Legal Ethics

California Divorce Lawyer Is Charged in Plot to Bug Cars of Her Clients' Spouses


A California divorce lawyer has been accused in a criminal indictment of planting listening devices in the vehicles of her clients’ spouses to obtain information for legal proceedings.

Mary Alice Nolan, 60, of San Ramon is accused of referring clients to a private investigator who installed the listening devices, report the Contra Costa Times, the Los Angeles Times and a press release. According to the indictment, Nolan and staffers acting on her instructions used the devices to eavesdrop on conversations.

Nolan is charged with conspiring to unlawfully intercept communications, unlawfully intercepting communications, and tax evasion, according to the Contra Costa Times. The tax counts allege Nolan reported losses when she made more than $1.8 million.

The indictment doesn’t mention allegations that have surfaced in civil suits claiming the spouses of Nolan’s clients were set up for drunken driving arrests by the private eye, Christopher Butler, the Contra Costa Times says. Butler pleaded guilty to illegal wiretapping in May. He admitted hiring beautiful women to encourage his targets to drink alcohol and then calling police to report drunken driving, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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