Having hoodwinked public, time to disbar Barr

Amid the furor surrounding potential possible impeachment of President Donald Trump, the unethical and likely illegal conduct of Attorney General William Barr appears to be lost in a sea of flotsam, accusations and counter-accusations.

There is no question that Trump has committed “high crimes and other misdemeanors” to justify articles of impeachment. Unfortunately, to be successfully convicted of impeachment requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate, which would leave those in favor of impeachment short by around 15 votes, even assuming several Republicans vote in favor. Some will argue that it is the principle that counts. Others point out the political facts of life: Trump would call it a “win” if he were not convicted by the Senate, allowing him to then say the factual allegations against him are “fake news.”

Attorney General William Barr is subject to the same remedy as is Trump, impeachment. The result would be the same.

However, as an attorney, Barr is subject to Bar Association overview and it is in that arena that a complaint should be filed with the District of Columbia Bar Association’s Grievance Committee. U.S. senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy would be happy to lead that charge.

Barr’s client is not Trump. Rather, as attorney general and head of the Department of Justice he represents all of us.

Barr has lied to the American people, his clients, and has shamefully attempted to act as a defense attorney for Trump.

He has openly and notoriously done the following: inappropriately acted as Trump’s spokesperson; delivered the Mueller report to the president in advance of public disclosure; redacted what are likely critical parts of the Mueller report that should be seen; put a spin on the Mueller report that is both fabrication and an outright lie; tried to sell us the notion that the report is the end of any inquiry versus the beginning; falsely tried to get us to believe the Mueller report cleared the president.

The Connecticut Rules of Practice, based on the American Bar Association Rules of Ethics, say: “a lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation involves a concurrent conflict of interest”; and, “a lawyer shall not represent a client or, where representation has commenced, shall withdraw from the representation of a client if (1) the representation will result in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.” The Rules also state that “a lawyer shall not bring or defend an issue therein, unless there is a basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous …”

As well, it says, “a lawyer shall not knowingly make false statement of fact or law to a tribunal or fail to correct a false statement of material fact or law previously made” and, finally, “in the course of representing a client a lawyer shall not knowingly make a false statement of material fact or law to a third person.”

Barr has breached all those rules governing the conduct of lawyers. There should be a grievance filed against him for trying to hoodwink his clients, namely, all of us. A successful grievance should result in disbarment. Trump lawyers, before Barr, ended up being disbarred — Roy Cohn and Michael Cohen are two that come to mind. There may be others. Barr should have his name added to the list of those that have pushed too far in support of Trump.

Attorney Edward L. Marcus is former chairman of the Democratic State Central Committee in Connecticut and former state Senate majority leader. His office is in Branford.


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