Michael Flynn’s Lawyers Claim Lisa Page Altered FBI Interview Record to Frame Him

Michael Flynn’s Lawyers Claim Lisa Page Altered FBI Interview Record to Frame Him

Lisa-Page-after-meeeting-lawmakers-Capitol-Hill-ap-640x480
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/10/25/michael-flynn-lawyers-accuse-fbi-of-laying-trap-withholding-evidence/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=daily&utm_campaign=20191025&utm_content=Final

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page leaves following an interview with lawmakers behind closed doors on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, July 13, 2018.
JOEL B. POLLAK
25 Oct 2019

Lawyers for former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn reportedly filed a motion on Thursday in which they allege that the Department of Justice manipulated a document to frame their client and is withholding exculpatory evidence.
The apparent “sealed” filing, dated October 24, 2019, was posted to social media on Thursday evening.

US v Flynn; DE 129-2 by Techno Fog on Scribd

The filing by Flynn’s new legal team, which took over the case several weeks ago, argues that the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted an “ambush-interview” of Flynn in the White House not to discover any evidence of criminal activity, but to coax him into making false statements.

When Flynn’s new lawyer Sidney Powell first made those allegations in September, prosecutors replied that she was indulging in “conspiracy theories” and noted his client had already pleaded guilty to the crime of lying to the FBI in 2017. Flynn has been awaiting sentencing since then, and even told the sentencing judge in 2018 that he would not claim FBI misconduct, despite growing evidence that they had departed from normal practice in interviewing him and had only completed their “302” — the report of their meeting — after he had already been forced to resign from his position in the administration over the allegations.

The new defense filing alleges that the government is refusing to turn over a mountain of potentially exculpatory evidence, some of which has begun to emerge in the media — either through leaks or through ongoing inquiries into the origins of the probe into alleged Russia “collusion” with the Trump campaign, later found not to exist.

That evidence, Flynn’s legal team alleges, includes an apparent admission by former FBI lawyer Lisa Page — who resigned after being discovered having an affair with agent Peter Strzok, with whom she shared anti-trump texts — that she had edited the 302 — something that she allegedly told FBI investigators she did not recall, the filing states.

The edits, the filing alleges, were substantive: they included a claim that Flynn said he did not discuss any sanctions with the Russian ambassador. Flynn’s lawyers allege he merely told the FBI he did not recall, and that the claim he said otherwise was added only after a transcript of his discussion with the ambassador had been leaked to the media.

In a footnote, the filing adds that former FBI general counsel James Baker “is believed to be the person who illegally leaked the transcript of Mr. Flynn’s calls to [Washington Post reporter David] Ignatius.” It also alleges that former National Intelligence Director James Clapper told Ignatius to “take the kill shot on Flynn.”

The filing emerged hours after reports that the Department of Justice had shifted its investigation of the origins of the Russia probe to become a criminal investigation under the supervision of prosecutor John H. Durham.

Flynn was subject to surveillance — allegedly in response to claims that he might have violated the Logan Act, an archaic and rarely-enforced law barring private citizens from diplomacy — during President-elect Donald Trump’s transition to office. Flynn’s name was then unmasked in the transcript of his telephone conversation with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, which was then leaked illegally.

Flynn’s subsequent prosecution for lying to the FBI was key to the “Russia collusion” theory, later found to have no substance after a lengthy investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller that took nearly two years to complete.

Critics have alleged that Mueller may have induced Flynn to plead guilty by suggesting that the government had more evidence of “Russia collusion” than it actually did.

This story is developing.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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I Don’t Think They Ever Even Looked for Richard Merritt, While the Victims That Testified Against Him Remain in Fear

Richard-Merritt-via-Fox-5-Atlanta

Ex-Lawyer Supposed to Be In Prison for Cheating Clients, But Now He’s Wanted in His Mom’s Murder
by Alberto Luperon | 5:51 pm, February 3rd, 2019

Disbarred lawyer Richard Merritt, 44, was due in prison Friday for swindling his clients. Yet it’s two days later and he’s now wanted for allegedly killing his mother. Cops in Dekalb County, Georgia said that officers responded to a local home on Saturday morning regarding a dead person, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. They found Shirley Merritt was fatally stabbed. Cops blame this on her son.

