Lawyer fights ethics allegation with ABA Journal story
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An Alabama lawyer has told state bar officials that he doesn’t think that he has to respond to a TV station’s ethics allegation because it stems from a “viral fake news story.”
Lawyer Richard Jensen of Huntsville, Alabama, provided that written response to the Alabama State Bar Office of General Counsel on Jan. 31, WAAY-TV reports. The Huntsville television station had complained to the bar that Jensen offered an interview about a capital murder case in exchange for coverage of his personal movie.
WAAY-TV had reported on the incident in January. The TV station said Jensen made the offer when it contacted him for comment about his police officer client who was charged with the shooting death of his pregnant girlfriend.
In his response to general counsel investigators, Jensen included a copy of an ABA Journal article in which he told his side of the story, according to WAAY-TV.
Jensen wrote that he responded to the WAAY-TV report “in the only media which would print the truth of the matter, the ABA Journal.”
Jensen had told the Journal that his frustration over the local media’s failure to cover his movie was misinterpreted as an offer to give an interview in exchange for coverage. He said he never comments on cases, and he told a WAAY-TV reporter that he had nothing to say.
But when the reporter became petulant, Jensen said, he replied: Why would he give the media access to himself when the media didn’t respond to his press releases for a year? If you expect me to give you access, you have to be accessible to me when I have something to tell you.
But his statement wasn’t a demand for coverage in exchange for an interview, he told the Journal.
Jensen had been appointed to the police officer’s case. He withdrew from the representation after news coverage of the alleged offer. His request for payment on the legal work that he did over two days included 0.5 hours spent to “review biased media coverage,” according to WAAY-TV.
The television station said its allegation has been sent to the Madison County Bar Association Grievance Committee.
Jensen’s movie, No Man’s Law, is about an ex-border patrol agent who rescues a migrant girl. He wrote, directed and starred in the film.