Celebrity attorney Mark Geragos, who represented Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, Wynona Ryder and other high-profile national figures and who has been part of numerous landmark legal cases, has agreed to represent Nevada County holistic physician Harvey Bigelsen in a criminal case filed against him on allegations of practicing medicine without a license and related charges.
“To me, this is bigger than me, and that’s why I wanted a celebrity lawyer,” Bigelsen said Monday at his arraignment on the charges in Nevada County Superior Court. “There’s a persecution going on of alternative medicine.”
He said he didn’t know Geragos before contacting him, but the attorney, principal of Los Angeles-based Geragos & Geragos, told Bigelsen he was “fascinated” by the case.
“We took the case because we felt strongly that Bigelsen is being persecuted for not hewing to the medical establishment,” Geragos said in an email.
Geragos’ associate Setara Qassim, who filled in for Geragos in court on Monday, voiced similar sentiments.
“He is innocent; he hasn’t done anything wrong,” she said. “There are no victims in this case.”
Bigelsen on Monday pleaded not guilty to the charges, filed by Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Ray DeJesus. His son, Josh Bigelsen, also filed a not guilty plea to similar allegations via his attorney, Elliott Faust of Auburn.
Nevada County Superior Court Judge Linda Sloven accepted the pleas and set a pretrial hearing date of 9 a.m. Sept. 15 for both Harvey and Josh Bigelsen. Geragos, who was also famous for representing convicted murderer Scott Peterson and acquitted Whitewater figure Susan McDougal, is expected to be present for the hearing, Bigelsen said.
Bigelsen, whose Biological Health Institute clinic in Nevada City was raided and shut down March 20 by investigators for the California Medical Board, maintains he was acting only as a consultant to licensed physicians at the clinic, doing blood sample analyses.
He had no patient contact, he said.
Former Nevada City Councilwoman Reinette Senum said she attended Monday’s arraignment to continue her support of Bigelsen and his family.
“This goes beyond the personal case of Harvey and Josh Bigelsen,” said Senum, who helped organize a June 22 fundraiser for the Bigelsens at Summer Thymes restaurant in Grass Valley.
“This is about the fundamental right to have health freedoms.
“If we don’t have our health, we have nothing,” Senum added.
Senum and others have been actively supporting Bigelsen on a Facebook page, “I Stand Behind Dr. B.”
In addition, the National Health Federation, a health-freedom-focused organization, of which Bigelsen serves as a board member, has mounted a fundraising campaign to support Bigelsen’s legal costs, said Katherine A. Carroll, associate editor of the federation’s “Health Freedom News.”
Carroll said federation president and general counsel Scott C. Tips is leading the fundraising efforts.
To contact Staff Writer Keri Brenner, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.