Ill. Lawyer Accuses Client of Extortion
CHICAGO (AP) _ One of four men wrongfully convicted of the 1986 rape and slaying of a medical student has been arrested after a lawyer who had helped clear him accused him of trying to extort money from her.
Kathleen Zellner claims Marcellius Bradford secretly tape-recorded a conversation they had about getting a new lawyer, then tried to sell her the tape for $3,000.
Bradford apparently thought the tape would embarrass her, Zellner said.
Medical student Lori Roscetti, 23, was abducted on Chicago’s West Side as she drove home from studying. She was taken to a remote railroad trestle where she was sexually assaulted, kicked and bludgeoned to death.
DNA evidence cleared Bradford, Omar Saunders, Larry Ollins and his cousin Calvin Ollins of involvement in the crime, but not until they had served years in prison. Saunders and the cousins were released in December 2001. Bradford had been released in 1992. Two other suspects were charged in the killing in February.
The four men have a civil rights lawsuit pending against police, prosecutors, a crime lab worker and others involved in convicting them. But Bradford, Saunders and Larry Ollins apparently decided to switch lawyers.
On the tape, Zellner said, she told the three that because of her extensive knowledge of the case, they would be fools to get another lawyer.
Zellner said that after Bradford offered to sell her the tape, she contacted the Cook County prosecutor’s office, then met Monday with him while wearing a hidden microphone. That conversation was monitored by police and prosecutors, Zellner said, and Bradford, 32, was arrested afterward.
``I don’t care if they switch attorneys,″ Zellner said. ``But I am not going to put up with someone trying to blackmail me.″
The fourth man, Calvin Ollins, is still Zellner’s client and said his relationship with her remains good.
Chicago police could not confirm the charges against Bradford early Tuesday. A message left with the Cook County prosecutor’s office was not immediately returned.