Larry Klayman, a right-wing activist and attorney who has represented conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, former U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore and Laura Loomer among others, faces a possible 33-month suspension from practicing law in the District of Columbia.
A Hearing Committee with the Board on Professional Responsibility filed a report Wednesday alleging that he took advantage of a client and tried to start a relationship with her:
Respondent Larry E. Klayman is charged in a four-count Specification of Charges with multiple violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct for the District of Columbia (Rules) — specifically Rules 1.2(a), 1.4(b), 1.5(b), 1.5(c), 1.6(a)(1), 1.6(a)(3), 1.7(b)(4), 1.16(a)(3), and 8.4(c). This disciplinary matter arises out of Respondent’s representation of a client in 2010 and perhaps for a few weeks before and after 2010.
Elham Sataki, a former broadcaster with Voice of America (VOA), previously claimed that a co-worker sexually harassed her; she said that she was trying to transfer from D.C. to Los Angeles. She ended up relying on Klayman in a lawsuit regarding the alleged sexual harassment.
According to the committee, the woman was willing to stay with VOA in D.C. instead of losing her job, but Klayman got her to abandon the position and move to Los Angeles. Once in California, she was “completely dependent” on him for housing and living expenses, the committee said.
“Respondent exploited Ms. Sataki’s precarious financial position and his position as her attorney by pursuing a romantic relationship with her. In doing so, he ignored her concerns and risked, by his own admission, the impairment of his independent professional judgment that he owed her as his client,” they wrote.
This went as far as him interfering in her consultation with a mental health professional, the committee wrote. The client turned down his advances and, in retaliation, he increased his contingent fee demand, according to the filing. Klayman allegedly “repeatedly asserted that if Ms. Sataki abandoned him as her lawyer she would owe him large sums for fees and out-of-pocket expenses.” He allegedly attempted to dissuade her from seeking help from friends and family.
Sataki claimed that after the attorney-client relationship began (“On or about March 1, 2010, Respondent filed a civil action on behalf of Ms. Sataki…”) she “became concerned” Klayman was “pursuing a romantic relationship with her.”
Sataki also claimed that Klayman filed a lawsuit on her behalf naming Hillary Clinton as a defendant, against her wishes.
One of the alleged violations of Rules of Professional Conduct related to this: “Respondent’s naming of Hilary Clinton as a defendant in the BBG action despite his client’s wishes (Rule 1.2(a); Rule 1.4(b)).”
Klayman told Law&Crime he is “confident of success” in this matter. He lambasted the committee as left-leaning and “highly politicized.”
“This is simply a recommendation by a hearing committee,” he wrote in an email. “I have the right to appeal to the Board and then the DC Court of Appeals if necessary. This will take several years to run its course. The identical complaints were dismissed by two state bars, Florida and Pa., about 10 years ago.”
The committee said it concluded that Klayman “violated eight Rules of Professional Conduct in the course of his representation of Ms. Sataki in her dispute with PNN/VOA” and that “[t]hose Rule violations encompassed at least fourteen different instances or sets of circumstances.”
These were the rules:
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