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Lawyer Who Skipped Trial, Traveled to Paris Wedding Is Convicted of Contempt

Posted Oct 22, 2012 6:15 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A lawyer who clashed with a Minnesota judge says an appeal is likely after she was convicted of misdemeanor contempt for skipping a trial last year to attend her brother’s wedding in Paris.

After the verdict on Thursday, lawyer M. Tayari Garrett declared that “an injustice has been done,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. She was sentenced to a year of probation and fined $1,000.

The story says Garrett intentionally skipped her client’s mortgage fraud trial to attend the wedding. Previous coverage said Garrett had claimed she was hospitalized on the trial start date and left for France two days later.

In the contempt trial, Garrett maintained that “some people got their feelings hurt" by pretrial battles in the mortgage fraud trial, the Star Tribune says. Garrett had battled over discovery and other issues and had twice sought to oust Judge William Howard from the case, claiming judicial misconduct and racial bias. She had twice asked Howard to delay the mortgage fraud trial and bought her airline ticket five days before he refused her second request, the Star Tribune says.

In the contempt trial, Garrett suggested that Howard colluded with the prosecutor to build the contempt case against her, leading to a scolding by the presiding judge, according to the newspaper account. "It was appalling for me to listen to," said Judge Leslie Metzen.

Garrett handles mostly federal cases in both Minnesota and Texas.

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