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Blood and justice on the sunset strip by peter l knecht book in progress

IN THE SPRING OF 1998, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY JAMES E. SILVERSTEIN SUFFERED A HORRIFIC, NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE THAT ADDED NEW MEANING TO THE PHRASE “CUTTHROAT LAWYER.” AT HIS HOME IN THE HOLLYWOOD HILLS, KNECHT HAD HIS THROAT SLIT FROM EAR TO EAR, IRONICALLY FALLING VICTIM TO THE KINDS OF MEN WHOSE RIGHTS HE OFTEN UPHELD IN COURT.

After saving the lives of his wife and mother by not allowing the assailants to enter his home, Knecht was left to rise from a pool of his own blood into a life of chastened values.  It is from that humbling vantage that he now looks back on a storied legal career that has spanned four tumultuous decades in Los Angeles.

In Blood and Justice on the Sunset Strip, Knecht will perform his own impassioned cross-examination as he recounts those harrowing events, as well as many of the hard-won cases that have made him a legend in the Hollywood legal community.  According to the author, “This book is about the law as it’s really practiced in LA, where man’s inhumanity to man is writ large in every tragic detail of otherwise invisible cases — where justice is in short supply and anything but impartial, whether the defendants are hardcore criminals or paparazzi-stalked celebrities.” As a young lawyer, his liberal idealism was founded on lessons learned from his Austrian parents and their experience as Jews persecuted during the Holocaust.  Knecht will recall his eye-opening initiation as a prosecutor, and how he established his own high volume criminal defense practice in 1966 under the tutelage of LA’s veteran celebrity attorney Harry Weiss.

With his shoot-from-the-hip ‘Mike Hammer’ style of lawyering, Knecht has sensational tales to tell, with a client base that has featured among others: Peter Fonda, John Barrymore Jr., Sal Mineo, Dennis Hopper, David Crosby, Charles Bronson, Robert Blake, Ryan O’Neal, John Phillips, Tom Sizemore, Andy Garcia, Robert Downey Jr., and two Hollywood madams, Heidi Fleiss (the “Hollywood Madam”) and Elizabeth Adams (the “Beverly Hills Madam”).  Among the revelations the book will offer are the identities of a number of prominent international figures who appear as clients in the ‘black books’ of Elizabeth Adams – who was not only a madam but served for twenty years as a highly valued informant for the intelligence division of the LAPD, with Knecht representing her.

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Feb 18, 2022
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