“The Devil’s Due”: New York District Attorney Admits To Lying During Campaign And Previously Starring in Porn Movies

Cortland County District Attorney Mark Suben, 69, recently secured reelection after a tough campaign. Nothing strange there. District Attorney positions are often much sought-after positions. However, Suben was hounded by media questions of whether he was previously known as Gus Thomas, a porn star in at least 12 films, such as “Devil’s Due,” “Bedroom Bedlam,” “Deep Throat 2,” “Lecher” and “The Love Witch.” He vehemently denied the allegations . . . until he was reelected. He now admits that he repeatedly lied to the public and the press but he refuses to resign. In “Devil’s Due,” he played an actor who tricked women into bondage.

When confronted by reporters on the allegation during the campaign, Democratic candidate Suben laughed at the very notion and insisted “I didn’t make porno movies. That’s a categorical ‘No.’ That’s the truth.”

I have previously written about teachers and other public employees with prior porn connections. In my view, it is wrong to terminate such employees since this remains a lawful industry and constitutes a form of morality regulation of citizens. I would have supported Suben for the same reason. However, Suben should resign not as a former porn star but current liar.

During the campaign, he not only denied the allegation but blamed his opponents of carrying out smear campaign. He even went as far as to suggest that someone had put in false information on porn sites to implicate him. He was adamant in telling voters “[m]y response to that is, it is simply not true. I did no such thing.”

Suben has been the District Attorney for Cortland County near Syracuse since 2008. He waited until shortly after his reelection to admit that “I was an actor in adult films for a short period in the early `70s.” He called his repeated lies simply “bad judgment” and refused to take questions from reporters. His spokeswoman, Aimee Milks, said Suben will not resign and added “It was not illegal. Mark Suben was not yet married. He was not practicing law and he was not a law student. It has nothing to do with his law practice or his current position as the district attorney of Cortland County.” Milks had me all the way up to the last line. It is the lying that has something to do with “his current position” not the porn. Moreover, this was not some passing or marginal lie. This was a lie to the media and the public on an issue that he admits could have changed the election. Indeed, while vehemently denying the allegation, Suben noted “this would cost me the election and ruin my career.”

To make matters worse, Suben has been an acting city court judge where he placed people under oath and a prosecutor who charged people with lying. He also is the past president of the Cortland County Bar Association.

He is a graduate of Fordham Law School and worked seven years as an assistant district attorney in Bronx County. He has also taught criminal trial practice as an adjunct professor for 17 years at Syracuse University Law School.

So let’s recap, Suben lies about a fact that he admits, if true, would likely cost him the election. He proceeds to accuse his opponents of launching a smear campaign and even putting false information on porn sites. He then secures reelection, admits the lie, and then refuses to resign.

The question is whether the bar will act on the matter since this is an act of dishonesty used to secure a legal position.

The New York bar rules specifically prohibit:

RULE 8.4: MISCONDUCT
A lawyer or law firm shall not:
(a) violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another;
(b) engage in illegal conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer;
(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation; (d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice; (e) state or imply an ability:
(1) to influence improperly or upon irrelevant grounds any tribunal, legislative body or public official; or
(2) to achieve results using means that violate these Rules or other law;
. . .
(h) engage in any other conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness as a lawyer.

That rule goes on to explain in the comments:

“Many kinds of illegal conduct reflect adversely on fitness to practice law. Illegal conduct involving . . . dishonesty, fraud, breach of trust, or serious interference with the administration of justice is illustrative of conduct that reflects adversely on fitness to practice law. A pattern of repeated offenses, even ones of minor significance when considered separately, can indicate indifference to legal obligation.”

Rule 7.1 on advertising also reaffirms this bright line on dishonesty:

Of course, all communications by lawyers, whether subject to the special rules governing lawyer advertising or not, are governed by the general rule that lawyers may not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, or knowingly make a material false statement of fact or law.

It will be interesting if the bar also considers a possible failure to disclose on the bar application to be a potential violation. Applicants are required to reveal all matters that bear on fitness. I would have serious trouble with this prior work being grounds for denial to the bar, though officials could believe that it had to be disclosed.

The bar application in New York requires listing of all employment since the applicant was 21 years of age. The application also asks “Have you ever used or been known by any other name?” It is not clear is Gus Thomas was listed.

