VAN NUYS : Court Denies Request to Move Menendez Trial

A state appeals court has affirmed the decision to keep the Menendez brothers' murder trial in Van Nuys, rejecting a request by the lawyers in the case to move it to the Downtown Criminal Courts Building.

Prosecutors had asked that the retrial of brothers Lyle and Erik Menendez, now set to begin Aug. 16, be moved to the Criminal Courts Building because the district attorney's main offices are also located there.

Defense attorneys then asked, too, to move Downtown. The defense even commissioned a telephone poll that showed that potential jurors in Van Nuys are more likely to convict the Menendez brothers than jurors Downtown.

But Superior Court Judge Stanley M. Weisberg opted April 4 to keep the case where he is based, in Van Nuys. The defense appealed; prosecutors did not join in the appeal. In a ruling issued Wednesday, the 2nd District Court of Appeal upheld Weisberg's decision.

The brothers are charged with first-degree murder in the Aug. 20, 1989, shotgun slayings of their wealthy parents, Jose and Kitty Menendez. A first trial ended in January, 1994, in a deadlock.

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