Prosecutors on Thursday unsealed an indictment charging a 64-year-old criminal defense attorney in Washington for his alleged participation in a scheme to fabricate evidence to benefit a client charged in a drug trafficking case.
The attorney, Charles Daum, a solo practitioner in the District, was charged in a seven-count indictment along with two private investigators.
The indictment said Daum was part of a plan to produce evidence to convince jurors that the drugs police seized from a client actually belonged to another person. Daum was charged with, among other crimes, three counts of influencing a juror and two counts of inducing perjury. Click here for a copy of the 16-page indictment.
Daum did not return messages seeking comment at his law office or by e-mail. His lawyer, David Schertler of Washington’s Schertler & Onorato, said in a statement that Daum is "shocked by the allegations made in the indictment and adamantly denies the charges" that government brought against him.
"These charges threaten to chill the important work done by all criminal defense attorneys in our ethical obligation to zealously defend our clients," Schertler said. "We are anxious for the opportunity to defend Mr. Daum in the same criminal justice system which he has served so long to vindicate both his personal and professional reputation.”
Daum, a member of the D.C. bar since 1978, has a history of attorney discipline actions in the District, Maryland and Virginia. He has been admonished for, among other ethical violations, revealing client secrets.
Justice Department prosecutors said earlier this month that the government is examining other cases that may have been compromised.
“The allegations are extremely serious and the consequences far reaching as this case goes to the very essence and integrity of the judicial system,” Criminal Division trial attorney Donnell Turner of the narcotics section said in court papers filed on April 12. Turner is prosecuting the case with DOJ trial attorney Robert Spelke.