We have the makings of a trend: inappropriate contacts between participants in jury trials. These contacts can be problematic because a jury trial constitutes a delicate ecosystem, in which contacts and communications between actors are regulated strictly to ensure the fairness of the proceedings.
We recently mentioned a case where a juror got sentenced to community service after trying to friend the defendant on Facebook. Well, at least he didn’t try to “poke” her (although perhaps a desire to poke her is what prompted the problematic friend request).
Now we bring you news of, er, more intimate contact between a witness and a lawyer — which culminated in a mistrial….
UPDATE (11:00 AM): Photo of massage therapist Liudmyla Ksenych, a petite and pretty brunette, added after the jump.
As someone who is nearing the age of 30, I’m a little ashamed to admit that I listen to Justin Bieber’s music. Fine, I don’t just “listen” to Justin Bieber’s music. I know all of the words to several Justin Bieber songs. They are just so damn catchy.
Anyway, teenagers today are obsessing over the Biebs like how I went nuts for New Kids on the Block, then the Backstreet Boys, and finally *NSYNC. I wasn’t truly obsessed, though (I only saw one *NSYNC concert). But these Bieber fan girls are die-hard, and even have a name for themselves: Beliebers. That’s a little over the top, even for crazed teenyboppers.
And in Mexico, one Belieber chica is truly going loca in an attempt to score a ticket to Justin Bieber’s Mexico City concert. She’s so loca, in fact, that she’s willing to trade her virginidad for him….
* The hotel maid behind DSK’s extended stay in New York has now sued her alleged attacker. Remember, this is all about the truth. It has nothing to do with money. [CNN]
* Should you be worried about the stock market’s seppuku yesterday? If you like money, then probably. If you like your job as an M&A attorney, then definitely. [The Recorder]
* Illinois is giving sex trafficking victims the chance to vacate their prostitution convictions. Even if Reema Bajaj gets convicted, she still couldn’t use this law to clear her name. [Chicago Sun-Times]
* Therapy dogs aren’t just for law school libraries anymore. Now they’re appearing in courtrooms. But is an adorable dog unfair to defendants? Only if you hate dogs… and justice. [New York Times]
Today we bring you two tales of Chicago-area lawyers accused of naughtiness. Chicago is a beautiful city in the summer, but some of its attorneys are facing ugly allegations.
Ladies first. What’s going on with Reema Bajaj, the rather attractive Illinois lawyer accused of prostitution? We’ve mentioned Bajaj here and there over the past few weeks, but we haven’t had hard news about her since June. Is her case any closer to resolution?
Apparently so. A plea deal is near, according to the Daily Chronicle, and Bajaj is scheduled back in court on August 31. As you may recall, Reema Bajaj has been charged with two misdemeanors and one felony. If she pleads guilty to just a misdemeanor, can she keep her Illinois law license? Readers, please enlighten us.
Let’s hear more about Reema from one reader who knows her personally — don’t worry, he’s not a customer — and then learn about another twentysomething Chicago lawyer accused of more-serious criminal conduct….
(Maybe he should run for elective office? It worked out for Alcee Hastings, who successfully ran for Congress after getting impeached from his federal judgeship.)
Murdoch is retiring pursuant to an agreement with the state Judicial Standards Commission, which had started a disciplinary investigation (which will now conclude). Pat Murdoch will have more time to focus on his defense in the criminal case against him.
On that subject, the contours of his defense are starting to take shape….
* To be clear, hiring a legal secretary who doubles as a personal prostitute is not okay. Yes, we finally have a punishment for Samir Zia Chowhan’s “adult gigs” legal secretary ad. [Legal Profession Blog]
* Is it time to start getting civilly disobedient with the TSA? [WSJ Law Blog]
* It’s possible that the House Ethics Committee screwed up the Maxine Waters investigation. That Committee is so incompetent that if it was an elected official it’d be called “Maxine Waters.” [Politico]
* The court awards $47K in damages over a stolen laptop. I wish I owned something that was worth nearly $50K if it was stolen. [Legal Skills Prof Blog]
* Indiana man prevented from donating blood because he “seemed gay.” You know, Indiana is starting to “seem dumb” to me. [Hip Hop Wired]
* As the economy heats up, there will probably more people quitting their jobs, so here is a quick refresher course on how to quit appropriately. [The Awl]
* It’s Nelson Mandela’s birthday. I call him “Nelson Mandela” and not “Madiba,” because I don’t think watching Invictus qualifies me for that level of familiarity. [Blawg Review]
So far, our Lawyers of the Month have been a motley crew. Dying helps. So does being incredibly stupid.
But this month we have a lawyer who won our Lawyer of the Month competition just for his old-fashioned practice of the law. Yep, in a month where we had naked people and dead people, an actual legal person won the competition….
I’ll always be grateful to Paul Bergrin, the New Jersey federal prosecutor turned notorious criminal defense attorney. Thanks to him, I’ll never have to worry about being the most scandalous alumnus of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
While working as an assistant U.S. attorney, I wrote a mildly snarky blog about federal judges, pretending to be a woman, until I outed myself in the pages of the New Yorker. That pales in comparison to what Bergrin stands accused of doing, including (but not limited to) the following: operating a real-estate scam, which defrauded lenders of over $1 million; running a high-volume drug dealership, which was apparently big enough to move 120 pounds of uncut cocaine; running an illegal escort service; and, most seriously of all, having witnesses murdered to keep them from testifying against his clients.
It’s hard to believe that Paul Bergrin was once a federal prosecutor. It’s not hard to believe that he is, in the words of New York magazine, “The Baddest Lawyer in the History of Jersey.”
But let’s recall that the charges against Bergrin are just that — charges, which Bergrin disputes. Last week, represented by prominent defense lawyer Lawrence Lustberg, Bergrin appeared in federal court in Newark and pleaded not guilty to all 33 counts in the 139-page indictment. Bergrin’s trial is currently set for October 11 before Judge William J. Martini.
In light of the astounding charges leveled against him, Paul Bergrin has taken on a larger-than-life aura — the man, the myth, the legend. What is he really like?
Ms. JD is hosting their 2nd annual cocktail benefit to raise money for the Global Education Fund. The event will be held on August 21, 2014 at 111 Minna in San Francisco. Our goal is to raise $20,000 to fund the legal educations of four dedicated law students in Uganda who count on our support to continue their studies at Makerere University during the 2014-15 academic year.
The Global Education Fund enable womens in developing countries to pursue legal educations who otherwise would not have access to further education. According to the World Bank, investment in education for girls has one of the highest rates of return to promote development. In Uganda, more than 45% of women over the age of 25 have no schooling at all, and men are more than twice as likely as women to have access to higher education. Together, we can work to end educational inequality. For more information about the program, please visit http://ms-jd.org/programs/global-education-fund/
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We at Kinney Asia have made a number of FCPA / White Collar US associate placements in Hong Kong / China thus far in 2014. Most of such placements have been commercial litigation associates from major US markets, fluent in Mandarin, switching to FCPA / White Collar litigation. Some have already had FCPA experience, but those are difficult candidates for firms to find (this will change in coming years as US firms are now promoting FCPA / White Collar to their 2L summers who are fluent in Mandarin and have an interest in transferring to China at some point).
Legal Week quoted Kinney’s Head of Asia, Evan Jowers, extensively in the following relevant article here.
There is a new trend in the market, though, where mid-level transactional US associates, fluent in spoken Mandarin and written Chinese, are interviewing for and in some cases landing junior FCPA / White Collar spots in Hong Kong / China at very top tier US firms.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.