Due to her representation of Lyle and Erik Menéndez, Leslie Abramson established a reputation in the legal community and gained widespread recognition. People interested in the Jose and Kitty Menendez murder case from the 1990s want to learn more about the 79-year-old lawyer’s early years.
Is Leslie still in contact with the Menendez brothers? Here’s what we’ve discovered about Leslie.
What Is Leslie Abramson Doing Today? Is She Still Practicing Law?
After representing the Menendez brothers, Leslie Abramson was subject to a State Bar of California inquiry for alleged evidence tampering in connection with the Menendez siblings’ case. The attorney assured The Washington Post that she did nothing illegal, “I’ve been a member of the bar for 27 years. If they want to investigate, I welcome that.”
Leslie persisted despite the accusations and the possibility of disbarment to advance her law profession. Due to a lack of evidence, the investigation into her was subsequently closed. In 1997, Leslie took advantage of the situation and published her memoir, The Defense Is Ready: Life In The Trenches Of Criminal Law, which provided readers with an inside look at her career in the legal field and what it was truly like to work on such complex cases.
Her subsequent prominent case involved defending music producer and alleged killer Phil Spector in 2004, taking over for Robert Shapiro. Conflicts caused her to leave Spector’s legal defense quickly, and he was ultimately found guilty of murder.
However, Leslie has stopped practicing law.
Since leaving the legal profession, Leslie has watched as both fictional and documentary-style series have revisited the Menendez case. Leslie had little to say about Law & Order when she was portrayed in it in 2017, telling TheWrap, “I have nothing to say. Absolutely nothing. Goodbye,” she said, before adding that she wasn’t going to watch the show.
Leslie did not take part in the show in any manner, but showrunner René Balcer added to EW that “she’s having a nice life, a nice retirement.”
During the 1993 trial of Lyle and Erik Menendez, Leslie was the charismatic, controversial, larger-than-life star attorney who fought vehemently for her two clients. She claimed the murder of their parents was motivated by the Menendez brothers’ childhood of physical and sexual abuse and therefore it was an act of self-defense.
Erik and Lyle Menendez’s parents were fatally shot in their Beverly Hills home in 1989. The Menendez brothers were found guilty of first-degree murder in 1996 following two high-profile trials. The brothers are still in prison today with no hope of parole.
Is Leslie Abramson Still In Contact With Menendez Brothers?
Since her retirement, Leslie Abramson hasn’t appeared much in the limelight. It is unclear if Leslie is still in contact with the Menendez brothers. Leslie told The Washington Post at the time of the 1996 retrial while commenting on the Menendez brothers, she said, “I’ve represented people charged with murder for 27 years, and these guys just don’t measure up to anybody else I’ve ever represented. These are not murderers. These are troubled kids in a very difficult and grotesque home environment, and they cracked.”
Leslie also addressed their verdict and asserted that the punishment was far too extreme for the crime. “It’s a grotesquely disproportionate verdict and punishment for what happened here,” she said. “When children kill their parents, something is wrong in that family. It’s a different moral mix for a sexual predators, those who kill strangers. They really are a scourge of society. . . . This is a different degree of moral awfulness.”
Leslie Abramson Relationship With Erik Menendez
Other than the attorney-client relationship between Leslie Abramson it is not clear what other relationship did the two establish. Leslie scored an unlikely victory when she persuaded some jurors to vote “not guilty” for her client, Erik, despite his confession he shot his parents to death. That resulted in a hung jury and a mistrial in 1994.
The brothers were convicted of capital murder in their second trial, but Abramson saved Erik from the death penalty by persuading the jury to recommend a sentence of life without parole.
However, she did help Betty Oldfield a grandmother and dedicated community volunteer to establish a relationship with Erik. She said she spoke to Erik Menendez for the first time shortly after the mistrial. Oldfield was attending a dinner held by defense attorney Leslie Abramson. The attorney had arranged for Erik Menendez to call from jail during the dinner to thank some of the more sympathetic jurors.
The friendship developed easily from there, Betty said, and Erik Menendez continued to call her. The two have now maintained this “very fulfilling” relationship for more than 20 years. Betty said of Erik, “He is so busy. He is taking college courses,” she said. “He has championed causes for elderly and ADA inmates.”
She refused to discuss the private correspondence’s contents but said that Erik Menendez’s signature revealed a softer side and their sincere friendship. Erik Menendez has written that Betty is his “angel on Earth.”
Is Leslie Abramson Still Married?
No, Leslie Abramson is single since she became a widow to her second husband Tim Rutten. They were separated at the time of Tim’s death. Tim died in September 2022. A deep thinker with a puckish sense of humor, Tim was found dead after falling at his Alhambra home, according to Leslie. He was 72.
Leslie effectively transitioned between roles within The Times’ newsroom throughout the course of a 40-year career, serving as city bureau chief, metro reporter, editorial writer, assistant national editor, book reviewer, and columnist. He was a member of the reporting team for The Times that won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Northridge earthquake in 1994.
Tim used his “Regarding Media” column to untangle the complexities of L.A., the nation’s culture wars, and the eccentricities of media stars. He castigated news organizations for soft-pedaling the horrors of war by refusing to publish the chilling photos of the torture that unfolded at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. He proposed that the deadliest weapon created by humankind wasn’t the nuclear bomb but the assault rifle and that the Kobe Bryant rape case in Colorado underscored the nation’s two-tier system of justice — one for celebrities and the other for the rest of us.
Before Tim, Leslie was married once before to a pharmacist. She and her first husband divorced in 1969.
Does Leslie Abramson Have Kids?
Leslie Abramson has two kids; a daughter named Laine Abramson and an adopted son named Aidan Conor Rutten. Her adopted son is reportedly 8 years old.
Laine was born in September 1965. So, in 2022, she turned 57 years old.
How Much Is Leslie Abramson Net Worth?
In 2023, Leslie Abramson’s net worth is likely above $1 million. She received her undergraduate degree from Queens College and her Juris Doctor from the UCLA School of Law in 1969. Abramson was admitted to the California State Bar in 1970. She began her career and spent six years working for the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office.
In 1976, Abramson established a solo practice as a defense lawyer. She acquired the nickname “a 4-foot-11, fire-eating, mud-slinging, nuclear-strength pain in the legal butt.” She excelled in her position and twice received the L.A. Criminal Courts Bar Association’s Trial Lawyer of the Year award.