Manson, jailed for ordering the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders in Los Angeles, told Vanity Fair Spain: "We are all martyrs. Love is a martyr. That is why Christ calls attention. So they crucified him. ... Yes, I am a martyr. But I am also a victim. And I'm a performer."
The magazine says the interview, conducted in Spanish from Corcoran Prison in California, is Manson's first in decades.
Italian lawyer Giovanni DiStefano, who has defended Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic, has filed an appeal for Manson to the Interamerican Human Rights Committee, claiming the trial violated his rights, and has written to U.S. President Barack Obama.
The appeal asserts that Manson was not allowed to defend himself or argue that the prosecutor invented a conspiracy.
"I think Obama is an idiot for doing what he does," Manson said. "I do not know who he was able to cheat to get there."
Manson was sentenced to death April 19, 1971, which was commuted to life when the California death penalty was abolished. He has been denied parole 11 times.