Whittemore lawyers seek dismissal on disbarment
March 25, 2014
Lawyers for convicted ex-lobbyist Harvey Whittemore have filed a motion to dismiss the State Bar's ongoing attempts to disbar him, preventing him from practicing law.
Whittemore was convicted in federal court of making illegal campaign contributions to Sen. Harry Reid's campaign. The charges say he gave money to family members and employees and had them contribute the money to Reid, dodging the maximum contribution amounts allowed under federal law.
A bar hearing panel ruled Whittemore was not a threat to his clients or the public and that suspending his law license pending his appeal of the conviction was not necessary. The panel recommended the Supreme Court dissolve the suspension and restore Whittemore to practice. But Whittemore's lawyers, John Echeverria and Bill Bradley of Reno, said in their motion that the Bar's appeal of that ruling should be dismissed because they violated the rules for filing the appeal.
First, they point out, the bar didn't file its appeal within 30 days, as required. The appeal documents arrived at the court on day 31 after the hearing panel decision.
Second, they say they appealed by forwarding a transcript of the hearings to the high court. The motion says that only meets the Supreme Court rules in cases recommending a public reprimand, suspension or disbarment.
The hearing panel decision, they argue, recommends reinstatement of Whittemore's license. Because of those problems, they say, the high court lacks jurisdiction to hear the appeal and it should be dismissed.
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That would restore Whittemore's license to practice law, at least pending the appeal of his conviction.