Legal Ethics

Casey Anthony Lawyer Cheney Mason Makes Lewd Gesture; Is Disbarred Lawyer Filing Bar Complaint?


Updated and Corrected: The Florida Bar said Thursday afternoon it has not received any complaint about the conduct of a Casey Anthony lawyer who made lewd gestures at spectators during a restaurant celebration of the not guilty verdict.

Lawyer Cheney Mason drank champagne at Terrace 390 after the verdict on Tuesday, reportedly making a lewd gesture using both hands and then flipping off spectators outside the restaurant, the Orlando Sentinel reports. ABC News posted a photo.

Mason reacted after a spectator had called out for the lawyers to leave the restaurant, prompting only smiles from the lead Anthony lawyer, Jose Baez, the Orlando Sentinel reported in an earlier story. Mason, however, moved close to the door and made the gestures, the story says.

The Sentinel and the Associated Press reported earlier today that John Thompson of Coral Gables, Fla., filed an ethics complaint against Mason complaining that the gestures violate rules requiring lawyers to maintain the integrity of the profession. However, AP removed its story after Florida Bar spokeswoman Karen Kirksey said no complaint was filed.

The John Thompson referenced in the Sentinel story was Jack Thompson, the lawyer disbarred in 2008 after a referee determined he tried to harass or disparage lawyers and judges who ruled against him. Thompson had provided the Sentinel with a copy of his complaint against Mason.

In an update to its story, the Sentinel said the complaint had not yet been filed and identified Thompson as a disbarred lawyer “with a reputation for making nuisance filings to the Florida Bar.” The Sentinel also disclosed that it had mistakenly identified Thompson in an earlier story as a lawyer because he had said he had a J.D.

Florida Bar spokeswoman Karen Kirksey confirmed in response to a July 27 query by the ABA Journal that Thompson later filed his complaint with the bar, but the bar counsel concluded that disciplinary proceedings were not warranted.

Last updated on July 27 to include information on the Sentinel’s mistaken identification of Thompson as a lawyer and to note that a complaint was filed with the Florida Bar.


Correction

Last updated on July 27 to include information on the Sentinel’s mistaken identification of Thompson as a lawyer and to note that a complaint was filed with the Florida Bar.


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