Cops said Richard Merritt might be driving his mom’s brown 2009 Lexus RX350. It features the Georgia license plate CBV6004.

The suspect shouldn’t even be out, whether or not there was a murder. The suspect was convicted of settling lawsuits without clients’ knowledge, and keeping the cash. He was sentenced last month to 15 years in prison, to be followed by an equally long stint on probation. Prosecutors say he took advantage of the elderly, and those alleging medical malpractice. This scheme affected 17 former clients. He’d lie to them about the settlements, and claim their cases were ongoing, authorities said. Prosecutors claim he forged their signatures and checks, and notary seals.

Merritt surrendered his law license last year. From the Supreme Court of Georgia in a filing dated January 29, 2018:

In his petition, Merritt, who has been a member of the Bar since 2000, admits that in February 2017 he settled a client’s personal injury matter for $75,000, but failed to promptly disburse those funds to his client or her medical providers and failed to render a full accounting of the funds to his client.

The judge in his sentencing gave him time to prepare for prison, and turn himself in by 5 p.m. on February 1. The defendant had to deal with what was described as family medical issues before serving his sentence, according to a Fox 5 Atlanta story.

9b13335e-7797-4ef3-9e0d-f54a723ab33b_750x422
Georgia: Disbarred Lawyer Richard Merritt Jailed on Theft, Elder Abuse Charges
http://www.barcomplaint.com/attorney-theft/georgia-disbarred-lawyer-richard-merritt-jailed-on-theft-elder-abuse-charges/

The problems of Richard Merritt have come to a head with his arrest. This has been long coming has his behavior has been in question for several years.
Georgia: Disbarred Lawyer Richard Merritt Jailed on Theft, Elder Abuse Charges
Attorney Richard Merritt was disbarred Monday for pocketing a client’s $75,000 settlement and jailed Wednesday on multiple felonies.

Richard Vinson Merritt

Former Smyrna attorney Richard V. Merritt, who was disbarred Monday after admitting to settling a client’s suit for $75,000 and then pocketing the money, woke up in the Cobb County Jail Thursday after being arrested on separate felony elder abuse, theft, exploitation and check fraud charges.

The spokesperson for the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office said he had no further information on the charges, which were apparently filed by the Smyrna Police Department. The booking report includes a notation that Merritt is to be held for the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, where a press liaison said they received a bench warrant for “indirect criminal attempt.”

He provided no further information, and there was no immediate response from Smyrna police.

On Friday, Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds said there was little he could offer concerning Merritt’s case so far.

“We have yet to receive the complete investigative file from the Cobb Sheriff’s Department,” said Reynolds via email. “When we do, our White Collar Unit will begin the process of determining what charges we will proceed to the grand jury with. In addition, our Investigators will begin reviewing the file upon receipt to see if there are any additional victims or charges which need to be pursued.”

Merritt remained in jail on Friday afternoon.

Merritt is the subject of multiple civil suits in Cobb County, including one filed by a woman who claims he forged her name on a $150,000 settlement agreement and check without her knowledge. She claims Merritt never turned over any funds.

He also faces several legal malpractice and fraud lawsuits in Cobb County from clients claiming he agreed to handle their cases and then never filed them and never pursued any actions.

Merritt has represented himself in each of the lawsuits.

The attorney for a plaintiff in one case, Sapp & Moriarty partner Daniel Moriarty—interviewed before word of Merritt’s arrest was known—said he was surprised at the mild tone in the state Supreme Court’s disbarment opinion, which only said Merritt “settled a client’s personal injury matter for $75,000 but failed to promptly disburse those funds to his client or her medical providers and failed to render a full accounting of the funds to his client.”

“That’s a euphemism for stealing money,” said Moriarty. “I talked to an investigator who has seen his bank records and determined that he had stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars. It just blows my mind what he’s gotten away with.”

According the bar complaint reviewed by the Daily Report, Merritt was retained to handle a personal injury matter in December 2016 and settled it last February, cashing the forged check Feb.7. On Feb. 10, he filed a lawsuit “and continued to lead me on until late May 2017 when I learned what he had done,” the confidential complaint said.

