Ohio State Bar lashes out at Democratic AG candidate

Chris Rizo Oct. 15, 2008, 12:00pm

Richard Cordray (D)

Mike Crites (R)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline)-Ohio's Democratic nominee for attorney general Richard Cordray was out of line when he criticized his Republican opponent for representing a convicted embezzler, the Ohio State Bar Association said Wednesday.

At a debate Tuesday, Cordray took aim at Republican Mike Crites for representing a state employee who pleaded guilty in 2000 to stealing $10,000 in public funds from the state.

"A candidate for statewide office, an attorney himself, is denigrating an opponent, a fellow attorney, for doing his sworn duty as an officer of the court. This sort of attack is unacceptable," Bar Association President Gary Leppla said in a statement.

"Mr. Cordray's statement contains the suggestion that Mr. Crites did something wrong by representing his client. Nothing could be further from the truth. Attorneys are duty-bound to see that a client's right to representation in our American legal system is preserved," he added. "An attack on an attorney serving clients is an attack upon our American system of justice."

The hour-long debate was sponsored by WBNS-TV, the Ohio News Network and The Columbus Dispatch.

Crites, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Cordray, the state treasurer, are vying to complete the two years remaining on former Attorney General Marc Dann's term. Dann, a Democrat, resigned in May amid political pressure following a sexual harassment scandal.

A recent poll indicates that Cordray leads the race by eight points.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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