Republican lawyer basic candidate Matthew DePerno wants GOP opponent and previous Dwelling Speaker Tom Leonard fired from his private regulation task, suggesting Leonard accessed privileged information and facts DePerno provided to the company as a shopper and employed it for political ammunition.
Leonard has denied the accusations, frequently calling them baseless and “a small pathetic.” A spokesman reported he has under no circumstances legally represented DePerno and has no access to information and facts DePerno may have furnished to other attorneys at his business. A leader at the regulation firm echoed these remarks in a statement issued Monday afternoon.
The Totally free Push received a copy of a letter DePerno sent April 7 to a companion at Plunkett Cooney, the regulation agency wherever Leonard will work. In the letter, DePerno claims he retained the firm in component to help him fight back from an investigation by the Michigan Legal professional Grievance Fee in relationship to the election conspiracy lawsuit he submitted in Antrim County.
The letter seems to verify for the 1st time an investigation into DePerno associated to Antrim County by the commission, an entity that has the power to initiate proceedings that can lead to a lawyer dropping the capability to follow in Michigan.
“Below no circumstance should really 1 of my legal professionals publicly attack me, regardless of whether the facts is wrong,” DePerno wrote.
“Additional, he is aware of that (as a customer) I have no interest in making these investigations community however he has publicly known as on me to release facts, building them community. This is an egregious violation of the typical and duty of care.”
The allegations are the most up-to-date particular attacks in a GOP race for attorney basic marked extra by name-calling than nuanced plan debates.
Leonard has usually criticized DePerno in excess of his Antrim County lawsuit, suggesting he used Trump’s identify to choose virtually $400,000 from GOP grassroots advocates. Leonard has repeatedly termed on DePerno to demonstrate how he applied the money, elevated by means of on the net crowdsourcing in relationship to the lawsuit.
Each candidates, along with state Rep. Ryan Berman, R-Commerce Township, are vying for the Republican Party’s endorsement at the April 23 condition nominating conference.
DePerno, of Kalamazoo, very first referenced selecting attorneys from Leonard’s organization at a debate in late March among GOP candidates for attorney basic. At the time he cited reviews from Michigan Legal professional General Dana Nessel, who has repeatedly vowed to investigate lawyers tied to election misinformation lawsuits. But he manufactured no mention of an investigation by the state grievance fee.
A Nessel spokeswoman stated her business office did not file a complaint from DePerno with the commission.
Leonard is one particular of about 140 attorneys who works for Plunkett Cooney, a business with places of work in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. In a statement, the DeWitt Republican explained he has absolutely nothing to do with the scenario and is aware of nothing at all about it.
“Matt is like a boxer agreeing to get in the ring, using a strike, and then working to the cops to file assault prices. It is politically motivated and, honestly, a little pathetic,” Leonard claimed in a assertion.
“If he simply cannot take care of a minimal criticism right after dishing all types of preposterous assaults against me, how does he be expecting to go up versus Dana Nessel?”
In a assertion, firm President and CEO Thomas P. Vincent denied that Leonard has any obtain to info about Deperno’s situation.
“Plunkett Cooney has in place a firewall to make sure that only the proper lawyers and team have accessibility to particular consumer information. Tom Leonard does not have obtain to any data with regards to Matt DePerno, and neither do I,” Vincent reported.
“As a applicant for statewide elective business, Tom Leonard can and will attest to the truth that all of the information and facts he has acquired about Mr. DePerno has not come from Plunkett Cooney.”
In the letter, DePerno notes the firm signifies him in a different proceeding in advance of the commission, tied to his work representing disgraced former condition lawmaker Todd Courser.
DePerno implies Leonard employed information and facts about both of those investigations in political assaults. He claims that violates state legal ethics guidelines that ban a lawyer from publicly disclosing a client’s secrets and techniques with no that person’s consent.
“A lawyer’s duty to preserve confidentiality is sacred in this profession. The obligation extends to all people in the regulation firm, irrespective of whether or not they had just about anything to do with the illustration. Fundamentally, just one of Mr. DePerno’s attorneys set him up,” explained John Yob, a Republican political marketing consultant functioning for DePerno’s campaign.
Yob said DePerno is however ready to hear again from Plunkett Cooney. If the company does not reveal it is “holding Tom Leonard accountable” then DePerno will file his have complaint with the attorney grievance fee, Yob claimed.
President Joe Biden defeated Trump in Michigan by roughly 154,000 votes, but DePerno and quite a few other people pursued election fraud allegations that were being ultimately debunked. Hundreds of audits and other reviews did not provide any evidence of popular fraud.
The Antrim County lawsuit garnered countrywide awareness, serving as fodder for ex-President Donald Trump and supporters who incorrectly allege the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Quite a few opponents, like Berman on Friday, have explained DePerno’s allegations are inaccurate.
Investigations by the attorney grievance fee are generally private unless the entity determines professional misconduct occurred. If this takes place, the fee information a formal grievance with the Legal professional Self-control Board. The board testimonials the complaint before determining whether punishment is desired.
Contact Dave Boucher at [email protected] or 313-938-4591. Comply with him on Twitter @Dave_Boucher1.