Monday, October 8, 2018

Sex For Fee Offer Draws Permanent Disbarment

An order of the Louisiana Supreme Court

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel (“ODC”) is conducting an investigation into allegations that respondent requested an intimate sexual relationship with a client in lieu of payment of attorney’s fees, in violation of Rule 1.7 (conflict of interest: current clients) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Respondent now seeks to permanently resign from the practice of law in lieu of discipline. The ODC has concurred in respondent’s petition.

Having considered the Petition for Permanent Resignation from the Practice of Law filed by A. Wayne Stewart, Louisiana Bar Roll number 9398, and the concurrence thereto filed by the ODC,

IT IS ORDERED that the request of A. Wayne Stewart for permanent resignation in lieu of discipline be and is hereby granted, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule XIX, § 20.1 and Rule 5.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that A. Wayne Stewart shall be permanently prohibited from practicing law in Louisiana or in any other jurisdiction in which he is admitted to the practice of law; shall be permanently prohibited from seeking readmission to the practice of law in this state or in any other jurisdiction in which he is admitted; and shall be permanently prohibited from seeking admission to the practice of law in any jurisdiction.

WBRZ 2 reported

At least seven other women have come forward alleging inappropriate behavior by prominent Livingston Parish attorney A. Wayne Stewart after a WBRZ report on the 6 o’clock news Tuesday.

A man with an identical likeness to Stewart was recorded on video soliciting sex from a client in exchange for free legal advice. Stewart has denied it was him in the video.

Wednesday, additional women reported similar altercations. One of a group of women who called WBRZ following the first story agreed to anonymously discuss an inappropriate meeting she said she had with Stewart.

"He asked me what positions I liked, the weirdest place I've had sex...various questions," she said. "It went on to him getting up from his desk and starts massaging my shoulders and then made a comment about my boobs."

WBRZ agreed to not disclose the woman’s name. In a television interview aired during the 6 o’clock news Wednesday, the woman’s face was not visible.

The woman’s encounter was similar to one Eladia Warren described in the initial television story concerning A. Wayne Stewart of Livingston Parish.

Warren told WBRZ, she recorded her meeting with Stewart last month and caught him offering free legal work for sex.

"Let me say this, and I don't mean it bragging like... I'm at a point where f****** money don't mean s***," the man purported to be Stewart is heard telling Warren. "I would ten times rather have a physical relationship with you than money."

Stewart denied it was him in the video, though the video is full of his identifying factors: a reflection of his face, distinctive hairstyle, unique jewelry, and shots of his car.

The situation has become a concern of Warren’s new attorney, Jill Craft. 

"People come into our office because they are vulnerable," Craft said. "They are in trouble. Something terrible, awful and bad [has happened]. They are in no position to make a decision on some type of sexual relationship or sexual encounter."

Craft said strict rules outline the relationship between an attorney and their client.

"As lawyers, we have a specific code of professional conduct that makes us mandated reporters," Craft said. "If we are aware of misconduct on the part of another member of the bar or the judiciary, we are obligated to report that to our office of disciplinary counsel."

Craft asked that other women with similar experiences report inappropriate conduct to the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board HERE.

Other women provided the WBRZ Investigative Unit with text messages from Stewart. Those messages indicate that he asked to be one woman's "sugar daddy.”

(Mike Frisch)

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