Halfway through his primary campaign for HD 81, attorney Michael Weinstein joined a case that has lawyers scrambling to defend themselves for deeds far worse than the accusations their clients faced.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar and New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker were accused of armed robbery. Weinstein joined their defense two weeks ago as co-counsel with state Rep. Michael Grieco.
But then, in an archetypal twist of South Florida legal corruption, the four witnesses recanted their sworn statements in exchange for a $55,000 payout they say was organized by Grieco with video evidence and more to support this accusation.
No matter how you cut it, the choice to join this case reflects some poor judgment on Weinstein’s part.
(1) Weinstein knew he was joining a case where his co-counsel, Grieco, had bribed witnesses to assure their silence; or,
(2) Weinstein should have known; after all, he chose to align with Grieco, who had been publicly named in multiple Bar complaints, ethics investigations, and scandals — ranging from campaign finance violations, cronyism to help friends avoid prosecution, and corruption.
For his part, Weinstein states, “I was retained before there were any allegations against any other lawyer. Moreover, the incidents that caused further investigation occurred before my involvement and without my knowledge whatsoever.”
Weinstein also insists, “I did not learn about any alleged payoff until it was reported in the media.”
This is not the first time that Weinstein’s credibility has been called into question based on his own acts and the associations he chooses.
Weinstein has lied to the public about the origins of his grassroots fundraising; fabricated lies about his political opponent; misrepresented facts in campaign mailers; and has yet to answer for any of it.
They say you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. Weinstein and Grieco have more in common than this one particular client.
While Grieco was reprimanded for his deeds, Weinstein has yet to face consequences or express remorse about the constructive role he played in securing freedom for his groomsman, Charlie Adelson, who authorities say hired hit men in the gruesome murder-for-hire of a young father, Dan Markel.
At a time when the very soul of the Democratic Party must align to pursue accountability for the powerful, Weinstein represents the opposite: deep pockets and political connections that seem to make him feel invulnerable to the rules and consequences expected of everyone else.
An additional response from Weinstein: “I have been a licensed attorney in the State of Florida for 22 years. The last 12 of those years I have earned the distinction of Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Trial Attorney. I am held to the highest degree of ethics and integrity and am considered an expert in my field. I am a former prosecutor, former member of the Bar Association Professionalism Committee and served three terms on the Florida Criminal Procedure Rules Committee. We wrote the rules that govern how courtroom proceedings should work. I understand the law, hold myself to the highest degree of ethics and have been recognized by my peers for my hard work in doing so.”