Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky 2022-05-19 19:13:30 –
(LEX 18) — A recently filed court document details the ethical concerns surrounding lawyers in central Kentucky.
The scrutiny of federal lawyer Sharon Muse Johnson began with a letter from former Circuit Court judge Brian Privet to the Attorney General of Kentucky’s office. In it, Privet demanded an investigation into allegations that many grand juries had been allowed to attend the hearing of the indictment since Muse Johnson took office, and a reality television show pilot was filmed in her office. He accused him of allowing him to do so.
At the time, Muse Johnson said, “All allegations of illegal and / or unethical conduct contained in the letter are either blatantly false or terribly misunderstanding.”
Muse Johnson serves the Scott, Woodford, and Bourbon counties, and many criminal cases have been questioned due to grand jury issues. Some indictments are expected to be dismissed, and Muse Johnson said her office would resubmit each case for her indictment.
The letter, now included as an exhibit in support of the Bourbon County criminal allegations, shows that one of Muse Johnson’s former federal aides’ lawyers also had ethical concerns. increase.
Muse Johnson said in a statement Thursday that recent letter claims reflect Privet’s letter claims, and the Kentucky Attorney General’s office has completed an investigation into the claims and “cleared” her. rice field.
The three-page letter was written in December by Kate Bennett, who worked for two years as the first federal assistant at Muse Johnson’s office. In a letter sent to the Kentucky Bar Association’s Ethics Hotline, some of Bennett’s concerns about the office case were detailed.
One of the allegations was surrounding the reported filming of a television pilot in the office. Bennett wrote during the filming that Muse Johnson staged a discussion of a criminal case awaiting a grand jury presentation “still in the active stages of investigation.”
Bennett also wrote that when he expressed concern about being recorded for the alleged pilot, Muse Johnson told her, “Only the production companies competing for the show will see it.”
The letter also alleges that Muse Johnson often recorded meetings with witnesses in cases preparing for trial and instructed her employees to do the same. Bennett writes that the record contained potential evidence and was not handed over to a lawyer.
The full statement by Muse Johnson on Thursday to the letter’s allegations is:
“The Attorney General of Kentucky’s office closed the investigation on May 6, clearing Sharon Muse Johnson’s allegations and closing the file. The Attorney General’s office is also investigating the large jury issue. So far, all cases have left Muse Johnson with further proceedings. Bennett’s allegations are the result of a misunderstanding of her law and facts and are currently being considered and closed by the Attorney General’s Office. Reflecting the previous allegations made by former Attorney General Privet. Muse Johnson will continue to work for the community and will not be distracted by political motives or false allegations. ”
Bennett issued the following statement regarding her letter to the Kentucky Bar Association’s ethical hotline:
“SCR 3.130 (8.3) requires lawyers to report the professional and unethical misconduct of other lawyers. As a public prosecutor, I am responsible for complying with the law and reporting such misconduct. I support all the words of my letter. ”