Former doctor is convicted of attempted murder of lawyer who opposed him in 2 lawsuits
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A former doctor was convicted Wednesday of the attempted murder of a California lawyer who opposed him in litigation stemming from a road-rage incident.
Richard Lee Austin, 68, was convicted after being tried for the third time on the attempted murder charge, the Orange County Register reports.
Jurors were unable to reach a verdict on the charge in the previous prosecutions, leading to mistrials.
But jurors did convict Austin previously on charges of stalking and trying to kidnap the lawyer. He gave up his medical license after those convictions, according to previous coverage by the Albuquerque Journal.
Austin had targeted lawyer Limor Lehavi of Newport Beach, California, the articles report. Prosecutors said Austin showed up at the lawyer’s office with zip ties, duct tape and a loaded gun. Because he was wearing a wig and sunglasses, Austin aroused suspicion and he was kicked out of the building.
The lawyer’s colleagues spotted Austin in the parking garage, and he nearly hit one of them as he drove off in a rental car, prosecutors said.
A lawyer for Austin maintained that his client was at the lawyer’s office because he wanted to get her fired.
The litigation involving Austin and Lehavi stemmed from Austin’s arrest in 2008 in an alleged road-rage confrontation with another driver, the articles report. The other driver sued Austin, and the case settled. Austin then sued his insurer for failing to cover the settlement. Lehavi defended the insurer and won the case.
Austin then sued Lehavi, losing that case, too. He was ordered to pay attorney fees in both cases.