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High-Profile Lawyer Faces Indictment on Campaign Finance Charges

Posted Jul 24, 2008 8:56 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Prominent Los Angeles trial lawyer Pierce O'Donnell is about to be indicted on charges he violated federal campaign finance laws, the Los Angeles Times reports.

At issue is whether O’Donnell broke the law by asking employees to contribute to the 2004 presidential campaign of John Edwards and then reimbursing them, a lawyer for O’Donnell told the newspaper. The source was not identified.

Another high-profile lawyer, Geoffrey Fieger of Michigan, was acquitted of similar charges on June 2. His defense lawyer Gerry Spence had contended throughout the trial that Fieger had been the victim of partisan politics.

O’Donnell’s lawyers are making the same argument. They claim two dozen illegal campaign contribution cases that involved more egregious conduct were handled administratively by the Federal Elections Commission. Yet prosecutors in O’Donnell’s case have rejected his offer to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and pay a large fine, which would allow him to keep his law license, sources told the Times.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office, Thom Mrozek, refused to comment on O’Donnell’s case but told the Times, "This office never considers politics when conducting investigations and determining when charges are appropriate."

Hat tip to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

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