Covington in Trouble
Former Flynn counsel in hot water
In the last few days we have gone over a number of peculiarities surrounding the case against General Michael T. Flynn.
Now, a new twist is developing. Judge Emett Sullivan, upon receiving the responses from both the prosecution and the defense in reference to his request following developments in the EDVA case against Bijan Rafiekian and how it may affect the case before him, has been informed that the Flynn defense may request additional time because this late in the game they have not yet received all the documents pertaining to the case.
On Tuesday, Judge Sullivan let it be know that he is having none of it:
“MINUTE ORDER as to MICHAEL T. FLYNN. In view of the parties' responses to the Court's Minute Order of July 9, 2019, the Court, sua sponte, schedules a status conference for August 27, 2019 at 11:00 AM in Courtroom 24A. Defense counsel has represented to the Court that Mr. Flynn has not received the entire file from his former counsel. Def.'s Resp., ECF No. 98 at 2-4. The District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct govern the practice of law in this District. See LCrR 57.26. Under those rules, "[i]n connection with any termination of representation, a lawyer shall take timely steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect a clients interests, such as… surrendering papers and property to which the client is entitled." D.C. Rules of Prof'l Conduct r. 1.16(d). Rule 1.8(i) provides that "[a] lawyer may acquire and enforce a lien granted by law to secure the lawyer's fees or expenses, but a lawyer shall not impose a lien upon any part of a clients files, except upon the lawyer's own work product, and then only to the extent that the work product has not been paid for. This work product exception shall not apply when the client has become unable to pay, or when withholding the lawyer's work product would present a significant risk to the client of irreparable harm." D.C. Rules of Prof'l Conduct r. 1.8(i); see also D.C. Rules of Prof'l Conduct r. 1.8 cmt. 19 (stating that "[t]he possibility of involuntary incarceration or criminal conviction constitutes one category of irreparable harm."). In light of the representations made by defense counsel regarding the delay in receiving the client files, the Court hereby gives notice to the parties of the Court's intent to invite Senior Legal Ethics Counsel for the District of Columbia Bar to attend the status conference and explain on the record the applicable District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct. Mr. Flynn's former counsel shall attend the status conference. Defense counsel is FORTHWITH ORDERED to serve a copy of this Order on Mr. Flynn's former counsel. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 7/16/2019.”
For those not familiar with the language, sua sponte means that the court is issuing this order of its own volition and not as a consequence of a request by any of the parties.
It would appear from the text above that the judge suspects that Mr. Robert K. Kelner of Covington's Washington office may have been withholding files.
I am told there are now 24 attorneys at Covington hurriedly collecting “hundreds of thousands of documents” to effect a delivery before the court appearance on August 27.
Hundreds of thousands of documents.
It defies Reason.
There is something decidedly wrong with our Justice system.