It's October 15, 2012 and Los Angeles County criminal defense attorney Marcus Musante is yet again burning the midnight oil. Mr. Musante is midway through a trial involving the unlawful brandishing of a weapon (see Brandishing a Weapon, Gun or Firearm | California Penal Code 417 PC) and impersonation of a police officer (see California “False Personation / Impersonation” Laws; Penal Code 529 PC).
The charges in the case are nothing new to Mr. Musante, who has handled much riskier and higher-profile trials ranging from murder to torture. However, due to the unique circumstances of his client (Mr. Bhatti), the consequences surrounding a potential guilty verdict go well beyond any time spent in jail. As an immigrant from Pakistan, Mr. Bhatti is facing deportation from the land that he so dearly loves.
To make matters worse, the evidence in the case against Mr. Bhatti (including an eye-witness account) appears to be overwhelming—-compelling most criminal defense attorneys to waive the white flag quite some time ago and thereby tell their client to “take a deal.” Fortunately for Mr. Bhatti, Marcus Musante is not like most criminal defense attorneys.
In fact, on this late Monday night, Mr. Musante is brilliantly resolving one of the most puzzling and potentially perilous dilemmas in the case—the admissibility of a 911 tape that perhaps holds the key to Mr. Bhatti's exoneration. Arming himself with the necessary case law and courtroom stratagems, Mr. Musante is fully ready the following morning to tackle the admissibility of the tape while chewing into the Prosecution's case like a cheetah does red meat.
48 hours later, the jury hands down its verdict—“NOT GUILTY” on both counts. Mr. Bhatti's serendipitous scream of “GOD BLESS AMERICA” soon thereafter fills the four corners of the courtroom.
“He's a wonderful defense attorney, he's aggressive, very technical, knows the law very well, and an excellent human being,” Mr. Bhatti later describes Mr. Musante following the victory.
For Mr. Bhatti, justice has been served. For Marcus Musante, it's simply another day at work.