Court Disqualifies Bernie Kerik's Lawyer

For the second time, a lawyer for Bernie Kerik has been disqualified from representing him.

During the federal investigation leading to his Indictment, the Government disqualified long-time Kerik lawyer (and TalkLeft pal) Joe Tacopina. (Background from the Washington Post here.

Today, on the Government's motion, the Court granted a request to disqualify Kerik's chief counsel Ken Breen.

Prosecutors had asked for the ruling in the criminal case against Kerik, arguing that defense lawyer Kenneth Breen was at meetings when Kerik gave his lawyers false information.

The potential conflict is "so severe that no remedial measure will cure it," U.S. District Judge Stephen Robinson said in his ruling from White Plains.

The Judge said the removal was necessary to preserve "both the defendant's right to effective assistance of counsel and the court's need to preserve the integrity of the process."

A new lawyer will require lots of time to get up to speed on the case, putting off a trial date -- possibly until after the November elections. In the unlikely event Rudy is the nominee, that would be a big boost for him.

Here are the Government's request to disqualify Breen, Breen's response and declaration, and another Government response.

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    sheesh! (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 01:17:25 PM EST
    this guy is just toxic to everyone and thing he comes in contact with.

    This disqualification makes me, for one, (none / 0) (#2)
    by Daniel Millstone on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 01:56:02 PM EST
    distinctly uncomfortable. It appears to allow the prosecution to control a defendant's choice of counsel. It seems a version of the successful effort to disqualify Bruce Culter as John Gotti's counsel years ago. By keeping from court the lawyer who knows the defendant's case the best, prosecutors gain a significant advantage.

    very well said (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 03:21:58 PM EST
    and I agree totally. Also, it's a terrible idea to allow the government to call your lawyer as a witness against you.  Smacks of Ashcroft and his monitoring of jailhouse conversations between client and lawyer.

    i agree with both of you. (none / 0) (#4)
    by cpinva on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 01:10:55 AM EST
    however, based on the information provided, it would appear that mr. kerik is sort of hoist on his own petard; he provided his attorneys with false information, which they then transmitted in good faith, to the gov't. he made them part of his crime, he shouldn't then benefit from it.

    the other issue that comes to mind: if you were one of those attorneys, so callously exploited by your client, could you continue to provide the vigorous representation that is their due? i think that in itself presents a clear conflict, but it should be the lawyer's call to make, not the govt's.