Criminal Justice

MI Lawyer Fieger Indicted

Posted Aug 27, 2007 6:02 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Controversial Michigan lawyer Geoffrey Fieger has been indicted on charges he conspired to make about $127,000 in illegal campaign contributions to the 2004 campaign of John Edwards.

The indictment claims Fieger’s law firm reimbursed employees and contractors who made individual $2,000 contributions to Edwards, the legal limit, according to the Detroit News. The Democratic political candidate was unaware of the illegal contributions, according to a U.S. Justice Department press release. Fieger is also charged with trying to blame a deceased officer of the firm for the payments.

The indictment charges Fieger with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, making illegal campaign contributions and causing false statements. He is accused of conspiring with law partner Vernon Johnson, who is charged with making illegal contributions and causing false statements.

Both Fieger and Johnson deny the charges. Fieger claims the indictment is politically motivated. He issued a statement accusing U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales of waging "an unprecedented campaign to turn the United States Justice Department into a political arm of the Republican Party." He told the Detroit Free Press that no law prohibits an employer from rewarding employees who voluntarily donate to a political campaign.

Well-known Wyoming trial lawyer Gerry Spence will defend Fieger. Another Fieger lawyer, Richard Steinberg, told the Detroit News that the fight between Fieger and the U.S. Justice Department will be “the battle of the titans.”

Fieger was in the national spotlight when he represented assisted suicide doctor Jack Kevorkian. Fieger is appealing a reprimand for calling appellate judges “jackasses” for overturning a $15 million verdict and comparing them to Nazis during a radio interview.

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