News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Harvey Weinstein sues for return of legal fee; judge's arm touch leads to reprimand

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harvey weinstein

Harvey Weinstein in 2014. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Weinstein sues lawyer for return of $1M fee

A May 4 lawsuit filed by former film producer Harvey Weinstein claims that lawyer Jose Baez refused to refund a $1 million fee despite withdrawing from his sexual assault case after six months. Baez is the lawyer who represented Casey Anthony, the Florida mom acquitted in the death of her 2-year-old daughter. Weinstein’s suit said Baez had insisted on a nonrefundable retainer, even though it is prohibited by attorney ethics rules in New York. When Weinstein sought an accounting, the spreadsheet that he received had vague and duplicative entries, the suit alleged. Weinstein was convicted of sexual assault in February 2020. A lawyer for Baez said the suit was “yet another predatory act by a vile fiend, utterly lacking in credibility,” according to Reuters Legal. (Law360, Reuters Legal)

Reprimand upheld for judge’s reaction to assistant in lawyer seating

The Texas Special Court of Review has upheld a public reprimand for a Houston judge accused of grabbing or touching a legal assistant’s arm while telling her that she couldn’t sit in the courtroom space reserved for lawyers. Judge Lee Harper Wilson of Harris County, Texas, had been on the bench less than 30 days when the incident happened in his courtroom. He had maintained that it isn’t objectionable for a judge to gently touch someone. The court said the judge wasn’t patient, dignified and courteous. (Law360)

Judge scolds worker at jobsite for wearing T-shirt in hearing

A Detroit judge criticized a construction worker for wearing a T-shirt to a virtual hearing, telling him: “If you come to court, you dress for court.” The construction worker explained that he was on the job, but Judge Ronald Giles was unmoved. “In my court, if you don’t dress for court, I’m gonna dress you”—in jail attire, Giles said. (Fox 2 Detroit)

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