Fired K&L Gates partner found guilty of cyberstalking former colleagues
A fired K&L Gates partner was convicted Monday on three counts of cyberstalking for sending thousands of harassing emails to three colleagues.
Willie Dennis, 60, of New York was convicted after a one-week trial. Dennis sent thousands of harassing, threatening and intimidating emails and texts that threatened the victims’ physical safety, called them racist names and warned that they would become “biblical symbols,” according to evidence and allegations cited in an Oct. 17 press release from the Department of Justice.
In the press release, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams of the Southern District of New York described Dennis’ messages as “relentless” and said he sometimes sent hundreds of emails and texts in a day.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Simon said in opening statements Dennis sent communications with intimidating messages, such as “I will find you,” and, “Sleep with one eye open,” according to prior coverage by Law360. One frightened colleague resorted to sleeping with a gun under his pillow, and another moved to and different state, Simon said.
Dennis had represented himself with the assistance of standby counsel. He told jurors that his messages addressed sexual harassment, racial discrimination and poor management at the firm. He didn’t immediately reply to an ABA Journal request for comment.
Dennis faces a sentence of up to five years in prison for each count.
Dennis had sued K&L Gates in November 2020, alleging that he was fired in May 2019 for his complaints about discrimination. The suit said Dennis was ousted after he complained in an email sent to more than 300 partners about male partners dating women at the firm and then determining their compensation.
Dennis’ suit was put on hold for arbitration and the criminal trial, according to coverage of the conviction by Law360 and Law.com.