Legal Ethics

Detroit City Attorney Loses Law License for 90 Days for Lying re Then-Mayor's Text-Message Scandal


Saying that Detroit City Attorney Valerie Colbert-Osamuede had no prior record of ethics violations, was unlikely to err again and gained no personal benefit from her misconduct, a state lawyer discipline board has suspended her law license for 90 days, reports the Detroit Free Press.

The Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission may appeal the sanction as too lenient says its head, Robert Agacinski. “We had asked for disbarment,” he told the newspaper. “We knew we probably weren’t going to get that, but we wanted something more substantial.”

Colbert-Osamuede, like a number of other attorneys representing the city both in-house and as private practitioners, as well as opposing counsel, got caught up in promoting an $8.4 million settlement of police whistle-blower claims that involved a secret deal by the plaintiffs’ lawyer to keep quiet about steamy text messages between the then-mayor of the city and a top aide.

An Attorney Discipline Board panel determined last year that Colbert-Osamuede lied about the settlement to a Wayne County Circuit Court judge, the Detroit City Council and the Attorney Grievance Commission investigating the case.

The article doesn’t include any comment from Colbert-Osamuede or her counsel. Her suspension takes effect later this month, and she must also pay costs of about $22,500 for the disciplinary proceeding.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com (2009): “Did 5 Detroit Lawyers Craft $8.4M Pact to Conceal Ex-Mayor’s Perjury?”

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