And so this afternoon –in a news story by the Star’s Dave Helling, natch– comes the inevitable response by Trailer Lawyer Todd Graves to news that he’s been disqualified from a federal lawsuit in Mississippi against State Farm. The choice cut:
Graves said the ruling would likely be appealed but noted that the judge did not find that he or Robertson had improperly viewed the stolen documents, as State Farm alleged in its request to have the firms disqualified.
“The allegations were ridiculous and over the top,” Graves said.
Okay. Nor did the judge find that Graves had dead bodies buried under his porch. What he did find is that Graves and friends acted in a fashion which does not comport with the model rules of professional conduct nor with the ethical standards that are expected of an officer of the court.
Truth is, Graves has historically been only too willing to turn a blind eye to ethical concerns that were plainly apparent to anyone with an accurate moral compass. It really shouldn’t be so surprising that the same man who as U.S. Attorney would have been responsible for investigating or prosecuting a Governor whose acts took place in his District but who saw no problem with his wife’s accepting a lucrative patronage plum from the very same Governor would also see no ethical barrier to cashing in by turning a blind eye to the unethical and inappropriate situation arranged by his fellow attorneys in the Rigsby imbroglio. All of a piece.
But while the impropriety of Graves’ fee office situation has long been noted by the chattering class, the new ruling by Judge Senter has raised some new quandaries. Notably, those in capital city legal circles have begun quietly to discuss whether Graves will –or properly should be– subjected to a bar complaint here in Missouri by virtue of his inaction on ethical principles in the Mississippi.
Graves has always managed to slip the noose of consequences due to some apochryphal notions of his reputation. But it seems as though that knife might soon start cutting another way.
Fired Up Missouri