Complaint filed against lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford: Failed to inform her of options

by WorldTribune Staff, October 19, 2018

A government watchdog group announced on Oct. 19 that it has filed a complaint with the Board of Responsibility of the District of Columbia Court against three lawyers who represented Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Lawyers Debra S. Katz, Lisa J. Banks, and Michael R. Bromwich, “violated the rules of professional responsibility during their representation” of Ford, Judicial Watch said in filing the complaint.

Christine Blasey Ford, with lawyers Debra S. Katz, left, and Michael R. Bromwich. / Getty Images

Judicial Watch said the lawyers neglected to inform Ford that she could have been interviewed by female Judiciary Committee staffers at home, in private rather than the formal hearing in Washington, D.C.

[Bromwich is the lawyer for former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, fired in March by Attorney General Jeff Sessions who alleged McCabe violated DOJ policy by talking to the media.

Katz had previously represented another Kavanaugh accuser, Julie Swetnick, whose uncorroborated charges have been discredited.]

Judiciary Committee Chariman Chuck Grassley had offered in a letter to “fly female staff investigators to meet Dr. Ford… in California, or anywhere else, to obtain (her) testimony.”

Judicial Watch said that, by not informing Ford of Grassley’s offer, the lawyers violated the following District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct:

  • Rule 1.4(a) – A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.
  • Rule 1.4(b) – A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.

During the Sept. 27 Judiciary Committee hearing, Ford, under oath, was asked by counsel for the Committee Rachel Mitchell: “Was it communicated to you by your counsel or someone else, that the committee had asked to interview you and that – that they offered to come out to California to do so?”

Bromwich responded: “We’re going to object, Mr. Chairman, to any call for privileged conversations between counsel and Dr. Ford. It’s a privileged conversation …”

Grassley asked: “Would – could – could we – could you validate the fact that the offer was made without her saying a word? Is it possible for that question to be answered without violating any counsel relationships?”

Ford said: “Can I say something to you – do you mind if I say something to you directly? I just appreciate that you did offer that. I wasn’t clear on what the offer was. If you were going to come out to see me, I would have happily hosted you and had you – had been happy to speak with you out there. I just did not – it wasn’t clear to me that that was the case.”

Judicial Watch noted that “it is clear, by Dr. Ford’s own testimony, that her attorneys did not communicate the Committee’s multiple offers to take her testimony in California, despite the fact that this was Dr. Ford’s preferred option. It was inexcusable that Dr. Ford’s attorneys should have neglected to inform her of the fact that the Committee investigators were willing to meet her in California.”

Judicial Watch said the lawyers’ actions warrant “a full investigation” by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

“We are concerned that ethics rules were violated by Dr. Ford’s attorneys during the Kavanaugh confirmation and took action to get accountability,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We already filed a Senate ethics complaint against Sen. Cory Booker over his admitted rule breaking and are considering additional steps to address the misconduct committed by Justice Kavanaugh’s opponents.”

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