Court in Placerville, Calif., Friday, Aug. 28, 2009. Garrido pleaded not guilty on charges including forcible abduction, rape, sexual assault and false imprisonment.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

    Phillip Garrido's attorney has broken her silence, outlining the sensitive nature of the case and her client's communication with KCRA television in Sacramento.

    Public Defender Susan Gellman had so far refused all requests for interviews about a case that's drawn worldwide attention.

    Her client is accused of kidnapping Jaycee Dugard from her home near Lake Tahoe in 1991, then keeping her in a backyard compound and fathering her two children.

    Garrido called KCRA shortly after his arrest, and he sent a letter to the station this week expressing concern over Dugard's legal representation.

    "Well, we've talked about this somewhat, and from things that you know on the Internet and conversations that you've had with him a while ago, there are some very sensitive issues in this case and those need to be explored, and those are going to take some time. We are really very early in the case, and at this point, it's just ... not a good idea for anybody to speak with him. It's not really -- it's not right," Gellman said.

    Garrido alleged in a letter postmarked Sept. 29 that Dugard's civil rights have been violated and asked KCRA 3's Walt Gray to contact Dugard at the "earliest possible date."

    He remains in custody at the El Dorado County Jail in Placerville as he and wife Nancy Garrido await trial on multiple charges each. They've pleaded not guilty.

    In the jailhouse letter, Garrido claimed Dugard's "free speach [sic] rights are being violated."

    He also alleged Dugard was "repeatedly denied access to have an attorney present during questioning. Over and over she clearly expressed this request from the beginning to the conclusion of questioning."

    "Please concider [sic] this request to contact her at your earliest possible date," Garrido wrote.

    Jim Maddock, a former agent in charge of the FBI office in Sacramento, questions what Garrido's motives are.

    During his tenture, Maddock led several high-profile investigations, including the FBI's investigation into Yosemite murderer Cary Stayner.

    The former agent said he believes Garrido's letter to KCRA  was "written with a purpose, and the purpose to me is just to engender sympathy for himself and ultimately to try to get that sort of sympathetic portrayal of himself out in public, so that when the trial comes, it will put himself in the best possible light."

    The case broke in late August after Garrido was spotted with two children as he tried to enter the University of California, Berkeley, campus to hand out religious literature. The officers said he was acting suspiciously toward the children. They questioned him and did a background check, determining he was a parolee, and informed his parole officer.

    Garrido was ordered to appear for a parole meeting and arrived with Dugard, his wife and two children. During questioning, corrections officials said he admitted kidnapping Dugard.

    Bail for Phillip Garrido is set at $30 million, but because of a parole hold, he is not eligible for release, El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson said.

    Nancy Garrido is being held without bail.

    Both are due back in court for an Oct. 29 hearing.

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