Renowned Immigration Lawyer Who Saved John Lennon From Deportation Passes Away at 90

New York, NY – Leon Wildes, the lawyer who successfully defended musician John Lennon against deportation by the FBI, has passed away at the age of 90. Wildes, who died on January 8th at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, had been suffering from a series of strokes. His son, Michael Wildes, confirmed the news and described his father as a beloved figure in both his personal and professional life.

Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, faced a prolonged battle with immigration officials from 1972 to 1975 after the FBI sought to remove Lennon from the United States. The British singer-songwriter had relocated to New York City after the Beatles disbanded in 1970, but his political beliefs, particularly his opposition to the Vietnam War and the Nixon administration, made him a target of the government.

Initially, Lennon had to obtain a waiver to enter the US due to a prior marijuana conviction in England. However, it was his outspoken stance against the Vietnam War that brought him the most trouble. Through his work and the use of the Freedom of Information Act, Wildes was able to expose the government’s hidden political motives behind their attempts to deport Lennon. In 1975, a federal appeals court supported Wildes’ claims and allowed Lennon to remain in the US.

A specialist in immigration law, Wildes dedicated his career to fighting for justice. He co-founded the law firm Wildes & Weinberg in 1960 and later served as president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. When Wildes took on Lennon’s case, he was unaware of the couple’s fame but recognized the injustice at hand. His landmark lawsuit had a lasting impact on immigration law, making it easier for individuals with prior convictions to travel to the US.

Leon Wildes is survived by his wife, Alice Goldberg Wildes, along with two children, eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. His legacy as a defender of justice and advocate for immigration rights will continue to be remembered.

In summary, Leon Wildes, the renowned immigration lawyer who successfully fought for John Lennon’s right to stay in the US, has passed away at the age of 90. Wildes’ dedication to justice and his landmark lawsuit changed immigration law, allowing individuals with previous convictions to travel to the US more easily. He will be remembered as a beloved figure by his family, colleagues, and the countless individuals he helped throughout his career.