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For These Lawyers, It's 'Trick or Dupe'

"Trick or treat" is the theme of the day, but for three Massachusetts lawyers recommended for discipline earlier this month, the state Board of Bar Overseers found their modus operandi to be "trick or dupe." The case is surprising both for the prominence of the lawyers and the outrageousness of their conduct.

As The Boston Globe reports, the Bar Overseers recommended the disbarment of lawyers Gary C. Crossen and Kevin P. Curry and the suspension of Richard K. Donahue. Donahue is a former chairman of the very board that voted to suspend him and a prominent member of the bar. Over the course of his career, he has been assistant to President Kennedy, president of Nike Inc. and president of the state bar. Crossen is a former assistant U.S. attorney and former state prosecutor. Curry is a former state prosecutor.

The three lawyers participated to various extents in an elaborate scheme to get information in a case from a law clerk to former state judge (and now TV judge) Maria Lopez. As Globe reporter Charles Radin recounts:

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. ... 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.

The Bar Overseers' report, issued Oct. 16, sums up the lawyers' actions this way:

The whole point of the phony-job ruse was to 'trick or dupe' Walsh into making statements he 'otherwise would not have made.' This was because the premise of the respondents' dealings with Walsh was their expectation that he would not disclose, in violation of his obligations as a clerk, confidential communications with a judge unless he were seduced by an offer he could not refuse. Hence the dream job, the meticulous arrangements to make it seem real, the fancy hotels, the cash, the limousine service. ... When blandishments failed, Crossen and Donahue resorted to the threats to make public Walsh’s statements and the bar letter.

The board's recommendations now go to the Supreme Judicial Court for review.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on October 31, 2006 at 03:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

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