Legal Ethics

Client says lawyer hypnotized her into sex acts; emergency license suspension sought

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A Tuesday court filing by the Lorain County Bar Association is seeking the emergency suspension of a longtime Ohio lawyer, after an investigation in which a client wore a wire after police obtained a warrant to record their meeting.

The client, backed by recorded evidence, contends that Sheffield attorney Michael Fine hypnotized her into performing sex acts and made explicit sexual comments to her, including an instruction to bring a vibrator to a meeting, reports the Chronicle-Telegram in an article based on the Ohio Supreme Court case.

Fine, who has been in practice since 1981, allegedly told the woman “they have a ‘special bond,’ and that their conversations are ‘private conversations between us, nobody else, just us, right,’ that she is ‘being made love to by the world’s greatest lover,’ that she will not ‘cancel her next meeting,’ and that all she will remember about their conversation is that ‘we talked about legal matters,’” wrote bar association lawyer Chris Cook in the filing.

The woman retained Fine in 2013 to handle a custody matter. After becoming uneasy about their interactions, she approached the police and independently began recording their meetings, the Chronicle-Telegram reports. The police later obtained a search warrant, and recorded a Nov. 7 meeting between Fine and his client. The investigators, who were monitoring the meeting remotely, entered the office and halted the meeting when it appeared that Fine had put her in a trance and was giving her graphic commands, the court filing states.

A second client has also accused Fine of trying to hypnotize her during meetings earlier this year about her divorce case, court documents say.

The Chronicle-Telegram article doesn’t include any comment from Fine and he did not immediately respond Wednesday to a phone message left by the ABA Journal.

Fine has not been charged with a crime, but a criminal investigation is ongoing, the newspaper reports.

The bar association is seeking to suspend Fine’s law license on an emergency basis, contending that he poses a serious threat of harm to the public.

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