“I have never seen a dime of the $75,000,” said Merritt’s former client.

Another civil suit filed in Cobb County State Court last year said Merritt forged a husband and wife’s signature on a settlement and check in a medical malpractice case and never told them.

Another complaint said Merritt accepted a med-mal case and continually told his client that he was investigating it. Merritt sent emails saying “All is well and we are moving forward on your case,” and “No worries I’m on it!”

Then he stopped accepting the woman’s calls, and the filing deadline passed.

In that case, Judge Maria Golick struck Merritt’s answers and ordered a damages-only trial after finding he “willfully failed to respond” to hearing notices. Golick scheduled a show-cause criminal contempt hearing, and the decision is apparently still under advisement, according to court records.

In the case Moriarty is handling, Merritt also allegedly claimed to be conducting discovery and searching for experts, even scheduling bogus depositions for his clients, only to cancel them at the last minute.

Merritt was the principal for the Smyrna-based Merritt Firm, whose offices were the subject of several dispossessory actions between 2015 and 2017, according to court records.

Last August, Merritt sued two attorneys on behalf of spine surgeon and frequent medical expert James Chappuis. At the time, Merritt said he vice president and general counsel of Chappuis’ Orthopaedic & Spine Surgery of Atlanta.

That case settled confidentially shortly after it was filed.

Source: Professional Legal Blog
Doctor Claims Patient, Lawyers Stiffed Him After Winning $700K at Trial
The doctor, who claims he’s owed more than $200,000, also testified as an expert witness at his patient’s trial.

An Atlanta spine surgeon who sometimes works as an expert witness in personal injury cases has sued a former patient and his lawyers, claiming they stiffed him on $200,000 in medical bills after netting a $700,000 jury award.

The complaint filed Monday by Dr. James Chappuis, founder and CEO of Orthopaedic & Spine Surgery of Atlanta, said he’s owed $205,323 for more than two years of treatment provided to Shin Cho. Chappuis also testified as an expert witness at Cho’s trial.

The complaint was filed by the surgery’s vice president and general counsel, Richard Merritt, and named Cho as well as his attorneys in the personal injury action, James Rice Jr. and Thomas Schaefer.

It accuses Cho of using “pressure and misrepresentation” to convince a clinic staffer to accept just $7,500 as full payment of the debt and said the lawyers paid themselves and disbursed Cho’s net award from their trust account despite knowing Chappuis was still owed.

Even the debt Cho purportedly satisfied was “erroneous” and allegedly constituted less than a quarter of the actual sum owed to the doctor, according to the complaint.

Rice denied the suit’s allegations, pointing to a May 31 letter from Chappuis’ practice, saying Cho’s $7,500 payment satisfied his “current outstanding patient balance of $43,871.01.”

“Shortly after they sent that, they contacted us to say there was a ‘bookkeeping error’ and that Mr. Cho owed more than $205,000,” Rice said. “I retained outside counsel to get advice on what to do, and we told their office we were going to disburse the funds in two weeks, and that’s what we did.”

“I also contacted the Georgia bar, and they confirmed that that was the proper way to handle it, so we did all our due diligence before we distributed the money,” Rice said.

Rice said the doctor and his practice were already paid more than $100,000 by Cho’s insurer, and “Mr. Cho candidly feels that he doesn’t owe them anything.”

Schaefer said he was out of town and had not had a chance to review the complaint but was “not really sure why I’ve been named as a party.”

“Our official quote is that we stand by the complaint as drafted,” said Merritt, declining to discuss the case further.

On May 22, Cho was awarded $700,000 for claims that he developed back pain following a minor car wreck in Gwinnett County.

Rice told the Daily Report at the time that Cho drove away from the scene. He argued Cho, who already suffered at least three previous back injuries, was an “eggshell plaintiff” for whom even a low-impact wreck was dangerous.

Last year, Cho signed a “letter of protection” with Chappuis and his practice, agreeing to pay or have his attorneys pay “all outstanding medical bills” from funds accruing from the legal action, the complaint said.

The lawyers had previously worked with Chappuis on other cases and “knew the critical importance of the medical care being provided by [Chappuis], as it related to satisfying the burden of proof in proving causation and damages, and in the effectiveness of Plaintiff Chappuis’ testimony, as both a treating physician and a medical expert,” according to the complaint.

