Trump administration wasn’t the only one breaking the ethics in White House, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Mark Kasowitz is facing serious charges of breach of ethics, filed by lawyers in his home state of New York and in Washington, D.C. where he is practicing law today.
Kasowitz is infamous for providing a typo-filled, but factless defense of Donald Trump as news broke out that President Trump himself is under investigation by Special Prosecutor Mueller.
Kasowitz is not a member of the DC bar and yet appears to advise government officials on Trump’s White House staff. If he’s being prosecuted, the government officials in White House for witnesses or defendants in a future criminal prosecution of the President. As the reports filed by The New York Law Journal reports, “Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit government watchdog group formed in 2015, filed its ethics complaint with the Washington, D.C., Office of Disciplinary Counsel, Board on Professional Responsibility on Thursday.”
“Separately, Neal Goldfarb, senior attorney and litigator at corporate law firm Butzel Long, lodged a complaint Tuesday with the Appellate Division, First Department, disciplinary committee in New York.”
Yet another serious complaint is also lodged with the DC bar against Trump’s lawyer claiming that he isn’t a member yet he practices law in the White House. However, there’s a provision in law that allows lawyers to practice outside of their home states with the help of filing an application for it.
A pro hac vice admission application is necessary to be filled to practice outside their home states. The provision also allows practicing under the supervision of a member of the local bar. But Kasowitz has not done any of this and he has not released any such documents publicly.
The Campaign for Accountability explains that issue, and why Kasowitz’s advice to White House officials not to hire counsel yet, likely violated ethics rules:
District of Columbia Professional Rule of Conduct 5.5(a) provides “a lawyer shall not practice law in a jurisdiction where doing so violates the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction.” Rule 4.3 prohibits lawyers from offering any unrepresented party who has a potential conflict of interest with the lawyer’s own client with any advice other than that they retain counsel.
Mr. Kasowitz does not appear to be a member of the District of Columbia Bar. As a result, by meeting with White House staff within the White House complex and offering the legal opinion that those staffers need not hire counsel, he may have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. In addition, by advising White House staff members, who are not represented by counsel and who have a reasonable possibility of having interests that conflict with those of Mr. Kasowitz’s client, President Trump, Mr. Kasowitz appears to have violated Rule 4.3.
Attorney Neil Goldfarb in his compkaint argues that Kasowitz complaint includes a separate allegation that Kasowitz improperly talked with people in the White House are represented by other lawyers, violating another New York bar rule.