Joe Friedberg dishes on his late friend, legendary defense lawyer Ron Meshbesher

"He dressed well, he carried himself well, and he carried his life with dignity."

Susie Jones
June 14, 2018 - 3:14 pm
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Ron Meshbesher, who was one of the Twin Cities most prominent defense attorneys, has died after a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease.

Meshbesher graduated from Minneapolis North High School in 1951 before receiving his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Minnesota. The Meshbesher & Spence website says at age 24, he began practicing as a prosecutor for the Hennepin County attorney’s office, where he tried 45 felony cases in his first three years with a conviction rate of 92 percent.

"He did not walk the ethical tightrope," said Joe Friedberg, defense attorney and good friend of Meshbesher.

When we sat down to talk with Friedberg about his friend and colleague, the stories came easily. There was the time in the late 70's when he won an acquittal for Marjorie Caldwell, who was accused of orchestrating the murder of her mother, Elizabeth Congdon, and a nurse at the Glensheen mansion in Duluth. That was just one of the roughly 70 trials Meshbesher would win over the course of his 57-year career.

For Friedberg, it was Meshbesher’s kindness and gentle nature that set him apart,  

"He dressed well, he carried himself well, and he carried his life with dignity," he said.

He was also a mentor to many lawyers in the Twin Cities. 

You might expect a person with the reputation that Ron had, to be sort of fierce combative lawyers that you see on TV, but he was nothing like that," said attorney Andy Birrell, who started working with Ron when he was 28-years-old.

Friedberg talked at length about how he first met Meshbesher, the many cases they worked on together and some of the interesting characters they met along the way.  

Listen here for the rest of the interview: