Criminal Justice

‘Austin Under 40’ lawyer arrested in FBI sex-trafficking sting

A Texas lawyer who received an “Austin Under 40” award was charged with prostitution last week in a nationwide sex-trafficking sweep.

Lawyer Judson Sutherland, 37, was charged with misdemeanor prostitution in the FBI’s Operation Cross Country initiative, report the Austin American Statesman, the Austin Business Journal and KXAN.

According to KXAN, authorities said Sutherland was arrested for alleged involvement with underage youths.

Sutherland received an Austin Under 40 award in April for best legal talent in the city, though his name has since been removed from the awards website. He is among the founding partners of the law firm Hajjar Sutherland & Peters.

The law firm released a statement to the Austin Business Journal saying it is disturbed by news of Sutherland’s arrest and it is conducting its own investigation. “In no way, shape or form is this being overlooked or discounted by this firm,” the statement says. “We expect our attorneys and staff to comport themselves with class, dignity and in such a way as to reflect the values and ethics of this firm. It is up to the partners of Hajjar Sutherland & Peters LLP to set that example. To the extent that such an example was not set, we will deal with that internally. At this point, Mr. Sutherland has been a partner at this firm and our friend for the last nine years; until we make our internal conclusions, it is hasty to comment upon or opine on the media’s version of events, and we hope others will follow suit in this regard.”

The statement goes on to say that the firm has 12 lawyers and seven staff members, and the charge will not affect the quality of its work.

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