A Motley Crew Has Surrounded Kyle Rittenhouse Lawyer John Pierce
The Pierce Bainbridge attorney’s world is immersed in corruption, controversy and aberrant behavior. For those who’ve been in John Pierce’s orbit over the years, it’s also been full of disappointment.
John Pierce has suffered another public defeat as a result of his dodgy finances. The Harvard Law School educated attorney had previously stepped off the Board of a foundation raising legal defense funds for Kyle Rittenhouse, now Pierce has stepped away from the Rittenhouse criminal defense team. The latter setback followed a scathing court filing from the Wisconsin prosecutor’s office which raised concerns about Pierce’s “involvement with an unregulated and opaque ‘slush fund,’” and the resultant “ample opportunity for self-dealing and fraud.”
Pierce claims this lasted incident was “part of the plan” and fueled by “fake news;” excuses which should not be taken seriously. Indeed, for those familiar with Pierce, his misfortunes are likely unsurprising.
The embattled attorney’s orbit for the past few years has been populated by the:
- ethically challenged;
- outright dishonest;
- feloniously inclined; or
- those who’ve suffered disappointment after trusting John Mark Pierce.
A review of the Motley Crew pictured above — row-by-row from left to right — is enlightening.
ROW 1. ETHICS, ETHICS, PIERCE, FELON, LIES
David L. Hecht — Ethically-Challenged. Pierce’s former co-named partner at Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP (“Pierce Bainbridge”). A federal judge found Hecht ran afoul of the ethics rules on “dishonesty and misrepresentation;” an ex-associate accused Hecht of lying to a federal court; an ex-partner says Hecht “deceptively spliced” messages to fit a “false narrative;” and former clients say Hecht deceived them. An excerpt from a Boeing 737 Max lawsuit filing covers the last two issues.
Rudy Giuliani — Ethically-Challenged. Per the New York Times, in November 2019 after reputable law firms “stayed away,” Giuliani hired Pierce Bainbridge for the Ukraine fiasco. Weeks after Giuliani was on board, the Wall Street Journal reported that federal authorities were looking into the former New York City mayor’s business dealings. The firm’s financial activity while Giuliani was a client — and a related $65 million “Money Mystery” — raises questions.
John M. Pierce — Severely Troubled. Pierce has had issues with drugs, domestic violence restraining orders and child support; his personal finances are an independent problem. Pierce prepared and income and expense statement in November 2019, an illustrative summary was prepared by Philadelphia attorney suing Pierce and his ex-co named partners: Jim Bainbridge, Carolynn K. Beck (Goldstein & McClintock LLLP), David L. Hecht (Hecht Partners LLP) and Max Price (Hecht Partners LLP).
The Philly lawyer says the statement suggests Pierce improperly raided law firm accounts or misused funds from lenders.
Michael Avenatti — Felon. Avenatti was arrested while at a California State Bar disciplinary hearing while accompanied by a then Pierce Bainbridge attorney. He then spent time in a jail cell previously occupied by drug king pin El Chapo. According to a public court filing, Pierce bragged about sleeping with a female relative of El Chapo who “went to jail for beating” him. Avenatti paid nothing for the firm’s legal services.
Denver G. Edwards — Dishonest. A former partner of Pierce — now with Bradford Edwards & Varlack — Denver Edwards lied repeatedly under oath to shield from public view allegations Edwards said “if true, would constitute criminal activity.” Edwards, a liar, even accused New York State Attorney General Letitia James of “lies in her cases.” Given the messenger, we take this with a grain of salt.
ROW 2. FELON, DISAPPOINTED, PIERCE, DISAPPOINTED, DISAPPOINTED
George Papadopoulos — Felon. The former Pierce Bainbridge client was ordered to prison after a hearing also attended by Pierce, and his ex-partners Christopher N. LaVigne and Caroline Polisi. A scene from that day is captured at the 21-second mark of The Lincoln Project’s video on Donald Trumps “felons,” a freeze frame captured in an NPR article.
