I hate it when this happens

Advice for new criminal lawyers: if you’re representing someone charged with running a common bawdy house, make sure it’s not your preferred bawdy house:

A Chicago federal judge declared a mistrial last week in a sex-trafficking prosecution after a masseuse who worked for the defendant and testified for the prosecution recognized the defense lawyer as a client.

After stepping down from the stand, masseuse Liudmyla Ksenych told prosecutors she recognized defense lawyer Douglas Rathe, report the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune.

The revelation prompted U.S. District Court Judge Robert Gettleman to declare a mistrial in the case against a massage parlor owner accused of threatening immigrant women to extort money and force them to into sex trafficking.


MacArthur said Rathe didn’t recognize Ksenych’s name on the witness list because she did not use her real name on the job.

Via @walterolson.

2 thoughts on “I hate it when this happens

  1. Bruce says:

    I can see a conflict if, say, Eliot Spitzer is prosecuting a bowdy house at which he is a frequent customer, but Rathe is defending one. There’s no indication that he’s likely to be charged as a co-defendant or called as a witness. He’s merely a customer. It’s not even clear from the piece that he utilized illegal services at the establishment, although it’s certainly a possibility. There’s more to this story…

  2. Colin says:

    That reminds me of this story:

    “In a trial, a Southern small town prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand. The witness was a grand motherly, elderly woman.

    He approached her and asked, “Mrs.Jones, do you know me?”

    he responded, “Why, yes I do know you, Mr. Williams. I’ve know you since you were a young boy,and frankly, you’ve been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you’re a big shot when you haven’t the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you. ”

    The Lawyer was stunned.

    Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, “Mrs. Jones. do you know the defense attorney?”

    She again replied, “Why yes, I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He’s lazy, bigoted and he has a drinking problem. He can’t build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women, one of them was your wife. Yes, I know him.”

    The defense attorney almost died.

    The judge asked both counselors to approach the bench, and in a very quiet voice, said,

    “If either of you bastards asks her if she knows me, I’ll throw you in jail for contempt.”

    True or not I thought it was funny

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