News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Lawyer accused of deducting kickbacks; Greenland purchase was exam hypothetical

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Lawyer is accused of claiming illegal kickbacks as business expenses

Houston personal injury lawyer Jeffrey Stern is accused of paying kickbacks to case runners who illegally solicited clients and then deducting the payments as business expenses. He is also accused of trying to conceal the scheme by tampering with evidence and obstructing justice. A lawyer for another defendant called the case “nothing more than big insurance’s latest jihad against the Texas personal injury bar.” Stern was previously in the news when he was charged with soliciting the murder of his wife; prosecutors later dropped the case for lack of evidence. (Courthouse News Service, the Houston Chronicle, federal indictment)

Greenland purchase made this law prof’s 2017 exam

What kind of issues would need to be negotiated in an agreement for the United States to buy Greenland? Roger Clark, a professor at Rutgers University at Camden, asked his students that question in a 2017 exam for his international law class. In Rogers’ hypothetical, the Danish ambassador suggested the idea to then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; in reality it was President Donald Trump’s idea. (Rutgers Law School)

Taped conversation leads to lawyer’s guilty plea

Alabama lawyer William “Billy” Underwood pleaded guilty to jury tampering Tuesday. Prosecutors said Underwood had attempted to influence a potential juror in a civil case who recorded their conversation. Underwood will have to give up his law license and spend four months in the Colbert County Jail. (WHNT, the Times Daily, Alabama attorney general press release)

Another suit filed over public charge rule

New York has joined with the states of Connecticut and Vermont to file a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s public charge rule. The rule broadens the definition of “public charge” to make more immigrants ineligible for green cards and visas because they receive or are likely to government assistance. Thirteen other states filed a challenge last week. (The Hill, press release)

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