In fact, Rice sent Chappuis a congratulatory text message after the trial, saying the jury “liked you a lot and coming across as objective helped,” while they did not “buy” the defense expert’s “nonsense.”

But on May 31, Cho went to Orthopaedic & Spine Surgery’s main office and “through deliberate pressure and misrepresentation of the facts, convinced a clerical employee to accept $7,500 in satisfaction and payment in full of an alleged $43,871.01, which was erroneous, as the amount due and owing is $205,323.70,” according to the complaint.

The complaint said that, on June 17, Chappuis’ attorney sent a cease-and-desist letter to Rice “specifically instructing him not to disburse any funds” until he and his practice had been paid. On June 30 a satisfaction of judgment was filed with the court, but Rice and Schaefer “intentionally disregarded their obligation to compensate” the plaintiffs.

The suit, filed Aug. 21, names Cho, Rice, Schaefer and the lawyers’ practices as defendants, and includes counts for fraud, negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract.

Rice said it is “unfortunate that the plaintiffs have chosen to bring both my firm and Mr. Shaefer’s firm into a matter that is moot,” and is also moot regarding Cho.

“To say the least, the lawsuit is disappointing, but in any event we will vigorously defend it, including seeking fees and costs,” Rice said.

Source: Daily Report

Name Of The Attorney: Attorney Richard Merritt
Name Of The Law Firm: Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds
State: Georgia
xyz_fbap: 1

Ex-wife of Georgia lawyer fears for her safety after he allegedly killed his mother

190211-jenine-merritt-richard-merritt-cs-259p-949dfa65a7dfe1c5b8
“We’re tired of looking over our shoulder and we’re looking for closure and to move on with our lives,” Jenine Merritt says of herself and their two children.
Feb. 11, 2019, 4:56 PM EST
By Janelle Griffith
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/after-georgia-lawyer-allegedly-killed-his-mother-ex-wife-fears-n970281

The former wife of a disbarred Georgia attorney who allegedly stabbed his mother to death said she is scared for her and her children’s safety.

A nationwide manhunt is underway for Richard Merritt, who police said removed his court-ordered ankle monitor before allegedly killing his mother Feb. 2 and stealing her 2009 silver Lexus. He has been on the run since, according to DeKalb County police.
Image: Richard Merritt and his ex-wife, Jenine.
Richard Merritt and his ex-wife, Jenine.Courtesy of Jenine Merritt

“We’re terrified,” Jenine Merritt told NBC News on Monday, referring to herself and their two children, who are 12 and 14. “We’re terrified because of what we know he’s capable of now.”

Richard Merritt, 44, was scheduled to surrender to authorities Feb. 1 in Cobb County, after he was sentenced to 15 years behind bars and 15 years on probation for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from elderly clients between 2014 and 2017. After the conviction, he had been given until Feb. 1 to “get his affairs in order.”

On the eve of the date he was supposed to report to jail, Jenine Merritt said he threatened her life in a late-night phone call.

He was “clearly drunk,” she said, saying her ex-husband “is a serious alcoholic.”

Richard Merritt was verbally abusive on a regular basis, but had never before physically threatened her, she said.

The Merritts divorced in 2018 after 19 years of marriage.

Jenine Merritt added that she is “horrified” by the death of her former mother-in-law, Shirley Merritt, describing her as “a good mother and grandmother.”

“That part does not feel real to us,” she said. “And maybe, once we move on to the point where we’re not scared for our safety, we can really begin the grieving process, which we need to do.”
190211-shirley-merritt-cs-301p-949dfa65a7dfe1c5b80a4a16a46f2e6e
Image: Shirley Merritt
Shirley Merritt Courtesy of Jenine Merritt

Richard Merritt is now the subject of a nationwide search, Frank Lempka, an inspector with the U.S. Marshals Service, said.
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He may have shaved his head in an attempt to change his appearance and should be considered armed and dangerous, the Marshals Service said. The agency is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to his arrest.

Richard Merritt filed multiple medical malpractice claims for his clients and later admitted in court that he pocketed much of what they had won. He used the settlements on personal expenses including vacations, authorities said.

