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Legal Ethics

Juror’s Hidden Legal Past Spurs New Trial Motion by Convicted Tax Lawyers

Posted Aug 16, 2011 7:44 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Manhattan juror who voted to convict two former Jenkens & Gilchrist partners in a tax shelter scheme never disclosed she was a suspended lawyer with an arrest record, according to a motion for a new trial.

Defense lawyers began to investigate juror Catherine Conrad after prosecutors turned over a letter she wrote praising the prosecution, the New York Law Journal reports. “KUDOS to you and your team!” she wrote. Bloomberg News and the New York Post also have stories.

The Jenkens lawyers, Paul Daugerdas and Donna Guerin, were convicted in May along with two nonlawyer defendants. Prosecutors had contended at trial that the lawyers promoted tax shelters that created $1 billion in phony tax losses.

According to the new trial motion, Conrad hid that she had been suspended from law practice for alcohol dependency and professional misconduct. She is also accused of failing to disclose at least four arrests and guilty pleas to several misdemeanors, including petit larceny for two instances of shoplifting. The motion also claims she told police who arrested her during a domestic dispute on her honeymoon that her husband was a Mafia boss.

Conrad’s lawyer, Mark Jay Heller, told the New York Post that his client has been mischaracterized, she was an impartial juror, and her husband is not in the Mafia.

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