Criminal Justice

Lawyer on trial in synthetic pot case shoots himself; suicide note could have case information


Updated: A federal judge has declared a mistrial after a Louisiana lawyer accused of aiding a synthetic marijuana operation shot himself in the head.

Carencro lawyer Barry Domingue died from the single gunshot wound after he was hospitalized on Wednesday, the Advertiser reports.

U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote declared a mistrial on Wednesday, according to the Advertiser and the Advocate. U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley said Domingue left a suicide note with information that could be relevant to the case.

Domingue and a co-defendant, Lafayette lawyer Daniel Stanford, were being tried on conspiracy charges related to their advice to a synthetic marijuana business called Curious Goods. In opening statements on Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Collin Sims said Domingue and Stanford aided the criminal enterprise that sold synthetic marijuana made with banned substances.

Two other defendants have told prosecutors they paid the two lawyers nearly $60,000 for legal services in money earned from the sale of illegal drugs, the Advertiser says. Prosecutors had alleged Domingue acted as a manager for the operation, renting warehouse space and hiring and firing employees, the Advocate says.

A friend, lawyer William Goode, was in court to watch the proceedings on Tuesday. He told the Advocate that the two lawyers were innocent. Dominque was “doing his job as a lawyer,” Goode said. “Was he hands-on? Yes. Did he have any idea that the product that was being sold illegal? Hell no.” Stanford also says he was only acting as a lawyer.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Two Lawyers Federally Indicted re Claimed Retail Distribution of Potpourri Laced With Synthetic Pot”

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Updated at 12:15 p.m. to add prior coverage and at 1:35 p.m. to report that Domingue has died.

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