SHERMAN, Texas (CN) - Police can acquire taped conversations between a Charles Manson follower and his lawyer because the cult member waived privilege, a federal judge ruled.
While defending Charles "Tex" Watson on charges over the so-called Tate-LaBianca murders in 1969, attorney Bill Boyd recorded eight hours of conversations with Watson.
After Boyd died in August 2009, his firm, Boyd Veigel P.C., filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Nearly three years later, the Los Angeles Police Department sought access to the tapes.
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, LAPD police chief Charlie Beck expressed his department's desire to examine the recordings for possible information regarding additional unsolved murders carried out by Manson followers.
As trustee of the firm's estate, Linda Payne persuaded Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brenda Rhoades in May 2012 to let her release the tapes.
Rhoades found that Watson had waived his attorney-client privilege when he consented to sell copies of the tapes to Chaplain Ray Hoekstra in 1976 for a payment of $49,000 toward his outstanding legal fees.
Hoekstra went on to write, "Will You Die for Me? The Man Who Killed for Charles Manson Tells His Own Story."
Watson quickly filed a pro se motion to limit the LAPD's tape access. He said the department should listen to the tapes in the presence of Payne, and afterward return the tapes to his current attorney, Kendrick Jan.
On June 12, Watson appealed the Rhoades order. The bankruptcy court shot down his motion the next day.
U.S. District Judge Richard Schell affirmed the bankruptcy court's ruling Sunday.
The eight-page ruling declines to address all of the arguments Watson raised on appeal because the convicted mass murderer failed to advance many of the points in bankruptcy court.
Watson, who converted to Christianity in 1975 and became an ordained minister in 1983, remains incarcerated at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, Calif., where he has consistently been denied parole.
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