Election Law

Celebrity Litigator Pleads Guilty to Illegal Campaign Contributions


Pierce O’Donnell, a Los Angeles litigator whose clients over the years included Faye Dunaway, Art Buchwald and Steven Spielberg, pleaded guilty yesterday to making illegal campaign contributions.

The federal plea agreement states that the two charges are misdemeanors, according to the Los Angeles Times.

O’Donnell, a former clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron W. White, agreed to serve a six-month prison sentence, and pay a $20,000 fine. In March the State Bar of California issued a two-year stayed suspension (PDF) for O’Donnell, with two months of actual suspension.

According to federal prosecutors, O’Donnell solicited campaign contributions for John Edwards’ 2004 presidential campaign from employees and at least one relative, reimbursing them at $2,000 each.

It was the second time O’Donnell got in trouble for illegal campaign contributions. In 2006 he pled no contest in state court to using a false name when making contributions to James K. Hahn’s 2001 mayoral campaign.

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