Johnny Manziel's Lawyer Accidentally Texts The AP And Then Threatens To Sue Them If They Report On It
from the err-and-err-and-err dept
It's become common game by many in America and elsewhere to crap on lawyers whenever the opportunity presents itself. This is done unfairly in many cases, with a lack of understanding of what the adversarial nature of our legal system requires of legal advocates. For instance, a lawyer that strongly advocates for a client accused of something terrible isn't himself or herself terrible. That's the duty of the job.
But for one of the lawyers on the staff of Johnny Manziel, the seemingly troubled and frequent guest of the court who was once primarily known as a football player, it appears both that proper lawyer-ing is a bit more difficult than for most and that he's a bully to boot. As you may have heard, Bob Hinton, who had been tasked with representing Manziel in his domestic abuse court case, accidentally texted the Associated Press information about his attempts to settle the case in a rather unfavorable light with respect to his client.
An attorney handling Johnny Manziel's domestic violence case expressed doubts about the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback's ability to stay clean and said he was given a receipt that shows Manziel may have spent more than $1,000 at a drug paraphernalia store just 15 hours after he was involved in a hit-and-run crash, according to a lengthy text message accidentally sent to The Associated Press. Defense attorney Bob Hinton's text indicated Manziel's legal team was seeking a plea deal with prosecutors, but suggested that could be tricky.
"Heaven help us if one of the conditions is to pee in a bottle," the attorney wrote.
This oops-text happened after the AP had apparently sent Hinton a text message requesting comment about a hit-and-run accident that Manziel was reportedly involved in (Manziel claims to be the victim of the accident). Hinton had meant to text what he sent to the AP to co-counsel. The communication also included information about a smoke-shop receipt that may have indicated that Manziel had been purchasing synthetic marijuana, a fact not useful for the defense team of a high-profile individual with well-covered run-ins involving substance abuse. To accidentally text that information to the Associated Press has to be one of the best examples of what not to do as an attorney for such an individual.
But the really face-palm-inducing move by Hinton was to then threaten to sue the AP if it did any reporting around that text message.
When asked about the text, Hinton said he had meant to send it to co-counsel Jim Darnell and was unaware the AP had received it instead. He insisted the contents were protected by attorney-client privilege and threatened to sue if certain details were published.
I guess we'll get to take the measure of that threat, as the AP most certainly did report on not only the text, but the subsequent threat as well. Such threats are unlikely to ingratiate a lawyer to the press and, while I won't say the AP reported because of the threat, it seems like the added threat has given the story some extra flavor, propelling it Streisand-style into wider coverage.
And, not surprisingly, others are now reporting that Hinton has been booted from Manziel's legal staff as a result. Not a good day for the counselor, I think. The mistake was bad enough, but the attempted cover-up, as always, ends up doing more harm.