Yet another love story lands a lawyer in the Was That Wrong column.
Was That Wrong? is a semi-regular column on Ethical Grounds. The column features stories of the absurd & outrageous from the world of legal ethics and attorney discipline. My aim is to highlight misconduct that I hope you’ll instinctively avoid without needing me to convene a continuing legal education seminar that cautions you to do so.
The column is inspired by the “Red Dot” episode of Seinfeld. In the episode, George Costanza has sex in his office with a character known only as “the cleaning woman.” His boss finds out. Here’s their ensuing exchange :
(Scene) In the boss’ office.
- Boss: I’m going to get right to the point. It has come to my attention that you and the cleaning woman have engaged in sexual intercourse on the desk in your office. Is that correct?
- George: Who said that?
- Boss: She did.
- George: Was that wrong? Should I have not done that? I tell you I gotta plead ignorance on this thing because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing was frowned upon, you know, cause I’ve worked in a lot of offices and I tell you people do that all the time.
- Boss: You’re fired.
- George: Well you didn’t have to say it like that.
Today’s lesson comes courtesy of a Brooklyn prosecutor who suspected that a love interest was actually involved with one of the prosecutor’s co-workers. Both Above The Law and The New York Law Journal have covered on the story.
Someday I hope to launch a YouTube channel tied to this blog. When I do, I’ll adapt Was That Wrong entries to the screen. Here’s how I envision scripting today’s:
- Supreme Court: We’re going to get right to the point. It’s come to our attention that you forged wiretap orders, by cutting & pasting a judge’s signature, in order to intercept communications between your love interest and one of your co-workers.
- Lawyer: Who said that?
- Supreme Court: You pled guilty to federal charges of illegally intercepting their communications.
- Lawyer: Was that wrong? Should I have not that? I tell you I gotta plead ignorance on this thing because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started practicing law that that sort of thing was frowned upon, you know, cause I’ve worked in a lot of offices and I tell you people do this stuff all the time.
- Supreme Court: Disbarred.
- Lawyer: Well you didn’t have to say it like that.
Here are the prior entries in the Was That Wrong? Hall of Fame
- Conspiring with police to have your paralegal set up opposing counsel for a DUI mid-trial
- Bringing a gun to your disbarment hearing
- Sexting a Client
- Defrauding Investors, with Client Funds as Collateral
- Outrageous Falsehoods on a Resume
- Judge Orders Attorney Handcuffed to Jury Box
- Swearing at a Judge who Overrules Your Objection
- Forging Judges’ Signatures
- Representing Plaintiff & Defendant . . . and sleeping with Defendant
- Prosecutor Snoops on Conversations between Defendant & Defense Counsel
- Smuggling toothbrushes and pepper spray to an incarcerated client
- Framing a volunteer at your kid’s elementary school for drug possession