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One of Hollywood’s elite lawyers, Pierce O’Donnell, is in big trouble with federal prosecutors.
The LA Times reports that “a federal grand jury has been secretly probing whether attorney Pierce O’Donnell violated federal campaign laws by asking employees of his law firm to contribute to the 2004 presidential campaign of John Edwards and then reimbursing those who did.”
The story goes on to assert that O’Donnell is willing to plead to a misdemeanor charge and pay a large fine, but prosecutors want O’Donnell to plead guilty to a felony and thus end his his legal career in California. O’Donnell’s lawyers believe the aggressive stance by federal prosecutors are for political reasons.
O’Donnell has represented NBC, MGM, and Marvel. He represented Faye Dunaway in a wrongful termination suit against Andrew Lloyd Webber and Art Buchwald in a landmark profit participation case against Paramount in which the columnist’s screenplay treatment was claimed as source material for the film “Coming to America.” In 2006, he split from his long-time law partner, Ann Marie Mortimer to form a new boutique firm O’Donnell & Associates. The two were a trial team powerhouse in Hollywood since the early 1990s when they left Kaye Scholer.
He’s been in trouble on election law before. In 2006, he pleaded no contest to five misdemeanor charges that he reimbursed firm employees after they contributed to the 2001 re-election campaign of Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn. As a result, he was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay more than $155,000 in fines and penalties.
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