Friday, March 22, 2013
Not Angela Lansbury said,
Yes indeed, anything is possible, and I could be way off base here. But I’m not arguing that O’Mara suborned perjury, only that his own client implicated him in that crime and that that set up a conflict of interest between lawyer and client, where Fogen had an interest in being deemed credible in all things and O’Mara had an interest in Fogen being deemed a liar. O’Mara needs to be able to say to whomever it may concern that everyone knows his client was a liar. He absolutely buried Fogen with quotes like “credibility problem” and “need to restore his credibility” when he should have defended his client’s credibility and thrown Shellie under the bus all alone. When a lawyer has an interest in his client being seen as a liar, he can’t ethically represent that client.
I’m not sure a judge can bounce a defense lawyer directly, but s/he could file a complaint with the bar and/or state supreme court and halt the proceedings until the complaint is resolved. That complaint would be heard almost immediately and would have the effect in most cases of pressuring the lawyer to withdraw. The judge would need to complete the record of the ethical lapse before filing the complaint, which in this case would include Fogen’s phone call and O’Mara’s letter, together proving the conflict. So I think when O’Mara saw Lester file his letter over a month after it was submitted, he was on alert for disciplinary action. I don’t see any another reason for Lester to have entered that letter into the record.
You raise an interesting issue but I do not expect Judge Nelson, or any other judge in her situation, would take any action against O’Mara because it would be viewed as interfering in the attorney-client relationship. For better or worse, the defendant selected O’Mara as his attorney and O’Mara made a strategic decision to concede that the defendant and his wife misrepresented their assets because he was innocent, unsophisticated and did not trust the court to deal with him fairly.
The strategy worked because Judge Lester permitted the defendant to be released on bail.
I do not believe O’Mara was ever in any danger of being charged with a crime relating to his knowledge of the money and the passport and he duly informed the court about them after the bail hearing. Therefore, I do not believe that it’s fair to state that he had” an interest in his client being seen as a liar.”
Finally, Judge Nelson may not even know about the recorded jailhouse call and the defendant’s comment about the $37,000.
Nevertheless, I do believe that O’Mara has a conflict of interest between his desire to use this case as a vehicle to fame and fortune and his obligation to represent his client’s best interests.
Playing the race card, demonizing the victim, misrepresenting the facts to the media, and trying this case in the court of public opinion are not helping his client.