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Will Manson family tapes be released following Chapter 7 filing

In an unusual and high profile bankruptcy case, recordings between a Manson family killer and his attorney may be turned over to police. Michigan residents will recall the case, now four decades old, in which Charles 'Tex' Watson was convicted on seven counts of murder for his role in the brutal 1969 slayings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six additional people. The existence of the tapes came to light during the Chapter 7 bankruptcy  filing of a law firm where an attorney for Watson was once employed.

A court ruled that the police department in the jurisdiction where the crimes occurred could have the tapes in order to determine if Watson revealed information concerning any additional crimes. Last week Watson filed a motion to stop the transfer of the tapes. He is not opposing the right of the police to listen to the tapes or make use of that information, but does not want the tapes physically given to police.

Watson states that while he did waive his right to attorney-client privilege in relation to a book written about the case, he did not authorize a blanket waiver of those rights. He claims that his concern is that the media will gain access to the recordings, and that people who are connected to the victims will be further harmed by public release of information contained on the tapes. The bankruptcy court will now have to evaluate Watson's motion to determine if and how the information on the tapes will be made available to police investigators.

This case is of interest across the nation. Many in Michigan remember the sensational murders and the criminal proceedings that followed. If nothing else, this case also illuminates the complexities and unexpected outcomes that can accompany a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, particularly in view of a bankruptcy trustee's duty to marshal assets and liquidate non-exempt items for the benefit of creditors, under the supervision of the court.

Source: ABC13 WSET TV, "Manson family member: LAPD shouldn't possess tapes," Danny Robbins, June 11, 2012

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