Criminal Justice

Longtime defense attorney charged in murder conspiracy, has license suspended on emergency basis

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A longtime criminal defense attorney in Grand Forks, N.D., has had his law license suspended on an emergency basis Friday after being charged Thursday in a murder conspiracy.

Henry Howe and two co-defendants are accused of plotting to kill an undercover informant in a drug case, Walsh County State’s Attorney Barb Whelan told KFGO.

Authorities said the intended victim, a woman, was supposed to testify in a drug case against Howe’s client Paul Lysengen, reports WDAZ.

Admitted 40 years ago, Howe has been in practice in Grand Forks since 1980. He was released Thursday on $100,000 bail. However, the North Dakota Supreme Court said in its Friday opinion suspending his law license that “sufficient information exists that Howe poses a substantial threat of irreparable harm to the public because of the facts attested in the affidavit evidence a criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice by murdering a witness.”

If convicted, he could get a maximum sentence of life in prison. The supreme court has called for a trustee to be appointed to handle Howe’s law practice.

Howe told a judge Thursday that he plans to retain counsel in the murder conspiracy case and expects to be exonerated. The articles don’t include any comment from Howe concerning his law license suspension and he was not immediately available for comment when the ABA Journal called his office Monday morning.

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