Mayfield switches to Geragos

Suspended NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield is turning to high-profile attorney Mark Geragos to help fight his drug suspension.

Geragos confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday night that he's finalizing a deal to represent Mayfield himself out of his Washington, D.C.-based firm Luque Geragos and Marino.

"It's clear to me that there are real issues here, substantial issues, and I think he's getting a raw deal," Geragos said.

Geragos declined to discuss specific issues until he could review the case, citing a protective order that U.S. District Judge Graham Mullen has in place.

Mayfield has been suspended since failing a May 1 random drug test. NASCAR says he tested positive for methamphetamines, and the driver has denied using the illegal drug.

Mayfield sued to have his suspension lifted, and NASCAR countersued.

He won an injunction July 1 to lift his suspension, but did not attempt to make any of the three races before the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the suspension on July 24. A hearing on the injunction appeal is tentatively scheduled for the first week of December.

The case has taken several bizarre twists since Mayfield claimed a mix of the prescription drug Adderall to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and the allergy medication Claritin-D created a false positive for methamphetamines.

NASCAR has maintained Mayfield failed a second random drug test on July 6 during the brief time he was reinstated. NASCAR also most recently asked the court to order Mayfield to undergo physical and mental evaluations.

NASCAR has also submitted several statements from witnesses who claimed to have seen Mayfield abuse methamphetamines over the years.

Two of the witnesses are Mayfield's estranged stepmother and former brother-in-law. His stepmother's accusations led Lisa Mayfield to file a defamation of character suit against Mayfield, and he in turn filed a wrongful death suit against her over allegations she played a role in his father's 2007 death.

Mayfield was previously represented out of Charlotte, N.C., by high-profile local attorney Bill Diehl and associate John Buric. Neither returned messages or e-mails for comment Friday.

The Los Angeles-based Geragos has represented many celebrities, including Michael Jackson, actress Winona Ryder and most recently singer Chris Brown. He also represented convicted killer Scott Peterson.

Geragos said the Mayfield case is one of the first his new office will handle. According to the firm's Web site, it handles only civil and criminal litigation. Geragos said he would personally be representing Mayfield.

Mayfield has testified in court that the NASCAR suspension has left him unable to meet his basic living expenses, so it's not clear how he's paying for Geragos.

Geragos declined to immediately discuss the financial agreement he's made with Mayfield.