Lawyer defended Marcos in isle courts


POSTED: Wednesday, October 28, 2009

An Oklahoma lawyer who appeared in Honolulu courts over the past several years representing former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos has died.

James P. Linn, 83, died Saturday in Oklahoma City, where he practiced law for more than 50 years. He had represented celebrity clients in courtrooms across the country, including rock star David Bowie, actor Michael Douglas and Hilton Hotels executive Barron Hilton.

Linn represented the Marcos family in state court in a case brought by a Filipino locksmith and amateur treasure hunter who claimed the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos stole a golden Buddha statue and 17 gold bars from him. A state jury awarded the claimant a $40 billion judgment, later reversed by the Hawaii Supreme Court.

“;He was a dramatic, fiery attorney,”; said Honolulu attorney Sherry Broder, who has pursued reparations from the Marcos family for 9,500 Philippine human rights victims who saw little money although they won a $2 billion judgment from a Honolulu jury. The amount was reduced in a $150 million settlement between the two sides.

In a November 2000 appearance in U.S. District Court here, Linn argued that Imelda Marcos was unable to pay. He said she and her children were committed to paying and would have done so if the Philippine government had not put a stop to the transfer of funds. He said her family was living on money given to her by relatives and friends; “;they're not living on money taken from this judgment.”;

Broder said, “;He was a dedicated advocate for Imelda Marcos. He traveled to the Philippines numerous times. He stuck with her all these years.”;

Honolulu attorney John Edmunds said “;Jimmy was a tough guy”; whom he opposed in a personal injury lawsuit. “;We fought vigorously as opponents ... then he asked me to join him on a case here,”; a still-pending malpractice suit. “;He was well known for his work before juries. He was a tough guy. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge”; in World War II.

Linn met Imelda Marcos during a 1990 trial in New York when he represented two of her co-defendants in a fraud trial, accused of helping the Marcoses hide their ownership of property purchased with Philippine government money, according to an account in the Oklahoman, an Oklahoma City newspaper.

Linn is survived by sons Jim Linn II and Rex Linn, an actor who plays a police detective on the TV show “;CSI: Miami,”; and a daughter, Rhonda Bayless.