Tulsi Gabbard — Disappointed. Pierce’s firm filed two “$50 Million” lawsuits for Tulsi Gabbard. Both suits were busts, $0.00 recovered. One against Hillary Clinton was signed by David L. Hecht; Techdirt.com opined that Hecht’s complaint was “laughable” and said the now boss of Hecht Partners should be “embarrassed.”
Pierce also invoked “Tulsi’s” name while threatening the mother of his children, which text onslaught resulted in a second domestic violence restraining order against him.
John M. Pierce — Severely troubled. Pierce’s aberrant behavior appears to have impacted his three children. His Harvard Law educated ex-wife says:
- Pierce breached child support obligations,
- Pierce’s two younger children did not want to see him, and
- Pierce was capable of harming their children, which she feared he may do.
Lin Wood — Disappointed. Pierce was prominently featured as a Board Member for the #FightBack, along with Lin Wood and another attorney.
The glory was short-lived. Pierce financial shambles were exposed and he stepped off the Board. Yet Wood — the group leader — initially stood by Pierce, as reflected in a Daily Beast coverage from September 4, 2020.
Just months later, however, Pierce is a #FightBack outcast.
Edward Ondarza — Disappointed. The former “Vice President” at Enron, and “Founder” and “Portfolio Manager” for Virage Capital Management, presumably had enough faith in Pierce to provide Pierce Bainbridge with a $65 million litigation funding capital infusion, on the heels of another litigation funder — Pravati Capital LLC — having declared that the firm defaulted to the tune of $9.1 million.
As it turned out, a littlr over a year later, Virage Capital said Pierce Bainbridge defaulted on their lending agreement, as well. Virage reportedly has even chased formerpartners at their new law firms in an “attempt to collect some of Pierce Bainbridge’s estimated $65 million debt.”
It is an odd “Money Mystery” that now includes Pierce Bainbridge spin-off firm Hecht Partners.
ROW 3: LIES, FELON, PIERCE, ETHICS, DISAPPOINTED
Christopher N. LaVigne — Dishonest. Like Denver G. Edwards, LaVigne also lied under oath in an effort to keep allegations about malfeasance at the firm from seeing the light of day. LaVigne now works at Withers Bergman / Withers Worldwide.
Lenny Dykstra — Felon. The former major league baseball star is a current or former firm client. Dykstra plead guilty to money laundering in 2012, and David L. Hecht failed in his attempt to save a Dykstra complaint from being thrown out of court earlier this year.
John M. Pierce — Severely troubled. Pierce essentially pilfered $2.5 million from a pay day lender in Queens, New York in February of this year, a related $4 million money judgment was entered against Pierce Bainbridge and related entities in July. Pierce was also recently accused of witness intimidation and a related complaint made to the California State Bar. Questions have also been raised as to whether Pierce is involved in running a Ponzi Scheme.
Carolynn A. Beck — Ethically-Challenged. Beck was the firm’s General Counsel and has been accused of destroying documents, suborning perjury and spearheading a fraud on a court; a related sanctions motion is pending. Communications strongly suggest Beck was aware Pierce was raiding firm accounts as far back as October 2018. In addition, Beck’s intellect has been called into question by several ex-firm attorneys.
Marc Mukasey — Disappointed. Mukasey announced his agreement to serve as outside counsel for Pierce Bainbridge in June 2019. The long-time Giuliani ally, who has also provided counsel to Team Trump, offered glowing public praise about Pierce Bainbridge calling it a “a first-class law firm made up of terrific lawyers and great people.” Mukasey quit several months later, citing ethical concerns with continued representation.
The dishonest, the ethically challenged, the feloniously inclined and the disappointed. As we said earlier, those familiar with John Mark Pierce are likely not surprised by his public misfortunes.
Be that as it may. John Pierce, and many of those in his orbit, appear to remain free from consequences, notwithstanding a cavalcade of documented misconduct.
There is another piece to that story — it is concerning— we intend to cover it in the near future.
As for now, The Motley Crew that has surrounded John Pierce is something to behold, and this is only part of the picture.
Addendum: Rudy Giuliani hired John Pierce’s firm Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP for Ukraine in November 2019. The corrupt firm splintered months later. The conduct of Pierce and certain of his former partners is the subject of “Gangland Tactics or Aggressive Lawyering?” It is a fascinating read.