Trump Backed Lawyer Suspended From Practice For Brazen Misconduct

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Larry Klayman, who founded the conservative legal organization Judicial Watch where pro-Trump and conservative opinions are often found, was suspended in recent days by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals from practicing law in the district for 18 months.

Predictably, Klayman vowed to appeal, at least to the full D.C. Circuit. He could also seek action by the U.S. Supreme Court. Klayman claimed the disciplinary action he is facing was somehow connected to his support for Trump, but — as with other Trump allies and goons claiming they’re being politically targeted amid duly proceeding investigations — there is no apparent evidence of any kind of political agenda underlying the case against Klayman. The suspension relates to his handling of a sexual harassment lawsuit targeting Voice of America on behalf of someone who worked there, who Klayman legally represented around 2009-2010. Klayman, according to the D.C. appeals court’s summary of findings, eventually expressed romantic interest towards Elham Sataki, the client he was representing, who didn’t reciprocate. Those reported circumstances created a conflict of interest. Troublingly, Klayman also continued to present himself as Sataki’s attorney even after she basically fired him, as Reuters summarizes the appeals court’s findings.

Besides Sataki’s personal discomfort, the romantic interest expressed by Klayman also impacted his professional abilities according to his own telling. Sataki “believed that Mr. Klayman’s feelings for her were causing him to act unprofessionally in his representation, which Mr. Klayman himself acknowledged in writing several times,” as the appeals court summarizes the factual background presented by the D.C. disciplinary counsel. Klayman filed a lawsuit against the board of governors overseeing Voice of America, which included Hillary Clinton (who was Secretary of State), without Sataki’s prior consent, and when she directed him to withdraw it, he didn’t actually do so. He even filed a motion in court to reconsider a dismissal of the case. Klayman has a long history of legal action against Democratic interests including the Clintons, suggesting he harbored some ulterior motive in keeping the lawsuit alive.

The D.C. Bar’s Board of Professional Responsibility recommended disciplinary action against Klayman along these lines back in 2020, and ahead of the recent ruling by the district’s appeals court, the court already temporarily suspended Klayman. Seven years ago, Sataki brought a complaint against Klayman with the D.C. Bar, outlining his misconduct in her case. Once his suspension period is complete, Klayman will need to show “fitness” for returning to the practice of law — the restoration of his professional privileges isn’t automatic. More substantively, Klayman claimed he already underwent an investigation of misconduct claims related to the Sataki case in both Pennsylvania and Florida, where the relevant authorities dismissed claims against him, but no record of these alleged conclusions remain according to the appeals court, and Klayman said he no longer retained any of his own records.