* 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]
- Baseball, Libraries / Librarians, Mergers and Acquisitions, Money, Morning Docket, Pets, Prostitution, Sexual Harassment, Utah
- Crime, Divorce Train Wrecks, Family Law, Hotties, Murder, Prostitution, Sex, Sex Scandals, Small Law Firms
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….
Here’s a quick update on the unfortunate tale of Albert “Pat” Murdoch, the New Mexico state court judge who has been accused of raping a prostitute. He will be retiring from the bench, as of Friday, and he has agreed never to seek another judicial office in the state.
(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….
- Crime, Drinking, Drugs, DUI / DWI, Prostitution, Rape, Sex, Sex Scandals, State Judges, State Judges Are Clowns
Oh goodness. Today is shaping up to be “Misbehaving Judges Day” here at Above the Law.
One judge, new to these pages, is accused of a serious crime: rape. And supposedly there’s a video of the alleged act.
Let’s look at the allegations against the two men….
* 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….
- Cocaine / Crack, Crime, Drugs, Murder, New Jersey, Paul Bergrin, Prostitution, U.S. Attorneys Offices
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?
Okay, we were really late with the May Lawyer of the Month reader poll. But that was in part because the May candidates were quite dull.
There is nothing dull about the June Lawyer of the Month candidates. I count two candidates who would be runaway winners if they didn’t have to face each other, and two other candidates that would be darkhorse choices to win in any other month.
The scandalous allegations about the June candidates put the sizzle in summer. And no, I don’t know why I wrote that sentence as if I were writing ad copy for Applebee’s…
- Breasts, Crime, Hotties, Pictures, Pornography, Pro Bono, Prostitution, Public Interest, Sex, Sex Scandals, Small Law Firms, Solo Practitioners
I have previously expressed my belief in the innocence of Reema N. Bajaj, the 25-year-old lawyer who has been charged with prostitution. This Illinois solo practitioner didn’t strike me as a prostitute — and some who know her personally concur. A classmate of Bajaj from Northern Illinois University College of Law expressed his shock at the charges, and college students whom Bajaj taught described a caring and considerate teacher — an unlikely lawbreaker.
But, in fairness to the prosecution, evidence does exist that could be construed as supporting the charges. And some of this evidence is rather salacious — to wit, photographs of Reema Bajaj’s bajayjay.
If you have delicate sensibilities, please stop reading here. If you have a stomach for somewhat scandalous (but still safe for work) material, however, you may continue….