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Legal Ethics

Defendant Claims Lawyers Breached Duty of Confidentiality by Revealing Suspicions

Posted Aug 27, 2012 8:38 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A man accused of a Clayton, Mo., parking garage bombing in October 2008 claims two of his former attorneys violated their duty of confidentiality by revealing their suspicions that he committed the crime.

Milton "Skip" Ohlsen III is accused of leaving a bomb in a gift basket that nearly killed lawyer John Gillis of Armstrong Teasdale, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Authorities believed the intended target was another lawyer, Richard Eisen, who parked in the same garage and drove an Acura TL that was almost identical to the one driven by the victim. Eisen had represented Ohlsen’s wife in their divorce.

Two lawyers who had represented Ohlsen, Alan Cohen and Jeff Witt, contacted authorities after the crime and said they believed Ohlsen was the perpetrator, the story says. Ohlsen is seeking to exclude evidence obtained as a result of the lawyers’ disclosures. He has previously denied any role in the bombing.

Cohen said at a July hearing that he felt he was justified in reporting his suspicion because he feared Ohlsen would try once again to injure or kill Eisen. Cohen had briefly represented Ohlsen in an effort to force Eisen off the divorce case.

According to a police report, Witt told authorities he recognized Ohlsen’s gait from a surveillance video. Witt said he had withdrawn from Ohlsen’s divorce case because his client was "losing it" and "was going to do something to hurt Eisen,” possibly by planting drugs in his car.

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