The trial of controversial lawyer Geoffrey Fieger for illegal campaign contributions to John Edwards 2004 campaign is in full swing with the testimony of his paralegal and trainer. Despite his all-star defense team, Feiger’s defense seems pretty lame: he admits that he reimbursed employees for contributions but did not realize that it was illegal.
The paralegal SueElle Sandner testified under immunity that she questioned the legality of the move, but “He told me not to worry about it.”
Likewise, Fieger’s former personal trainer, Richard Fincher, testified that he was expressly told by Fieger not to discuss the tactic with anyone.
As discussed in this article, prior lawyers with Feiger’s firm admitted the practice. Todd Weglarz testified about a 2000 memo taht he wrote that the tactic might cost him his law license. Fieger is accused of not only assuring him that nothing would happen but later hiding the memo.
Eric Humphrey, a former Michigan State Police lieutenant, who worked for Fieger also testified that he warned him of the illegality.
One of the most interesting was lawyer Jeffrey Danzig who testified that not only did he do this for Fieger but for his prior law firm — implicating the firm of Lopatin-Miller. “I’ve done exactly what I’ve done at the Fieger firm that’s the subject of this litigation on numerous occasions through my legal career at another firm” he testified. Indeed, he said that the instances were “too many to count.” Sheldon Miller, the former head of the law firm, could not be reached by reporters on the allegation.
One of the interesting aspects of Sandner’s testimony was her refusal to testify under immunity if FBI agent Jeffrey Rees was present. Sandner testified that Rees was so abusive and rough that in his interrogation that she refused to be in the same room with him. I have seen many of such complaints against agents who get away with such treatment of witnesses. Notably, the Justice Department is silent on the sworn testimony. She is obviously quite credible since she is cooperating. Yet, once again, these allegations of abuse seemed to be ignored by the Justice Department — even after being vented in open court.
For a prior entry on the case, click here
For the full story, click here.