Trials & Litigation

$838K murder defense bill in Arias case pits public right to know against attorney-client privilege

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So far, the taxpayers of Maricopa County, Ariz., have spent over $838,000 to defend Jodi Arias in a high-profile capital murder case and they likely will be on the hook for over $1 million by the time the legal battle concludes.

Under state law, the public has a right to know at least some of the details of such legal bills, Judge Joseph Welty ruled Thursday, saying that hourly rates and total hours billed, among other information, must be disclosed,according to HTN and KNXV.

Defense lawyers have argued that disclosing bill details threatens their client’s right to a fair trial and is protected by attorney-client privilege. Welty denied their request for a protective order concerning legal billing records.

Arias is accused of killing Travis Alexander at his home in Phoenix in 2008. She at first said she had nothing to with his slaying, then claimed self-defense. Lurid details and graphic evidence in the case, in which Arias is accused of slaying her lover out of jealousy over another woman, have riveted public attention.

A camera found in a washing machine contained time-stamped photos that place Arias, in the nude, in Alexander’s home at the time of the crime, and show Alexander alive in the shower and then dead in the bathroom, reports the New York Daily News.

An Associated Press article provides more details about the ongoing trial.

Updated at 4:49 p.m. to include information from New York Daily News article.

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