Well-known defense attorney Walter L. Blair, who practiced with the Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. and has litigated some high-profile cases, is facing very serious criminal allegations and making some controversial claims in his own defense. Blair, 57, is representing himself after being indicted for money laundering and witness tampering. He is hardly telling his client to take a low profile and avoid public controversy. Blair has filed a lawsuit alleging racism and anti-Jamaican bias is behind the indictment.
Blair was arrested on November 6, 2008 after being accused of laundering at least $70,000 that once belonged to a Jamaican drug dealer in Richmond. The dealer was killed and left a safe with the money with a relative, who went to Blair. According to the indictment, Blair hatched a scheme to conceal the origins of the money by using more than $40,000 to buy real estate — and taking $30,000 to pay himself and two other lawyers. He is also accused of not reporting the income and telling the relative to lie to a FBI agent about the money.
Four days after his arrest, Blair went on the offensive and filed a civil lawsuit alleging that Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein, an IRS agent, and prosecutors targeted him because he is black and of Jamaican descent. The bizarre suit asks the court not only to throw out the criminal charges but to bar prosecutors from indicting him again. It also seeks $200 million in damages. That would be quite a victory — securing not just $200 million but immunity from future indictment.
When pressed to supply any evidence of discrimination, Blair simply pointed to the first sentence in the indictment: “The defendant, WALTER LLOYD BLAIR, was a native of Jamaica, and between at least 2002 and 2005, a resident of Silver Spring and Brookeville, Maryland.” Hmmm, not exactly an overwhelming case. Yet, Blair insists that it is air tight: “This is so compelling, Ray Charles could see it,” Blair said in an interview. “What they are doing to me is an outrage. Somebody needs to defend the dream. If I need to stand alone, so be it.”
Blair has a reputation for being litigation happy, including cases where he is the plaintiff. He previously sued a judge, a former medical expert he retained, and a prosecutor. His former wife has sued him as a defendant for failure to pay child support in Montgomery County. (He has six children). Blair sought to reduce such payments, telling the court “I do not have any money.” He was also previously accused of witness tampering and obstruction of justice. (He was convicted, but those convictions were thrown out and he was later acquitted).
The discrimination lawsuit is likely to be dismissed as frivolous and this appears to be a case of a self-represented person with a fool for a lawyer.
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