Legal Ethics

Defense Lawyer Seeks Gag, Gets It—Then Talks to Media

After requesting and receiving a gag order from the judge in a high-profile Detroit-area murder trial, a defense lawyer now may have violated it.

Whether attorney Stephen Rabaut crossed the line will be clearer after his interview with local Channel 7 about the case is televised, according to the Detroit Free Press. At the defense’s request, Macomb County Circuit Judge Diane Druzinski issued a gag order in July that prohibits both sides from speaking to the media about “the character, credibility, or reputation of a party.” The defense contended when requesting the order, the newspaper writes, that extensive media coverage could taint the potential jury pool.

In advance promotions of Rabaut’s interview with WXYZ-TV, the station refers to Rabaut’s client, Stephen Grant, as a “confessed killer,” and says that the lawyer “tells all,” the article continues. Meanwhile, jury summonses will soon be in the mail for Grant’s Nov. 27 trial. He is accused of strangling and dismembering his 34-year-old wife earlier this year. Her torso was found in the couple’s garage about three weeks after Grant reported that she was missing.

Last month, Rabaut and his co-counsel asked the judge to remove them from the case. Their request was denied.

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