“We lost our home, we lost everything we had,” Jenine Merritt said of her ex-husband’s conviction. “I had no idea that he had done these things to these poor people that trusted him and needed him.”

She also said she had no idea her then-husband was paying for their vacations with stolen money and would not have participated if she had known.

She believes it is only a matter of time before he is caught.

“We’re tired of looking over our shoulder, and we’re looking for closure and to move on with our lives,” she said.

I have a problem with all this. He and his wife divorced to tie up the money Rich had been stealing. She still has money from the people Rich stole the money from.
And since when does someone go and cut off the ankle monitor? The story that I heard was that after he killed his mom, he went to Cartersville and cut the ankle monitor off and hopped on a plane at the Cartersville airport (very small airport). That’s just what I heard.
I also can’t imagine why he was still out walking around anyway.
The other thing that I heard was that Rich and the Cobb County DA were really good friends.
One thing that is fact for sure, Rich Merritt was asst attorney general in GA for about 15 years, thus why he had so many friends in the legal world. The victims were afraid that he would get no time for his crimes. Everyone was shocked at the stiff sentence he got. They give murderers that length of time.
No matter, they obviously had not planned on Rich killing his Mama…

New York’s Lawyers and Judges Behaving Badly, From New York Law Journal

https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2018/12/30/lawyers-judges-behaving-badly/
Tara-Lenich-Article-201612051956
Tara Lenich, admitted to forging judicial orders to run illegal wiretaps on a fellow prosecutor and a New York City Police Detective, sentenced to one year in prison in early 2018.

Edmund-Duffy
Edmund Duffy’s five-decade legal career, during which he rose to prominence as the former heard of the China practice at Skadden, officially ended 02/08/2018, when he was automatically disbarred after he pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography.

AP-Robert-Cicale-web
A Suffolk County District Court Judge was suspended from the bench after he was arrested and charged with burglary. He was caught with women’s underwear that he allegedly stole from a private residence.

Evan-Greebel-Article-201710202147
Evan Greebel, a former partner at Kaye Scholer and Katten Muchin Rosenman, was sent to prison for working with disgraced pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli to defraud investors.

ravelo-keila-Article-201810091948
Keila Ravelo was sentenced to five years for conspiring to defraud her former law firms and clients out of $7.8 Million, using bogus litigation vendors. Prosecutors said that the former Hunton & Williams and Willkie Farr & Gallagher partner used the money to fuel a lavish lifestyle.

Frank-Aquila-Article-201809281858
Prominent M&A partner Frank Aquila deleted his Twitter account after tellling White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders she should “Rot in Hell You Bitch” for defending Sen. Lindsey Graham amid the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.

Aaron-Schlossberg-Article-201805171926
Manhattan attorney Aaron Schlossberg’s rant against employees speaking Spanish at a Mexican Restaurant provoked a firestorm on social media.

Anna-Lushchinskaya-Article-201812142118
Another viral video captured a second New York City lawyer who directed racially charged comments at bystanders.

Gavel-and-Book-Article-201710162142
“Egragious and outragesou” conduct by ex-Mintz Levin associate Anthony Jacob Zappin during his pro se legal war with his former wife, also an attorney, led to his disbarment.

Judicial-Robe-Article-201712011528
New York’s high court unanimously said that Civil Court Judge Terrence O’Connor’s “intemparate” and “inappropriate” behavior in the courtroom were bad enough, but his decision to not cooperate with an investigation into his actions also contributed to his removal from the bench.

The entire West Virginia Supreme Court was just impeached. By True Pundit


The entire West Virginia Supreme Court was just impeached. Here’s everything you need to know.
By Editor August 15, 2018 No Comments
http://www.theeventchronicle.com/news/north-america/the-entire-west-virginia-supreme-court-was-just-impeached-heres-everything-you-need-to-know/
By True Pundit

West Virginia lawmakers made a historic decision Monday: They voted to impeach the state’s entire Supreme Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state.

The West Virginia House of Delegates Judiciary Committee approved 14 articles of impeachment against the court’s four sitting justices last week. Their alleged grievances ranged from misusing taxpayer money for office renovations to using state-owned property, including a historic desk, for personal use.

