Monday, June 21, 2021

A Hearing Worth Watching

A disciplinary hearing being conducted this week before a hearing committee of the District of Columbia Board on Professional Responsibility involves an allegation that an attorney falsified evidence to conceal his drug use in his own divorce and custody litigation.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals noted

Ms. Noguchi and Mr. Libertelli were married in July 2008. At the time of the wedding, she was 32 and he was 39. During the marriage and throughout the litigation, Ms. Noguchi was a reporter for NPR; beginning in December 2011, Mr. Libertelli started working on public policy matters in Netflix's Washington office. By the time of the divorce he was earning around $1.3 million a year. In the words of the circuit court, the couple "enjoyed a comfortable upper-income lifestyle."

The attorney's response to the allegations

Mr. Libertelli acknowledges that he testified falsely about his drug use, falsified and submitted drug and urine test results, and submitted certain altered bank and financial records, all in connection with his bitterly contested divorce and custody case before Judge Harry Storm of the Montgomery County Circuit Court. Mr. Libertelli takes full responsibility for his actions, as he did before Judge Storm. However, Mr. Libertelli respectfully submits that he is eligible for mitigation pursuant to In re Kersey, 520 A.2d 321, 325-27 (D.C. 1987). Mr. Libertelli waives his right to file his Kersey mitigation defense under seal pursuant to Board Rule 7.6(b). Mr. Libertelli’s Notice of Intent to Raise Disability (or Addiction) in Mitigation is being filed contemporaneously herewith in accordance with Board Rule 7.6(a).

The charges and answer are linked here.

Kersey mitigation involves a showing that the misconduct was caused by a disability and that the attorney has been substantially rehabilitated. 

The case will offer experts from both sides on the mitigation issue. 

In the opening statement of defense counsel, he posits that the addiction started with illegally-prescribed opiates and that prior case law rejecting mitigation for (conceded subsequent) illegal drug use.

Editor's note: I represented disciplinary counsel in the Kersey litigation.

Vox reported on his departure from Netflix

As part of its fast-growing Amsterdam hub, Netflix is seeking a new vice president of global public policy, a major regulatory role that will focus on media ownership, net neutrality, competition, tax law and other issues percolating throughout the European Union and beyond.

Since 2011, that title has belonged to Christopher Libertelli, a longtime telecom lawyer and lobbyist based in Washington, D.C. But Libertelli confirmed to Recode today that he would be leaving Netflix in the coming weeks.

The hearing is expected to take place over several days this week and can be accessed only in real time at this link. (Mike Frisch)

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