Miller & Chevalier wants to keep representing former lobbyist Kevin Ring in a public corruption case in Washington. But Ring is out of money, according to his lawyers.
Ring's defense lawyers, including Andrew Wise, a partner in the firm's Washington office, want a judge to appoint the defense team in order to allow them to be paid through Criminal Justice Act funds.
The lawyers filed court papers Thursday night in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking judicial appointment. Miller & Chevalier's representation of Ring began in July 2004 at the time of a private, internal investigation.
U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle did not immediately rule on the motion.
Ring was charged in 2008 in a ten-count indictment that alleged he provided illegal gratuities to public officials. His first trial in the fall of 2009 ended in a hung jury. He was convicted on five counts—and acquitted on three—last year. Ring is awaiting sentencing.
Wise said Ring has incurred “significant” legal fees—court papers do not indicate a dollar amount—since the firm began representing him. Ring’s attorneys said their work in examining the effect of the Supreme Court’s ruling in June 2010 in Skilling, which restricts the scope of honest services prosecutions, caused the defense cost “to far exceed” Ring’s ability to pay the tab.
“As a result, he is, at the present time and into the foreseeable future, financially unable to obtain adequate representation without having counsel appointed by this Court,” Wise said in court papers (PDF).
Ring faces a bench trial in June on two counts of obstruction of justice. His lawyers question the merits of the government’s pursuit of the two counts, saying that the offense level for the charges in the retrial, for which Ring was convicted, could put Ring in prison for the rest of his life.
Wise said the Miller & Chevalier team, which also includes partner Timothy O’Toole, has invested significant time in representing Ring. “Given counsel’s familiarity with the issues, the defense requests that the court appoint the undersigned to continue Ring’s representation,” Wise said.
The Justice Department, according to Ring’s lawyers, said it does not object to the defense team remaining in place as long as ring meets the eligibility requirements of the Criminal Justice Act, which sets an hour rate and a maximum amount. Under the CJA, lawyers in federal district and appellate court in Washington are paid $125 an hour.