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Legal Ethics

Former Judge Cleared in Fla. Probe of Woman’s $400K Gifts to His Family

Posted May 20, 2009 3:32 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A former Florida judge who made headlines when he presided over custody hearings concerning Anna Nicole Smith's infant daughter has been cleared once again in a second state agency investigation of over $400,000 in gifts reportedly made to his family by an elderly woman.

There were no indications of exploitation or inadequate supervision, the Department of Children & Families said today as it announced the closing of the administrative matter, reports the Miami Herald. It concerned financial gifts reportedly made to the family of Broward County Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin by 83-year-old Barbara Kasler.

Previously, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office found no criminal wrongdoing in a probe last year of Seidlin's relationship with Kasler. In a close-out memo, the office noted that Kasler gave no money to Seidlin himself, although she gifted other members of his family, the newspaper recounts.

The Seidlin family has cared for Kasler, a neighbor in their condominium building, for about six years, providing her with meals and taking her to doctor's appointments, reports an article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel published prior to today's DCF announcement.

On her side, Kasler gave Seidlin's wife, daughter and in-laws more than $400,000 in cash and paid nearly $55,000 in private school tuition for his young daughter, the newspaper reports.

Seidlin could not be reached for comment on the Sun-Sentinel story. However, his lawyer, Ed Shohat, condemned the "wholly baseless" allegations of mistreatment of Kasler and the "seemingly never-ending attack on Larry Seidlin's character." But for the family's diligent care for Kasler, he told the newspaper, Kasler would not be alive today.

Seidlin left the bench in 2007, when he reportedly hoped to pursue a television career.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Anna Nicole Judge Quits; TV Show Next?"

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