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State Bar of California recommends lawyer's disbarment

January 19, 2012|By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times

The State Bar of California has recommended that attorney Brian Oxman, whose high-profile client list has included pop star Michael Jackson and the 1-800-GET-THIN surgery marketing company, be disbarred for several violations of bar rules.

In a Jan. 13 order, the State Bar Court said Oxman should lose the ability to practice law because of dishonest and unethical conduct, including failing to advise the bar after he had been fined by a judge and commingling personal funds in a client trust account.

Under the order, Oxman will become inactive Feb. 2, pending a final ruling by the state Supreme Court. It typically takes several months for the Supreme Court to issue a final ruling.

Oxman did not respond to a request for comment.

In its order, the bar cited Oxman's two past disciplinary cases as evidence that he should face the maximum penalty.

"Oxman's three disciplinary proceedings show a disturbing disregard for the administration of justice, including misrepresentations to courts and a failure to cooperate in disciplinary proceedings," the order said.

As a result, the bar said, "We recommend that Oxman be disbarred to protect the public, the courts and the legal profession."

Oxman has made numerous appearances on television as a legal expert. He was part of the defense team during Jackson's 2005 sexual molestation trial. Most recently, he has represented the 1-800-GET-THIN marketing company and its affiliated Lap-Band surgery centers. Last month, he represented the companies during a hearing before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

On Tuesday, Oxman was named as a defendant in a whistle-blower lawsuit filed against 1-800-GET-THIN by former workers at the surgery centers. Among other things, the lawsuit accused Oxman of attempting to bribe a surgeon to sign a statement that would falsely accuse an opposing lawyer in a wrongful-death lawsuit of ethical violations. The wrongful-death lawsuit had been filed by relatives of a woman who died following Lap-Band surgery at a clinic in West Hills.

stuart.pfeifer@latimes.com

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