BFP Breaking News: Court to Order Bruce Fein Removed from Schmidt vs. Krikorian Case

Rep. Jean Schmidt to Reveal the Sources Who Have Been Paying her Legal Expenses!

schmidtYesterday the Court of Appeals in Ohio issued a decision in the ongoing legal battle between Rep. Jean Schmidt and David Krikorian. Based on the news release by Krikorian’s attorney, Christopher Finney, the Court of Appeals is releasing its decision on the interlocutory appeal that Jean Schmidt filed trying to (i) force the trial court to accept Bruce Fein as Schmidt's attorney (who is not licensed in Ohio) in the case and (ii) force her to reveal who is paying her attorneys fees as part of the common pleas court case. In that decision, they deny each of Jean Schmidt's appeals, and reject each argument she made:

This decision is a significant "win" for David Krikorian in that the decisions of Judge Kessler at the trial court have been sustained, and the appeals of Ms. Schmidt have been shown to be without merit.

We fully expect Ms. Schmidt will appeal this decision to the Ohio Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court, which will continue to delay this proceeding interminably.

This step, especially on an interlocutory appeal, is quite unusual, but if the special interest groups in Washington are paying your legal fees, and a side benefit is that the truth to come out for a long, long while, what the heck!

In August 2011 the House Ethics Committee ruled  that a Turkish-American group improperly paid roughly $500,000 in legal bills that U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt amassed in lawsuits against a political rival and ordered the Cincinnati area Republican to repay the lawyers herself.

feinBased on the Ethics Committee finding Bruce Fein, Jean Schmidt’s attorney, hadn't sent Schmidt any bills and didn't tell her they were being paid by the Turkish lobby group, TCA, and since Schmidt didn't know she was receiving a gift from TCA, the Committee decided not to sanction her. Instead it suggested she create a legal expense fund to pay the bills, and ordered that she amend her financial disclosure reports to disclose the past gifts.

Last year, CREW, a Washington watchdog group, listed Rep. Schmidt as one of the most corrupt congressional members on its list, and filed a request for further investigation:

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether Rep. Jean Schmidt lied to the fact-finding body and the House Ethics Committee during prior inquiries into whether the Ohio Republican accepted free legal services in violation of Congressional gift rules.

The request, which was sent Wednesday to the independent office, says Schmidt avoided being sanctioned for accepting what the OCE and the Ethics Committee agreed was an improper gift of nearly $500,000 in free legal services by telling investigators that she was unaware of how her legal defense was paid for. Through a payment arrangement made between her attorneys at the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund and the Turkish Coalition of America, the coalition reimbursed the defense fund for helping Schmidt on a defamation case.

The exhibits attached to CREW’s letter contained information that contradicts Schmidt’s claim that she did not know her legal bills were being paid and intended to pay them herself.

The attorney in the heart of this enormous corruption scandal is none other than Bruce Fein:

The CREW complaint filed Wednesday cites a confidential summary of OCE interviews with Bruce Fein, one of Schmidt’s lawyers at the legal defense fund, and Barry Bennett, her former chief of staff. Fein told OCE investigators that he “explained TALDF’s legal services were provided at no charge to Representative Schmidt and that was his understanding at their first meeting,” according to one attached memorandum. Though Bennett told investigators that Schmidt was waiting to see whether contingency-fee payment agreements were permitted under House ethics rules, Fein told investigators that “the legal services for the defamation suit are not part of a contingency fee arrangement. The services are pro bono like any other services provided,” the summary of his interview said.

In the coming months further details and findings will become available on this scandal involving Bruce Fein and Rep. Jean Schmidt. Meanwhile I encourage you to read Boiling Frogs Post’s coverage of Bruce Fein here.

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