Election 2020

Trump Attorney Could Be Disbarred for Trying to Make Cassidy Hutchinson Lie in Her Testimony Before J6 Committee

One former Trump administration attorney may face disbarment now that allegations suggest he tampered with witness testimony before the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 Capitol attack, Newsweek reports.

A group of three dozen attorneys with the center-left organization Lawyers Defending American Democracy filed a complaint with the Washington, D.C. Bar on Monday, alleging that Stefan Passantino, formerly a member of the White House counsel’s office, pressured Cassidy Hutchinson, a former Trump administration aide whose boss was then-chief of staff Mark Meadows, to provide false testimony to members of Congress investigating Trump’s actions leading up to the Capitol riot.

Hutchinson eventually corrected her testimony, which turned out to be a big break for House investigators and that became integral to the Department of Justice’s case being developed surrounding the former president and his associates.

“Mr. Passantino’s efforts to obstruct and interfere with her contribution to the legislative and historical record cannot be rationalized, dismissed, or ignored if our professional code of ethics is to serve its critical purposes, the complaint reads. “The Office of Disciplinary Counsel should promptly initiate an investigation of Mr. Passantion’s conduct and, if the facts described above are confirmed, seek his disbarment.”

The lawyers wrote a 22-page list of grievances that outlines a list of alleged transgressions, including accusations that Passantino encouraged Hutchinson to provide false testimony to members of the committee—a federal offense. This “placed her in jeopardy of criminal sanctions to protect other clients represented by his firm.”

Stefan Passantino and Cassidy Hutchinson

According to one such allegation, Passantino urged Hutchinson to ignore reappearing before committee members to correct her testimony after she had told them she didn’t remember an event that she, in fact, did. This could be considered perjury—and incredibly, even at one point, encouraged her not to prepare for testimony that she was scheduled to give to the committee. This included things such as pushing her not to pull calendars or other documentation that could help members of Congress to construct an accurate timeline of the events surrounding January 6.

Passantino also apparently told Hutchinson she did not have to testify about conversations she might have overheard over the course of her work that might be helpful to the investigation. He also allegedly told her that the top priority during her testimony was to protect Trump and others, such as Eric Hershman, one of Trump’s senior advisers at the time and a former client of Passantino’s.

During their conversations, Passantino allegedly suggested that if Hutchinson testified “correctly,” this could lead to future employment. At one point, he allegedly talked to his law partners and other attorneys about the details of her case against her wishes.

In their letter, the attorneys say they believe all of Passantino’s actions during Hutchinson’s testimony to the committee were an egregious breach of ethics. Enough so to warrant his disbarment, they argued.

“At every turn, Ms. Hutchinson received advice that was contrary to her best interests,” the attorneys wrote.

And Monday’s complaint isn’t the first one Passantion has dealt with. Last week, the 65 Project, a progressive advocacy group that targets former Trump attorneys, wrote a letter to the Georgia bar, referencing Hutchinson’s testimony in calling for the state bar to investigate Passantino as he allegedly tried to obstruct the probe.

A representative for Passantion referenced a previous letter that refuted earlier ethics complaints, describing them as nothing more than an attempt to damage his reputation, emphasizing Hutchinson’s testimony that Passantino had told her not to lie, and his work in assisting her with providing testimony that was damaging to Trump.

And, of course, Passantino has denied allegations that he encouraged Hutchinson to perjure herself. In an email exchange last year with Emory University’s student newspaper he wrote he “represented Ms. Hutchinson honorably, ethically and fully consistent with her sole interests as she communicated them to me.”

“I believed Ms. Hutchinson was being truthful and cooperative with the Committee throughout the several interview sessions in which I represented her,” he wrote in the email.

But Lawyers Defending American Democracy aren’t filing this complaint for no reason. They obviously have evidence of Passantino’s alleged wrongdoings. So let justice be served.

meet the author

Megan has lived in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida and she currently lives in Central America. Living in these places has informed her writing on politics, science, and history. She is currently owned by 15 cats and 3 dogs and regularly owns Trump supporters when she has the opportunity. She can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/GaiaLibra and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/politicalsaurus


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