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Leo Branton Jr. dies at 91; civil rights lawyer defended Angela Davis

Leo Branton Jr. dies at 91; civil rights lawyer defended Angela Davis

Leo Branton Jr., a civil rights and entertainment lawyer whose stirring defense of '60s radical Angela Davis brought him his most celebrated victory in a six-decade career often spent championing unpopular cases, died of natural causes Friday in Los Angeles. He was 91.

His death was confirmed by his son Tony Nicholas.

Branton, the only African American graduate of Northwestern University's law school in 1948, helped singer Nat King Cole integrate an exclusive Los Angeles neighborhood, defended Communists in McCarthy-era Los Angeles and won misconduct cases against the Los Angeles Police Department decades before Rodney King became a household name.

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