The full House of Delegates considered the articles of impeachment on Monday, ultimately approving 11 of them through a series of votes that fell along party lines, the New York Times reported.

Eight of the articles targeted the court’s chief justice, Allen Loughry, who, according to the Times, has been suspended since June. Among other accusations, he is accused of lying to lawmakers and using state property for his personal use, including vehicles and gas cards.

The remaining justices — acting Chief Justice Margaret Workman and Justices Robin Davis and Elizabeth Walker — were impeached on three articles. Workman and Davis were impeached for overpaying senior status judges on lower courts, while Davis was impeached for misusing $500,000 in taxpayer funds on office renovations.

All four justices were charged with neglect of duty, abusing their power, and failing to reign in the spending of the others, according to NBC News.

The court’s fifth justice, Menis Ketchum, resigned last month before impeachment proceedings began. He has also pleaded guilty to a federal charge of defrauding the state of West Virginia. He faces 20 years in federal prison.

Meanwhile, Loughry, who was already on administrative leave prior to Monday’s developments, is facing a 22-count federal indictment for fraud, witness tampering, lying to federal investigators, and obstruction of justice. His criminal trial is set to begin in October. If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of 395 years in prison and a $5.5 million fine. – READ MORE

West Virginia Senate President Mitch Carmichael claims the Republican party is responsible for the state’s economic turnaround and believes the election of President Donald Trump has only added to their prosperity.

“For the first time in over 83 years the people of over West Virginia selected the Republicans to lead the state in 2014,” Carmichael told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Both houses have been Democrat for 83 years and that leadership brought us the lowest income per capita in the country.”

Carmichael blamed Democratic leadership for a loss in population and manufacturing jobs, then accused them of selling out to special interest groups.

Carmichael then praised Trump’s leadership and said the state was economically liberated when he was elected to the White House in 2016.

“Trump was an immediate relief to the energy sector,” Carmichael declared. “The night of the election it felt like the boot of the fed government had been lifted off our necks. President Trump has made a tremendous difference.”

One of the main issues still lingering for West Virginia is the opioid crisis, but Carmichael believes it can be tied to the state’s lack of economic prosperity.

“The most prominent area of opioid abuse are the places with the poorest economic climate,” he said. “Even in West Virginia, the specific areas hardest hit with addiction are the ones hardest hit economically with high unemployment.” – READ MORE

This article (The entire West Virginia Supreme Court was just impeached. Here’s everything you need to know.) was originally published on True Pundit and syndicated by The Event Chronicle.

Attorneys of the Month for January thru March 5th, 2018.


The following Georgia attorneys were disciplined and/or disbarred for the month Of March, 2018:

March 5, 2018
S18Y0348. IN THE MATTER OF SAM LOUIS LEVINE

Sam L. Levine
S18Y0350. IN THE MATTER OF CHRISTOPHER AARON CORLEY
S18Y0383. IN THE MATTER OF ANDRE KEITH SANDERS
S18Y0559. IN THE MATTER OF WALTER LINTON MOORE

Februry 19, 2018:
S18Y0315. IN THE MATTER OF NATALIE DAWN MAYS
S18Y0434. IN THE MATTER OF CHERYL JOYCE BRAZIEL
S18Y0511. IN THE MATTER OF DONALD EDWARD SMART

February 5, 2018:
S18Y0484. IN THE MATTER OF ADAM LORENZO SMITH

Adam L. Smith

January 29, 2018:
S17Y1329. IN THE MATTER OF RICKY W. MORRIS, JR.
S17Y1918. IN THE MATTER OF CLARENCE R. JOHNSON, JR.
S17Y2016. IN THE MATTER OF CAMERON SHAHAB
S18Y0142. IN THE MATTER OF ROBERT JUTZI HOWELL
S18Y0256. IN THE MATTER OF LARRY BUSH HILL
S18Y0264. IN THE MATTER OF CHRISTOPHER MARK MILLER
S18Y0269. IN THE MATTER OF LORNE HOWARD CRAGG
S18Y0387. IN THE MATTER OF RICHARD V. MERRITT

