After suspension, Judicial Watch founder alleges legal 'jihad' to remove pro-Trump lawyers
Larry Klayman. Image from Shutterstock.
Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman has gone on the offensive after his 18-month suspension for ethics violations while representing a woman in a lawsuit against Voice of America.
In a notice of intent to file a petition for rehearing en banc, Klayman claims that the District of Columbia lawyer discipline apparatus is “on a legal ‘jihad’ to attempt to remove pro-Trump, conservative and Republican lawyer advocates” from law practice.
Klayman claims that the ad hoc hearing committee in his case is comprised of “leftist anti-Trump Democrats” and one “avowed Communist.”
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals rejected those arguments when it ordered an 18-month suspension Sept. 15.
“The record,” the court said, “does not support Mr. Klayman’s repeated assertions of bias.”
The court required Klayman to show fitness to practice law before readmission.
The suspension stems from Klayman’s representation of a woman referred to as “E.S.” in a sexual harassment lawsuit against Voice of America, an international broadcaster. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals affirmed findings that Klayman:
• Represented E.S. at the same time that he professed his love for her in conversations and an email, creating a conflict of interest that impaired his ability to represent her.
• Failed to abide by the wishes of his client by failing to dismiss a lawsuit that he filed against the governing board of the Voice of America.
• Revealed client secrets as a result of his publicity campaign for her suit without obtaining the informed consent of E.S.
• Did not consent with E.S. before taking important steps in the litigation.
• Continued to take action in the case after E.S. fired him.
Klayman had denied having romantic intentions toward E.S. To the extent he had feelings for her, that made him work harder, he had argued. He also said he discussed the case with E.S., and she had agreed to pursue publicity, despite an initial reluctance to do so.
Among the witnesses who testified on Klayman’s behalf was a union representative at Voice of America, who testified that E.S. agreed to publicity and had herself distributed an article that Klayman wrote about the case.
Klayman was suspended for 90 days in June 2020 in a different case for switching sides in Judicial Watch matters after leaving the conservative watchdog group. He was temporarily suspended in January 2021 in the new case pending a final decision by the court.
Klayman told Reuters that the new suspension was a “political hit.” He said he had tossed out his records in the case because he thought that the matter was over. He wasn’t charged with ethics violations until seven years after E.S. filed a complaint with attorney regulators.
In his notice, Klayman argued the “12-year saga” should have been time-barred.
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