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Former Public Defender Is Convicted in Sex-with-Client Case

Posted Sep 23, 2009 3:53 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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If a private practitioner has sex with a client, it might be pursued as an a legal ethics violation. But because of his governmental role, a former assistant public defender in New York has been criminally convicted of a misdemeanor for admittedly doing so.

An Albany County jury yesterday found Matthew Swedick, 39, guilty of one misdemeanor count of official misconduct but acquitted him on two others, reports the Times-Union.

His conviction was supported by audiotape evidence, although not all of it could be heard, and testimony by Latoya Gorton, 32, who said Swedick told her he would work harder on her case if she had sex with him.

Swedick said he never made any such promise to Gorton. His lawyer, James Long, says he plans to appeal, based on an argument that the audiotape evidence should not have been admitted.

Swedick could get as much as one year in jail, when he is sentenced, and also may be pursued by state bar authorities in a potential attorney disciplinary case.

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