Former prosecutor and TV commentator faced suspension before suicide
Posted Jul 30, 2013 9:51 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A TV legal analyst and former prosecutor who died in an apparent suicide this month was facing a license suspension stemming from a billing dispute.
John Fahy, a former Bergen County prosecutor, shot himself on July 17 under a railroad trestle in East Rutherford. No suicide note was found. According to the Bergen County Record, Fahy had opened an email on June 29 informing him that a disciplinary board was recommending a license suspension because he had failed to comply with the findings of a fee arbitration committee.
Joe Orlando, a friend who is acting as a spokesperson for Fahy’s family, told the Bergen County Record that there could be a link to Fahy’s suicide. “Given the timing of the suspension, as well as the value he placed on his reputation, one could easily tie the two together as potential cause and effect for his passing,” Orlando said. “But there is no way for us to ever be absolutely certain.”
The billing dispute stems from a complaint filed by an imprisoned former real estate broker, Jamila Davis, accused of selling homes to straw buyers at inflated prices, the story says. It’s unclear how Fahy was involved in Davis’ case, but her former lawyer, Thomas Nooter, says Fahy may have written a motion to reopen the case that Davis filed in her own name. Davis’ family claims Fahy didn’t do work he was paid to do.
But Davis’ mother, Liddie, said the disputed amount wasn’t enough to explain the suicide. “It wasn’t that much money, for a rich man like that,” she told the Bergen County Record.
Fahy was also a former assistant U.S. Attorney in Newark, where he oversaw the political corruption unit, and practiced law at the firm he helped found, Fahy-Choi. He made frequent appearances as a court commentator, appearing in June on MSNBC to discuss the trial of George Zimmerman.