Attorney disbarred for seeking sexual favors for representation
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (Legal Newsline)-The Oklahoma state Supreme Court has disbarred an attorney for offering a $300 credit towards his fee in exchange for oral sex.
Michael Gassaway, high-profile lawyer, was disbarred this month, after the state bar's Professional Responsibility Tribunal found him guilty of six of the fifteen counts against him.
The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, accepted the panel's recommendation Gassaway be disbarred.
The justices said Gassaway brought "disrepute and extreme embarrassment to his profession."
Gassaway was taped offering to give a woman a $300 credit toward legal fees for each "blow job" she gave him, court papers say.
Police arrested him for solicitation of prostitution.
Gassaway was acquitted by an Oklahoma County jury in April 2007 of a misdemeanor solicitation charge after his attorney argued his actions were unethical, but not illegal.
In court, Gassaway testified that instead of holding her to performing oral sex on him as they agreed, he planned to have her work off her legal tab some other way, such as having her "wash his windows," court papers say.
In addition to seeking sexual favors for legal services, Gassaway was accused of forging a fellow attorney's letterhead and signing a letter on another lawyer's behalf without permission, among other ethics-related offenses.
"The gravity of the offenses committed by (Gassaway), and clearly proven by the OBA mandates our highest discipline," the high court said.
Gassaway was twice disciplined by the Oklahoma Bar Association for misconduct.
He received a public censure for his criminal convictions in state and federal courts for willful failure to file income tax returns. He spent six months in federal prison for the charges.
"Unfortunately, Respondent is no stranger to the disciplinary process and the gravity of his misconduct has been significant," the Supreme Court said.
From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.