Prominent attorney to defend Mehserle

January 22, 2009 2:42:47 PM PST
A well-known criminal defense attorney is now representing a former Bay Area transit officer who fatally shot an unarmed man on New Year's Day.

Attorney Michael Rains will defend 27-year-old Johannes Mehserle against a murder charge in the death of Oscar Grant.

Mehserle resigned from the Bay Area Rapid Transit police force after the shooting at the Fruitvale train station, and has pleaded not guilty.

Rains has defended Bay Area police suspected of misconduct before. He also is one of the lawyers representing former Giants slugger Barry Bonds in his perjury case.

Sacramento lawyer Christopher Miller had been representing Mehserle.

Rains' office confirmed Rains had taken over the case, but the lawyer did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.