Legal Ethics

Ethics Board Recommends Suspension for Lawyer Who Told Ohio State Coach of Player Misconduct

An Ohio ethics board is recommending a six-month suspension for a lawyer accused of revealing confidential information when he tipped then-Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel about player misconduct.

The Ohio Supreme Court’s Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline recommends the suspension for Christopher Cicero, accused of warning the coach in emails that players were trading memorabilia for tattoos, the Associated Press reports.

According to the ethics complaint, Cicero learned the information when meeting with a tattoo parlor owner to discuss possible representation in a drug-trafficking case. According to an earlier Columbus Dispatch story, Cicero revealed that championship rings and other memorabilia had been found in a federal raid of the potential client’s home.

The board ruled on a motion for reconsideration. Cicero had cited an incorrect transcript of a statement he made in a board hearing. The corrected transcript added the word “never” to Cicero’s statement about his meeting with the owner: “I never quoted him a legal fee and that’s just it.” The board’s suspension recommendation remained the same, however.

Tressel resigned after he was accused of failing to quickly report the allegations.

Prior coverage: “Criminal Defense Lawyer Whose Tip Led to OSU Football Coach’s Resignation Faces Related Ethics Case” “Lawyer Held in Contempt, Spends 5 Days in Jail for Lying to Court to Get Out of Speeding Ticket”

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