Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Reinstatement Should Be Denied After Espionage Conviction

A District of Columbia Hearing Committee has recommended that Theresa Squillacote's petition for reinstatement be denied.

As discussed below, we recommend that the Court deny the Petition because Petitioner has failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that (1) she can be trusted; and (2) she has recovered from the mental health issues that she blames, at least in part, for her criminal conduct.

Petitioner had been convicted of espionage-related offenses and was disbarred in 2002. 

Two post-conviction matters troubled the committee

Petitioner's continued insistence in her Petition, hearing testimony, and even in her post-hearing brief that criminal charges arising from the Home Depot incident were "dismissed," or "ultimately dismissed," is inexplicable. As she disclosed in the documents attached to her reinstatement petition, she agreed to an "Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal," which means she, the prosecutors, and the judge all "agreed to dismiss [her] case [after] 6 months as long as [she] did not get re-arrested" and so long as she completed two days of social service. That outcome is qualitatively different than Petitioner's incomplete explanation that the matter was "dismissed" or "ultimately dismissed," which carry a connotation that there was nothing to the allegation of criminal conduct.

Her lack of candor to Dean Molinengo is equally troubling. After her release from prison, she wanted to complete her LL.M. with an eye toward reinstatement to the Bar. She went through a long process with GW Law, but never told Dean Molinengo, her direct advisor, that she had initially pursued the LL.M. to further her clandestine activity. Dean Molinengo was "sicken[ed] to hear that" during the disciplinary hearing because, as he testified, with expertise in government contracting "you can get access to a lot of super sensitive secret material." Tr. l09. Petitioner failed to tell the full truth to her advisor, and someone that she chose to call as a character witness.

In her favor

Petitioner received an A+ in Professor Jonathan Turley's Fall 2019 Supreme Court Constitutional Law seminar, which required drafting two Supreme Court opinions as a class assignment.

I represented then-Bar Counsel in the early stages of the disbarment matter. (Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2022/07/reinstatement-should-be-denied-after-espionage-conviction.html

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