Tuesday, April 9, 2013
An Illinois Hearing Board has issued a recommendation summarized below:
Respondent was charged in a one-count complaint with misconduct based upon his guilty plea and federal criminal conviction on one count of conspiracy to commit theft of programs receiving federal funds. The criminal charges against Respondent stemmed from his conduct while serving as chief of staff to former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. As part of his guilty plea, Respondent admitted participating in a conspiracy with the former governor to solicit and demand things of value for Blagojevich in connection with the appointment of a United States Senator to fill the seat vacated by Barack Obama upon his election as President in 2008. In addition to pleading guilty, Respondent cooperated extensively with the government in the criminal matter and testified against the former governor at both of his criminal trials. Respondent received a reduced sentence of ten days in prison, two years of supervised release, and a $1,000 fine.
Based upon his criminal conviction, Respondent was suspended on an interim basis by the Illinois Supreme Court on April 6, 2010.
Respondent was charged in this proceeding with committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on his honesty and fitness as a lawyer, engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, assisting another lawyer in committing ethical violations, and engaging in conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or bring the courts or legal profession into disrepute. The Hearing Board found that all of these charges were proven by clear and convincing evidence.
Based upon the serious nature of Respondent's misconduct, the Administrator sought his disbarment. After taking into account Respondent's extensive cooperation in the criminal matter as well as additional evidence in mitigation, the Hearing Board recommended that Respondent be suspended for three years. The Hearing Board rejected the Respondent's request that the suspension be imposed retroactive to the date of his interim suspension.