According to an Internet report, Washington, D.C. lawyer Thomas Dunlap of Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver has been peddling a tape for a “friend” of Vice President Joseph Biden’s daughter, Ashley, allegedly snorting cocaine at a party in Delaware. With rising criticism in the press, Dunlap reportedly has withdrawn from his controversial role in this political version of the Michael Phelps pot shot. Radar Online is suggesting that the presumably now former friend may have set up Biden by buying the cocaine and hiding the camera — claims that (if proven) could lead to liability for the individual.
While most people are shocked by the craven acts of the still unidentified friend, most lawyers are equally shocked by the involvement of a member of the bar in allegedly shopping this tape to tabloids for the highest bidder.
The New York Post claims that Dunlap showed it 90 seconds of the 43-minute tape, which purportedly shows Ashley doing lines of coke with a red straw in front of witnesses and later shouting “Shut the F— Up!” The newspaper reported that the seller wanted $2 million before dropping his price to $400,000. Ashley’s boyfriend is reportedly shown watching from behind, though the legitimacy of the tape has yet to be determined. Notably, however, there has been no denial in the first few days of the story from the Biden family
Biden, 27, is a social worker for a Delaware child-welfare agency.
Radaronline.com reported that Dunlap dropped the seller as a client after learning the scene was recorded on a hidden camera. It also reported that he was bothered by the negative publicity. Well, it is good to see some standards in the profession.
Dunlap is the managing partner of Dunlap, Grubb, and Weaver. The firm describes his practice as:
Tom’s practice focuses on complex civil litigation (patent, copyright, trademark, corporate), tax and real estate disputes. Tom has represented local, national and international clients in a variety of complex litigation, including copyright disputes in the United Kingdom and multi-jurisdictional federal patent infringement and invalidity claims. Tom has appeared before the Supreme Court of Virginia where he successfully argued the application of the intra-corporate immunity doctrine as it relates to conspiracy claims.
He is a graduate of Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia and Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, USA.
He also listed his publication of an article entitled “Best Practices & Winning Legal Strategies for New Technology & Privacy Issues, ReedLogic, 2006″ Hmmm, I wonder where peddling scandalous photos of celebrities falls into best practices and winning legal strategies. While I am not sure what Mr. Grubbs and Mr. Weaver think, this strikes me as a pretty low-grade practice and questionable client for any attorney.
Strangely the firm also lists his membership in “American Mensa” — which shows that a high IQ has nothing to do with being smart.
As for Ashley, if this is true, she is no rocket scientist either. The question is whether the Delaware authorities will now move as aggressively as the South Carolina prosecutor in the Phelps case. Cocaine is a more serious drug but usage is not treated as a major felony. Yet, one day on the cover of Time and the next day doing time, as they say. High profile acts of illegality can prompt criminal investigations where the matter would have been treated as unworthy for prosecution in a normal case.