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D.C. Bar yet to disbar ex-FBI attorney guilty of altering doc to wiretap Trump campaign adviser

U.S. government prosecutors are seeking prison time for Clinesmith, who will be sentenced Friday

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FBI
FBI
(Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Updated: January 28, 2021 - 3:10pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith will be sentenced Friday for illegally altering a document that was used to authorize the agency's effort to wiretap former Trump 2016 campaign adviser Carter Page.

However, Clinesmith remains in good standing with the District of Columbia's bar association, which has not begun an investigation into whether the group should strip him of his license to practice law, according to a new report.

The D.C. bar as of Thursday still lists Clinesmith as an attorney in "good standing," despite his pleading guilty nearly six months ago for altering the document.

Clinesmith's guilty plea was reported to the bar, and in September, the National Legal and Policy Center filed a complaint with the group.

"The only appropriate sanction for committing a serious felony that also interfered with the proper administration of justice and constituted misrepresentation, fraud and moral turpitude is disbarment. Anything less would minimize the seriousness of the misconduct," reads the complaint.

Clinesmith was formerly licensed to practice in Michigan, where he attended law school, in addition to the district. The State Bar of Michigan automatically suspended the 38-year-old's license in mid-August, when the court accepted his guilty plea. The suspension will remain in effect until a review panel determines the ultimate fate of his license.

According to Paul Kamenar, the attorney for the National Legal and Policy Center, who drafted the complaint, the D.C. Bar has "primary jurisdiction over his (Clinesmith's) bar status," because he has spent the last 12 years practice in the district, not Michigan. 

Clinesmith is a registered Democrat who sent rants about Trump to his colleagues in 2016 after the election. 

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