With that headline, you’ll be shocked to hear I’m not talking about the Bush administration. This time.
What I am talking about are 3 attorneys, 2 of whom are about to be disbarred, for trying to influence judicial proceedings by getting blackmail information on the judge from the judge’s clerk.
The state Board of Bar Overseers has recommended that the Supreme Judicial Court disbar two lawyers accused of using extortion and intimidation in an attempt to discredit a judge, who had ruled against their client in a family feud over assets of the Demoulas Supermarkets chain. The board recommended the suspension of a third lawyer.
The disciplinary case against the three lawyers stems from actions they allegedly took in 1997, two years after Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Maria Lopez ruled that the heirs of George Demoulas, a cofounder of the $1.5 billion chain, had been cheated out of millions of dollars by other members of their family. Lopez ordered a massive transfer of assets.
The lawyers, who all worked at various times for the losing side in the case, engaged in an elaborate scheme to get information from Lopez’s law clerk, Paul Walsh , to provide information that would allow them to discredit Lopez and invalidate the judgment, hearing officer M. Ellen Carpenter wrote in her May report.
The men first enticed Walsh with a bogus offer of a dream job, then threatened to harm his career if he did not cooperate with them, Carpenter concluded after lengthy hearings.
From the Board of Overseers Report
In the spring of 1997, Walsh received a call from someone who identified himself as a “headhunter” named Ernest Reid. Reid said he had an “attractive opportunity” that would interest Walsh. Walsh, who had circulated his resume to some of the lawyers for the Demoulas defendants, had encountered difficulties finding a job. At the time of the call, he was working for the law firm of Sullivan, Weinstein & McQuay at an annual salary of $68,000. Walsh was flattered by the call and arranged for Reid to meet him at his home.
There Reid described the job, which paid $90,000 plus benefits, as an in-house position at an international corporation with offices in Bermuda, Boston, and London. The successful candidate would be someone with no history of ethical problems or other skeletons in his closet, who was married and “settled down,” and who had “excellent writing skills.”
No such job existed. Curry and Reid had concocted it as a ruse to pump Walsh for information, and they tailored it to appeal to Walsh’s interests and strengths. It was, as the hearing officer found, “Walsh’s dream job, and they knew it.”
Now, I’m an attorney and I know there are lots of bad jokes about unethical evil attorneys, but still… FSM. This is so far beyond the pale it’s almost inconceivable to me how such a thing could have happened, particularly given the stature of the people involved. What were these guys thinking? Oh wait, I know. I think they were thinking “one point five beeeeeelion dollars.”