Did the Temperament of the Lawyer for Kyle Rittenhouse Taint Operations at Pierce Bainbridge?
Did John Pierce’s alleged history of intimidation and violence cause problems at Pierce Bainbridge?
Troubling issues surrounding John M. Pierce, a lawyer hired by Rudy Giuliani and Kyle Rittenhouse, are now international news (Daily Beast, Daily Mail, NBC). Debt, lawsuits, domestic violence restraining orders and suggestions by his own personnel that Pierce lacks general stability, are all concerns that have come to the forefront.
It is perhaps unsurprising that Pierce’s former co-name partners at Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP have been accused of less than ethical conduct.
Indeed, Pierce’s apparent issues with intimidation and violence may have contributed to the firm’s “dramatic disintegration.”
The Accusations of Violence
Could it be that Pierce’s former partners were fearful of the firm’s managing partner? Based on public court filings, Pierce appears to have a violent streak.
- “Physical Assault.” A sworn declaration filed by his ex-wife says Pierce lost his law firm job prior to Pierce Bainbridge for “physically assaulting another employee.” Pierce is the “Respondent” in the screen shot.
- “An Intense Desire to Kill.” A sworn declaration filed by Pierce’s ex-wife sets forth the circumstances surrounding her first “Request for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order” in August 2016. An item of particular note is that Pierce’s ex-wife apparently received a warning that Pierce “expressed an intent desire to kill me.” Pierce denied the accusation.
- “Anger Management Issues.” Consistent with the above, John Pierce’s former spouse, in a second request for a “Domestic Violence Restraining Order” in July 2019, said Pierce has a “history of anger management issues.”
- Weaponizing A Client? Pierce Bainbridge filed a lawsuit for Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard on July 25, 2019. Just two days later, on July 27, 2019, Pierce sent “over sixty” text messages to his ex-wife, which led to the restraining order request. In one of the messages, Pierce appears to flaunt his powerful client Tulsi Gabbard. (Two other individuals were included on the text thread: Pierce’s assistant Lauren-Schaefer Green and his client Troy Queen.)
- One of the text messages referenced by the The Daily Beast is in the screen shot below.
The Less Than Ethical Conduct at Pierce Bainbridge
“It’s so great since I’ve never been arrested or sanctioned or sued for anything. I know exactly where the line is and just get off tipping my toe over sometimes. It’s so fun.” ~John M. Pierce in a 2018 written firm communication.
Pierce Bainbridge partners have been accused of unethical behavior. Some may say the origins of the accused misconduct are up for debate, it seems reasonable to wonder if they operated in fear of Pierce.
James D. Bainbridge (Bainbridge Law APC). Pierce’s “Co-Founder” was accused in March 2020 of assisting a client with committing fraud on the court; the motion is pending. Bainbridge’s background suggests he may be prone to questionable conduct. Indeed, Pierce’s former second in command was the subject of a complaint from the Federal Trade Commission in the 1990’s for allegedly spearheading an $80,000,000 scheme on the public. The matter was eventually settled with no admission of liability and an $11,000,000 fine. A contemporaneous article in the Las Vegas Sun suggested Bainbridge is a “cheat.”
Carolynn K. Beck (Goldstein & McClintock LLLP). Beck was the firm’s General Counsel & District of Columbia Office Managing Partner. Beck has been accused of deleting and destroying evidence; Beck never responded. Based, in part, on the sworn affidavit of a former Pierce Bainbridge associate, Beck has been accused of spearheading a fraud on the court. Beck submitted no personal sworn or other statement in response; the motion is pending.
David L. Hecht (Hecht Partners LLP). Hecht was the firm’s New York Office Managing Partner. Hecht was found by federal judge Alvin K. Hellerstein to have acted; “inconsistent” with the ethical Rule of Professional Conduct involving “dishonesty and misrepresentation.” Hecht was also accused by an ex-Pierce Bainbridge associate of lying to a federal court; Hecht has denied the accusation.
Ex-Pierce Bainbridge Partners Lie Under Oath
Aligning with issues set forth above, two former Pierce Bainbridge partners, Christopher N. LaVigne (Withers Bergman LLP / Withersworldwide) and Denver G. Edwards (Bradford Edwards & Varlack LLP) lied under oath in sworn affidavits filed in New York State Supreme Court on May 15, 2019. LaVigne was a fierce critic of Pierce but appears to have done an about face around the time the firm received a reported $28.5 million infusion in 2019. (Edwards is joined at his new firm by ex-Pierce Bainbridge partner Patrick Bradford and ex-firm Deputy General Counsel Camille Varlack.)
Was Pierce Bainbridge in the Dark?
Draw your own conclusions as to whether the Pierce Bainbridge partners were aware of Pierce’s apparent violent streak. An interesting item to consider is an October 24, 2019 letter from Pierce’s ex-wife’s counsel in the domestic proceedings. The letter accuses Pierce Bainbridge of involvement in “stonewalling” a subpoena for financial information related to Pierce.
It appears that, at the time, Carolynn K. Beck was the firm General Counsel, Camille Varlack the Deputy General Counsel and Douglas S. Curran (BraunHagey & Borden LLP) the United States Office Managing Partner.
Breach of Child Support Obligations
To top it off, despite receiving a reported $70,000,000 in funding over roughly one year starting on April 2019, Pierce was accused by his ex-wife of breaching child support obligations. Pierce is the “Respondent” in the screen shot.
The seeming dismal financial situation of the lawyer for Kyle Rittenhouse and Rudy Giuliani is now widely known. It appears there are additional troubling issues about John M. Pierce, including violence related. Pierce is now on an enormous public stage.