Jim Bennett has made a name for himself defending some of this town's more notorious folk. In 2004 the attorney asked the Missouri Supreme Court to toss out drunk-driving charges against St. Louis Rams defensive end Leonard Little. (The court refused, but Little was eventually acquitted of the charges following a jury trial.) In 2006 Bennett represented former American Equity Mortgage cofounder Ray Vinson in his nasty divorce from his wife and business partner, Deanna Vinson. (Despite courtroom testimony about Vinson's aberrant behavior, Bennett convinced the judge to award Vinson 32 percent of the couple's multimillion-dollar estate and receive another $16 million to walk away from the company.) But Bennett's biggest claim to fame ought to be that he single-handedly sent former Metro president Larry Salci packing with a one-way ticket out of town last fall. During last year's lengthy MetroLink trial, Bennett used a Riverfront Times profile of Salci to get the Metro chief to admit that he was accurately quoted when he stated that he cared about nothing but the opinions of his top managers and Wall Street. So destructive was Bennett's questioning that a Post-Dispatch editorial compared it to A Few Good Men: "Mr. Salci might as well have echoed Col. Jessep in the 1992 movie by telling defense attorney James Bennett, 'You can't handle the truth!' and admitting, 'You're damned right I ordered the Code Red!'"
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