First lawyer who suggested Jan. 6 witness Cassidy Hutchinson ought to face ethics probe, group tells regulators
Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White Home chief of employees Mark Meadows, testifies in summer season 2022 throughout a listening to of the Home choose committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol. Picture by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Name by way of the Related Press.
A gaggle known as Legal professionals Defending American Democracy is asking ethics officers to analyze the lawyer who initially represented Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White Home aide who testified earlier than the Jan. 6, 2021, committee about occasions concerning the U.S. Capitol assault.
The group filed an ethics grievance in search of an investigation of lawyer Stefan C. Passantino with ethics regulators in Washington, D.C., Georgia and New York, based on a March 6 press launch and protection by the New York Occasions.
Hutchinson had testified that Passantino, a former lawyer within the White Home counsel’s workplace, informed her to downplay her data of occasions earlier than the assault and informed her that: “The much less you keep in mind, the higher,” based on prior protection by Reuters, which obtained a transcript of the testimony.
Passantino didn’t inform Hutchinson to lie, however he informed her to not volunteer info and to not attempt to refresh her reminiscence, based on Hutchinson’s testimony. Hutchinson was a former aide to then-White Home chief of employees Mark Meadows.
Hutchinson obtained a brand new lawyer earlier than offering damaging testimony about former President Donald Trump, together with an assertion that he was so targeted on eager to accompany his supporters to the Capitol that he lunged on the steering wheel whereas using within the presidential limousine.
Among the many officers signing the request for an ethics probe is former ABA President Martha Barnett, who can also be a board member of Legal professionals Defending American Democracy.
“Lawyer Passantino tried to maintain a pivotal witness from offering credible info to a governmental physique investigating one of the crucial consequential occasions in our nation’s historical past,” Barnett alleged within the press launch. “His try to intrude with the administration of justice within the ways in which he did undermine the rigorously crafted guidelines guiding the attorney-client relationship and even cross traces into presumably legal habits.”
The letter requesting an investigation alleges that Passantino supplied recommendation that was opposite to Hutchinson’s greatest pursuits and as a substitute was meant to guard Trump. The letter additionally alleges that Passantino informed Hutchinson that she would get job in “Trump world” when her testimony was over. Hutchinson additionally realized later within the illustration that Passantino’s charges had been being paid by “Trump world,” the letter claims.
Passantino’s legislation agency was additionally representing Hutchinson’s former boss, Meadows. The grievance alleges that Passantino didn’t current Hutchinson with a proper engagement letter, and it’s unclear whether or not Passantino’s then-firm, Michael, Finest & Friedrich, had entered his illustration of Hutchinson into its conflicts system.
Based on prior reporting by CNN, the agency stated Hutchinson wasn’t a agency consumer. Bloomberg Regulation reported in December that the agency stated it had “separated” its relationship with Passantino.
Passantino has stated he represented Hutchinson “honorably, ethically and totally constant together with her sole pursuits as she communicated them to me.”
Ross Garber, a lawyer for Passantino, famous in a response supplied to the New York Occasions that Hutchinson had not filed the grievance.
“Anybody can write a letter to the bar complaining about any lawyer,” the response says.
Garber famous Hutchinson’s testimony that Passantino informed her to not lie and to not perjure herself. Passantino’s authorized charges had been paid by the Save America Management PAC after Hutchinson emailed a contact linked to the political motion committee, requesting a referral to a lawyer and monetary help, Garber stated.
Garber additionally stated Passantino produced paperwork gathered by Hutchinson to the Jan. 6 committee. And Passantino supplied “customary recommendation” about Hutchinson’s “obligation to inform the reality, the significance of listening rigorously to and answering the query posed, the advisability of being exact, the must be clear about what she did and didn’t recall, and the advisability of avoiding unintentional hypothesis or conjecture,” Garber stated.
One other group, the 65 Undertaking, can also be in search of an ethics investigation of Passantino in Georgia.