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In re Manafort

Court of Appeals of The District of Columbia

May 9, 2019

In re Paul J. Manafort, Jr., Respondent.

          An Inactive Member of the Bar of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals (Bar Registration No. 247486)

         On Report and Recommendation Of the Board on Professional Responsibility (DDN 288-18)

          Before Fisher and Glickman, Associate Judges, and Steadman, Senior Judge.

          PER CURIAM.

         In this case, the Board on Professional Responsibility has recommended that respondent Paul J. Manafort, Jr., be disbarred from the practice of law in the District of Columbia after he pled guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice by tampering with witnesses while on pre-trial release[1] and conspiracy against the United States.[2] Neither respondent nor Disciplinary Counsel filed exceptions to the Board's report. In response to this court's January 10, 2019, order imposing an interim suspension, respondent filed his D.C. Bar R. XI, § 14(g) affidavit on February 28, 2019.

         Under D.C. Bar R. XI, § 9(h)(2), "if no exceptions are filed to the Board's report, the [c]ourt will enter an order imposing the discipline recommended by the Board upon the expiration of the time permitted for filing exceptions." See also In re Viehe, 762 A.2d 542, 543 (D.C. 2000) ("When . . . there are no exceptions to the Board's report and recommendation, our deferential standard of review becomes even more deferential."). Although we have not previously held that a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(1)[3] is a crime of moral turpitude per se, we have found that convictions of other subsections of this statute addressing witness and evidence tampering constitute crimes of moral turpitude per se. See, e.g., In re Johnson, 48 A.3d 170, 173 (D.C. 2012) (18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(2));[4] In re Blair, 40 A.3d 883, 884 (D.C. 2012) (18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(3)).[5] Each of these subsections prohibits an attempt to obstruct justice by attempting to induce an individual to withhold evidence and we see no reason to treat convictions from the three subsections differently. We have held that a conviction for conspiracy to commit a crime of moral turpitude is a crime of moral turpitude. See, e.g., In re Lickstein, 972 A.2d 314, 316 (D.C. 2009). Because respondent has been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, the mandatory sanction imposed by statute is to disbar him from the practice of law.[6] See In re Colson, 412 A.2d 1160, 1165 (D.C. 1979) (en banc).

         Accordingly, it is

         ORDERED that Paul J. Manafort, Jr. is hereby disbarred from the practice of law in the District of Columbia, nunc pro tunc to February 28, 2019.

         So ordered.

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Notes:

[1] 18 U.S.C. § 371, including conspiracy to violate 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(1).

[2] 18 U.S.C. § 371, including conspiracy to violate 18 U.S.C. § 1956 (money laundering); 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1) (tax fraud); 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a) and 22 U.S.C. §§ 612 & 618(a)(2) (lying to the Department of Justice), as well as other offenses.

[3] "Whoever knowingly uses intimidation, threatens, or corruptly persuades another person, or attempts to do so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another person, with intent to influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of ...


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