Rich Merritt

If you want to know more, go to Supreme Court of Georgia, 2018 Opinion sand Summaries
The number on the left hand side above, is the case number for the attorney. The Attorney discipline is at the end of each section. If you click the case number, you can read the Order,

Federal Jury Finds Atlanta Lawyer Engaged in Racketeering Enterprise

https://www.law.com/dailyreportonline/sites/dailyreportonline/2018/01/26/federal-jury-finds-atlanta-lawyer-engaged-in-racketeering-enterprise/?et=editorial&bu=Daily%20Report&cn=20180126&src=EMC-Email&pt=Breaking%20News&slreturn=20180026233637

By R. Robin McDonald | January 26, 2018 at 06:28 PM

Federal Jury Finds Atlanta Lawyer Engaged in Racketeering Enterprise
Millard Farmer, who made his name as an aggressive death penalty combatant across the South, was found by a preponderance of the evidence to have violated Georgia’s racketeering law with legal tactics.
By R. Robin McDonald | January 26, 2018 at 06:28 PM

Millard Farmer Millard Farmer (Photo: John Disney / ALM)

After a weeklong civil trial, a federal jury in Newnan on Friday found that Atlanta attorney Millard Farmer and his law practice engaged in a racketeering enterprise in violation of Georgia law.

The jury in the civil case determined by a preponderance of evidence that Farmer, as part of the racketeering enterprise, engaged in attempted theft by extortion, attempted bribery, intimidation of a court officer, influencing witnesses, interstate travel in aid of racketeering and interference with custody, according to the verdict.

The jury cleared Farmer of allegations that he violated federal racketeering laws, engaged in kidnapping for extortion, committed wire fraud or filed false reports of child abuse in furtherance of an extortion scheme, according to the verdict form.

It also awarded plaintiff John Murphy, a former Columbus mortage banker and financial planner, compensatory and treble punitive damages totaling $242,835.

The three-year-old civil case, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, stems from a protracted child custody battle in which Farmer represented Murphy’s former wife. The suit claims Farmer’s lawyering perverted the legal process and crossed the line into organized criminal behavior in an effort to extort payments from Murphy and his current wife—Renee Haugerud, the founder and chief financial officer of a New York hedge fund—and force the couple to relinquish custody of Murphy’s two sons from his previous marriage.

“This was not a case about money,” said Murphy’s attorney Buddy Parker of Maloy Jenkins Parker after the jury returned its verdict. “This was case about having Millard Farmer held responsible for the criminal conduct he committed.”

Farmer, he said, “claimed all along that what he did was lawful lawyering defending a client.” But Parker said he told the jury that Farmer’s litigation tactics amounted to “terroristic lawyering” designed to “exert as much financial pain and emotional pain” as possible over a custody modification petition that ultimately took four-and-a-half years to resolve.

Farmer, who is in his 70s, built his reputation as a death penalty combatant who at one time was allied with and partially funded by the Southern Poverty Law Center to fight capital punishment across the South. Farmer developed an aggressive tactic he dubbed “conflictineering”—the creation or use of an event that would “expose the hypocrisy or immorality of a person involved in a dispute.”

Farmer represented himself during the litigation. His cellphone was not accepting calls, nor could he be reached for comment. He previously told The Daily Report that, despite the allegations, no crime was committed, so there could be no racketeering enterprise.

The jury verdict included findings that Farmer:

Attempted to bribe Coweta Superior Court Judge Quillian Baldwin by suing his court reporter and then offering to dismiss the suit if Baldwin recused from the litigation and made his recusal retroactive to predate his 2012 ruling giving custody of the two boys to their father.
Intimidated Baldwin’s court reporter by contacting her lawyer, saying he would dismiss the suit against her if she persuaded the judge to recuse retroactive to the custody ruling.
Tampered with witnesses and court-appointed personnel by making inflammatory accusations intended to damage the professional reputations of two court-appointed guardians ad litem and three court-appointed psychologists, the judge, and Haugerud, John Murphy’s current wife, either with litigation, threats to sue or complaints to their respective licensing or ethics boards.
Attempted to extort funds from Murphy and his wife by allegedly engaging in efforts to impair their credit and professional reputations through the dissemination of information accusing them of criminal offenses, and making false statements over interstate wires to the media.