“Lawyers are court officials. You are not above the law, “Maryland US attorney Robert K. Hur said in a statement after the charges were made public on Friday morning. The office will “investigate and prosecute lawyers who violate the trust placed in them by breaking the law and obstructing justice.”
Treem’s attorney, Robert P. Trout, said in a statement: “We are surprised and shocked by the government’s decision to bring these charges against Joshua Treem, an attorney recognized as being of the highest level professional in the bar Ethics. “
“We expect that the evidence in this case will show that his actions in representing his client were correct, ethical, and fully consistent with his professional obligations to his client,” Trout said.
Ravenell’s attorney Lucius Outlaw said in a statement that “charges contain allegations, not established facts”.
“Kenneth Ravenell looks forward to demonstrating in court that the government’s allegations against him fall far short of the truth and that he has always been a respected and ethical lawyer who has spent his career fighting injustice,” it said in the statement.
The new charges are part of a longstanding investigation into a multi-stage marijuana operation. Ravenell was first indicted in September 2019 and charged with training his client, drug king Richard Byrd, and others on how to evade prosecution. Prosecutors said Ravenell used the law firm’s bank accounts to collect and hide hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug proceeds and to make payments to attorneys that were retained by other members of the conspiracy.
He pleaded not guilty and is waiting for the trial.
A third person, Sean Francis Gordon, a private investigator who worked for both lawyers, was also charged on Thursday.
Ravenell (61) and Treem (73) are seasoned defense lawyers. Ravenell filed a federal lawsuit on Thursday on behalf of the family of Anton Black, a young black man who died in an encounter with police on the east coast. Treem was a federal prosecutor in Baltimore from an early age. In his private practice, he has defended Lee Boyd Malvo in the Washington area sniper shootings and a former Maryland state senator charged on federal corruption charges.
Ravenell and Treem served as lawyers for the same law firm in the 1990s and early 2000s. In 2016, Treem began representing Ravenell in connection with a federal grand jury investigation into Ravenell’s work.
As part of the investigation, federal agents raided the law firms of Ravenell and Treems’ Brown, Goldstein & Levy law firm. The Baltimore law firm went to court to challenge the search. Thousands of electronic files unrelated to the investigation were confiscated.
The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the government’s review of the seized material was invalid and put in place a system for third parties to review the material and determine which documents should be turned over to the government.
Brown, Goldstein & Levy released a statement on Treem Friday saying it was “a valued and trusted partner”.
“We have worked closely with Josh Treem for many years and know that he is both an exceptional attorney and a man of the highest integrity, honesty and professionalism,” the statement said.
In the 50-page indictment returned Thursday, prosecutors said the three men had worked together to obstruct the grand jury’s investigation of Ravenell and one of his clients through 2018.
In the indictment, Ravenell is accused of attempting to influence testimony with the help of private investigators who interviewed prisoners and others in 2013 and 2014. In one case, prosecutors said Treem and Gordon met with a former Ravenell client who was a potential witness to Ravenell.
The file describes a 2017 meeting in an Arizona prison where Treem and Gordon presented the man with a Ravenell-made document that contained false statements that Ravenell could find helpful. At the Phoenix prison briefing, Treem and Gordon asked the inmate to sign the document.
“Treem had before him a document that contained 53 statements that were practically false denials about Ravenell’s involvement in criminal behavior,” says the indictment, which is quoted at length from the conversation.
Prosecutors say the three then prepared documents, including an affidavit from Gordon referring to the inmate’s false statements and a letter Treem wrote to a federal judge in February 2018 pertaining to the inmate.
The documents “were all fraudulently prepared to be used for undermining and prosecution [the inmate’s] Credibility, if in an official trial he should be asked to testify against Ravenell and if any of them were to be asked to testify in an official trial, and if either of them were to be asked to testify in a prior, consistent testimony by Gordon and Treem. “The prosecution says.
Because the two attorneys are so well known in Maryland law circles, the case is being handled by Virginia District Judge Liam O’Grady.