Legal Ethics

Lawyer Who Wore Wire to Build Case Against Claimed Client: 'I Had to Do It'

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Was attorney Terry Haddock acting as Shannon Williams’ lawyer during six months of jail visits in 2009? Or was Haddock, at least as Williams saw it, exploiting his attorney status to help his claimed client run a marijuana ring?

That appears to be the central issue in a federal court hearing in Nebraska this week, to determine whether the many hours of conversation recorded by Haddock—who was wearing a wire—are admissible at trial against Williams, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Criticized by some for his unusual participation in helping the feds establish a case against a drug suspect, “I had a personal struggle with myself whether to get involved in that,” the 52-year-old Haddock told U.S. Magistrate Judge F.A. Gossett III yesterday. “But I could not live with the fact that this man would be walking the streets. I had to do it.”

Haddock was paid $47,000 by the feds for his time and relocation costs, to protect him once his role as an informant became known, the newspaper reports. He and the feds say he was not acting as Williams’ attorney when he recorded their conversations.

An earlier World-Herald article talks about Haddock’s life and factors that may have influenced his decision to wear a wire.

Prior coverage: “After News That Lawyer Wore Wire to Jail, Inmates Ask, What About My Counsel?”

Updated Aug. 23 to include link to earlier World-Herald article.

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