BATAVIA, Ohio (Cincinnati Enquirer) — A lawyer who works for the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund can’t represent Rep. Jean Schmidt in a defamation lawsuit filed on her behalf against former political opponent David Krikorian, and a different lawyer for the congresswoman must disclose records that could show who is paying her legal bills, a judge has ruled.
Bruce Fein, who works for the Turkish- American group and represented Schmidt in previous election- related disputes between the Miami Township Republican and Krikorian, could be called as a witness in the defamation case in Clermont County Common Pleas Court, visiting Judge John W. Kessler said in a decision on April 11.
It could be a potential conflict of interest for Fein to be Schmidt’s attorney in the defamation case, the judge said.
Schmidt doesn’t have to turn over to Krikorian copies of fee agreements or billing invoices related to her lawyers, the judge said.
But the judge’s decision means Schmidt attorney, Donald Brey, who works for a Columbus firm, must share records such as copies of checks or credit card statements that could indicate if someone made payments for her, Krikorian attorney Brian Hester said Tuesday.
Krikorian’s attorneys had asked the judge to order Schmidt to reveal whether her attorneys are being paid by the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund, which is affiliated with the Turkish Coalition of America.