Legal Ethics Expert Witnesses Opine on Detroit Mayor Case

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and chief of staff Christine Beatty were both charged with perjury after they lied under oath about a possible affair between them from 2001 to 2003. M.L. Elrick and David Ashenfelter of write:

The false testimony potentially exposes them to felony perjury charges, legal experts say. Kilpatrick, a lawyer, could also face discipline if the state Attorney Discipline Board finds he lied in court. The Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, which govern attorneys, say even nonpracticing lawyers in public office can be sanctioned for dishonesty. “Lawyers holding public office assume legal responsibilities going beyond those of other citizens,” the code states.

Lying under oath is one of the worst sins a lawyer can commit — akin to stealing a client’s money, legal ethics expert witnesses said…”It’s literally the equivalent of the death penalty for a law license,” said Michael Schwartz, former administrator of the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission, which investigates lawyers.