The Devil’s Defender: John Henry Browne's Life as a High Profile Lawyer

Seattle criminal defense attorney John Henry Browne has been involved in some of the most well-known criminal cases in modern American history. Browne came into the spotlight as the lawyer for serial killer Ted Bundy. Over the succeeding years, he represented Staff Sgt. Robert Bales in the Kandahar massacre proceedings. He represented Benjamin Ng, who killed fourteen people at Seattle’s Wah Mee gambling club. After years of silence, Browne has told the story of his legal odyssey in his new book, “The Devil’s Defender.” He discusses the book and his reasons for writing it in this report.

John Henry Browne

John Henry Browne

Browne explains that the book grew out his need to have something to do during his time at a home he bought in Mexico. The book began as a journal, one he kept for six years. He ultimately added information about Ted Bundy and the death of his girlfriend to the book. When Browne’s friends in the news media learned about the book, they urged him to polish it and publish it. The book is now a prospect to become a movie or a miniseries.

Browne had a unique relationship with Bundy, having served as Bundy’s lawyer and legal adviser for almost seven years. Among other things, Browne’s book includes letters he received from Bundy. “He would write me these letters that sound quite sane but also clearly very manipulative.” Browne received a waiver of the attorney-client privilege from Bundy years ago, but he didn’t use it until he wrote his book.

Browne relates hearing from Bundy that the reason Browne was his legal adviser for so long is that the two were so much alike. “That was one of the creepiest times of my life,” Browne says. He asked himself why he wanted to represent a clearly evil man. He even questioned whether he wanted to be a defense attorney. Later, Browne learned that Bundy meant that, had he not gone down “the dark side,” he would like to have been a criminal defense lawyer and live a life like the one he imagined Browne was living.

Browne says his book has been very well received and has gotten many favorable comments on the Internet. He feels it would be a good read for just about anyone. And it’s not all about his life as a lawyer. He talks about his time working for the American Broadcasting Co. in Washington, D.C. and having White House press credentials. The year before that, he played the bass in a rock band, the Crystal Palace Guard. “I feel sort of like Forrest Gump sometimes,” Browne says, thinking of the unusual moments of his life.

John Henry Browne is the principal in John Henry Browne, P.S., Seattle, Washington. For almost 40 years, he has successfully represented people charged with serious offenses in state and federal court. Honored in Best Lawyers in America since 1999, he is an attorney with a northwest practice and international reputation. He has tried over 300 criminal cases to verdict and represents a broad range of individuals faced with serious felony charges. The Sequence Media Financial Network is a featured network of Sequence Media Group