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BuzzThe Life and Art of Busby Berkeley$
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Jeffrey Spivak

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780813126432

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813126432.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM KENTUCKY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.kentucky.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The University Press of Kentucky, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in KSO for personal use.date: 09 April 2020

The Cancerous Tire

The Cancerous Tire

(p.123) 6 The Cancerous Tire

Jeffrey Spivak

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter describes a car accident involving Buzz Berkeley, when his convertible car blew a front tire on the Roosevelt Highway near the Santa Monica Canyon. This led to the deaths of Ada von Bresen, William von Briesen, and Peggy Daley. Buzz was charged with manslaughter, that was later upgraded to second-degree murder due to William Hudson's testimony that Buzz was intoxicated during the accident. Warner Brothers hired Jerry Giesler, who just happened to be one of the shrewdest defense attorneys in the state, in order to protect their interests. Giesler's tactic was simple and profound: blame the front left tire for the accident. On Christmas Eve 1935, a hung jury voted ten to two for acquittal. Buzz and Giesler regarded the verdict as a moral victory feeling that the judge's harsh treatment of the defense witnesses backfired with many jurors. And after two retrials, Buzz Berkeley was finally acquitted.

Keywords:   Jerry Giesler, Buzz Berkeley, car accident, Warner Brothers, William von Briesen, William A. Hudson, Santa Monica Canyon, Roosevelt Highway

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