Here is the bar application: Part I-Application_9.21.2011

The point is that Gus Thomas may be able to trick people into certain bondage, but Mark Suben is under a few more exacting limits. This is unlikely to result in disbarment but Suben continued refusal to acknowledge his professional obligations will make any bar proceeding more difficult. He continues to insist that this is merely a political not a professional concern. I would hope that the New York Bar would take exception to that distinction.

Source: New York Daily News

33 thoughts on ““The Devil’s Due”: New York District Attorney Admits To Lying During Campaign And Previously Starring in Porn Movies”

  1. ap,

    That story about the tipster was really interesting. Persistent.

    I read somewhere, here or on another site, that Suben denied the truth of his past profession to his family and friends, not just the electorate. It would seem he’d buried this secret very deep.

  2. Beware of the “tipsters”… Toss in the internet and who knows what might come to light.

    Having said this, I agree with others — in this particular case, the problem is Suben’s lack of honesty.

    “Is Cortland DA Mark Suben the porn actor Gus Thomas? A YouTube tipster makes the case”

    http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2012/11/is_cortland_da_mark_suben_the.html

    “Somewhere out there is a persistent guy who connected Cortland County District Attorney Mark Suben to 1970s pornographic movies.

    That person began sending tips to local reporters.

    When reporters could not nail down the information, the tipster resorted to building his own case in a video posted to YouTube Thursday.

    The tipster worked to connect an actor by the name of Gus or Guy Thomas to Suben. The IMDB.com movie web site shows that Thomas appeared in 12 adult movies from 1972-74. The web site linked Thomas as an alias of Suben, a connection later pulled down by the database after Suben was confronted by reporters.”

  3. nick, it’s not likely that mr. suben would have been elected if he fessed up. cortland is conservative territory.

  4. A DA needs to have a moral authority to prosecute and imprison people. Johnny Wad here forfeited his. Not because of being Johnny Wad, but for lying to the voters about it. Hell, he might have gotten more votes if he fessed up when questioned. Would have sold more movies too. Although I highly doubt porn actors get royalties.

  5. How many times are his “professional ethics” now going to be open to question by opposing counsel?

    Once again … it’s the cover up that sinks the ship.

  6. If he had told the truth he might still have won the election. You never know, sometimes the public votes based on a person’s performance on the job…I mean, the job he’s seeking election for.

    But having lied, there’s absolutely no way he should be allowed to remain. Who would or could trust him now?

  7. Albany, Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Madison, Montgomery, Otsego, Rensselaer, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuyler, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Warren and Washington Counties:
    Committee on Professional Standards
    40 Steuben Street
    Albany, NY 12207
    (518) 474-8816

  8. I wonder how he can keep his position as a teacher of law. Of course, we have the case of Bernadine Dohrn teaching at Northwestern law after being a terrorist and cheerleader for mass murderer Manson. At least the Illinois bar refused to admit her. I think the New York Bar should do the same for this liar and dishonest lawyer.

  9. Set his pants on fire, in court. “Liar, liar, you’re pants are on fire.”
    Plase publish the name and address of where to file the bar complaint.

  10. Oh my…. A person with an agenda…. To get elected to office lied….. Oh my…. Called me shocked….. I love the spokespersons name……Aimee Milks…. You had to make this up…..

  11. The calculus was, admit to porn celebrity and definitely lose the election, or lie about it, maybe win the election and maybe lose the office after election.

    It does impute his character, and his ability to prosecute for the state, and of course it violates NYBA rules.

    It is sad that he had to lie, but that is definitely part of the whole legal package.

  12. Before even staring his job he has broken enough ethical rules to merit disbarment. He should not only resign he should also lose his license. It’s not that he was a porn star it is that he lied about it. How can anyone trust his judgement or his word.

  13. Looks like JT’s given chapter and verse if the good folks of the bar in Cortland County (or NY state bar I suppose) care to exercise professional responsibility)

  14. Its sad that a previous job, unrelated to his current one, should prevent him from getting his current one. (although some folks will disagree that porn and lawyering are not relayed 8-{D )

    But the campaign lies are the real issue here & he does need to be removed if possible. If not there has to be some price he pays.

Comments are closed.