Legal Ethics

10 Detroit Lawyers Probed Over $8.4M Claimed Sex Scandal Cover-up

  • Print

A controversial $8.4 million settlement by the city of Detroit that critics contend was made largely for the purpose of covering up a sex scandal involving Detroit’s mayor has put at least 10 lawyers on the hot seat.

They are now being investigated by the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission for their role in arranging a settlement of a police whistle-blower suit that city council members say they approved without understanding all the facts of the situation, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Citing the confidential nature of the investigations, commission director Robert Agacinski declines to discuss specifics but describes letters sent to the lawyers as “investigative rather than accusatory,” the newspaper says.

As discussed in earlier posts, the city agreed to the $8.4 million settlement after a lawyer representing the plaintiffs in a police whistle-blower lawsuit obtained some 14,000 text messages that reportedly documented an affair between the city’s mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, and his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty. The two were charged this week in an obstruction of justice case, based in part on their allegedly perjured testimony in a civil trial prior to the settlement, which text messages reportedly show to be inaccurate.

Meanwhile, critics have questioned the role of the lawyers involved in arranging the settlement, and say lawyers may have had a duty to step forward and clarify the facts during an apparent attempt to cover up the affair between Kilpatrick and Beatty.

Details are sketchy concerning the investigation of the 10 lawyers, but the newspaper says “the commission, the state supreme court’s legal watchdog, sent letters late last week to lawyers who represented the city of Detroit, Kilpatrick and the cops who sued the city.”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.