The attorney representing a man suing the Easton Police Department over brutality allegations says he needs to drop the case over “professional considerations.”
Attorney Robert Goldman filed court papers last month that say his continued representation of Jermaine Newsome will force him to violate the attorney rules of professional conduct.
Goldman says he can’t disclose the specific problem without disclosing confidential information about his clients: Newsome and Newsome’s fiancee, Becky Liberati.
Newsome claims police beat him and used racial slurs against him during a Jan. 27, 2017, raid at Liberati’s home in the 100 block of South 13th Street in Easton. However, Newsome appeared unhurt and was broadly grinning in a mugshot photograph snapped not long after the raid, according to court papers filed by Easton attorney David MacMain.
U.S. District Court Judge Edward G. Smith has scheduled a hearing for Nov. 26 to discuss Goldman’s request to withdraw from the case. No attorney is lined up to take over the case for Goldman, which makes his withdrawal unusual, according to Smith’s order. Due to the unusual circumstances, Smith has ordered Newsome and Liberati to appear in court Nov. 26.
According to Goldman’s court filing, “professional considerations require termination of the representation.” He didn’t respond to a message seeking comment. Nor did MacMain.
It’s unclear whether Newsome and Liberati have found a new lawyer, are looking for a lawyer or whether they intend to proceed with the case. Messages emailed to Newsome and Liberati weren’t returned.
Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr. said all the evidence he’s seen suggests police acted appropriately.
“In my opinion, the lawyer probably figured he wasn’t going to make any money on this so he dropped it,” Panto said.
The memorandum of law filed by Goldman says an attorney is entitled to withdraw from a case if his representation “serves no meaningful purpose,” although the memo doesn’t say why that principle would apply in this case.
The memo also says an attorney who encounters a conflict of interest must withdraw from that case.
“Counsel’s divided loyalties and shared confidences here preclude continued representation of any plaintiff,” Goldman wrote without specifying what divided loyalties he’s referring to.
Newsome’s lawsuit says Easton police officer Brian Burd had a vendetta against him because Newsome posted a spoof video concerning a traffic stop prior to the raid. The lawsuit says police wrongly targeted Newsome due to the video. It accuses Burd of using the “n-word” against Newsome and claims Burd and Lt. Matthew Gerould kicked and stomped on Newsome as he lay prone on his belly while another officer allegedly spit on him.
City police denied all the allegations in a response filed by MacMain.
“In the booking photo taken shortly after the incident, Newsome is smiling and there are no marks or other evidence of any injuries on Newsome’s face,” MacMain’s court filing says.
Newsome admitted in the “spoof” video he had drugs and a gun on him during the traffic stop but police failed to search him, according to MacMain’s filing. In the video Newsome holds up a bag with what appears to be marijuana and says he’s getting ready to smoke, according to the city’s filing. He also says he considered shooting police, the filing says.
Police told lehighvalleylive.com the day of the raid they went to the home as part of an investigation into crack cocaine sales. Police admit they came away from the raid with just a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Newsome pleaded no contest to possession of paraphernalia and paid a $150 fine, records say.
Newsome, 31, lives in Allentown.
Published at Thu, 14 Nov 2019 09:14:00 +0000