Los Angeles entertainment attorney Joel Strote won a court challenge Tuesday that sought to remove him as trustee of the multimillion-dollar Liberace trusts.
District Judge Michael Wendell heard nearly four hours of testimony and then immediately ruled from the bench. Strote wept openly. Liberace's 74-year-old sister, Angie Farrell Liberace, said "the lies won" as she hurried from the courthouse."The evidence shows the job Mr. Strote did as trustee is an excellent job," Wendell said.
Liberace died of AIDS Feb. 4, 1987, two weeks after signing a new will drafted by Strote that named himself as executor and trustee. Five people, including Liberace's sister and the flamboyant entertainer's 27-year-old live-in male companion, Cary James, challenged the will.
The suit accused Strote of bleeding the estate with excessive legal fees and says Liberace was too ill to know what he was doing when he signed the new will and trustee documents on Jan. 22, 1987.
Others who joined in the challenge included Liberace's manager, Seymour Heller, 38, and longtime housekeepers Gladys Luckie and Dorothy McMahon.