HAMILTON, Mont. — The state Commission on Practice is recommending the Montana Supreme Court disbar a Hamilton attorney for making “false and reckless statements” in his unsuccessful campaign to unseat District Judge Jeffrey Langton.
Attorney Robert Myers had three cases before the commission, including one in which Langton fined him $10,000 in 2014 for alleging that Langton and another attorney had secret conversations in a child custody case and for trying to subpoena Langton to provide a deposition.
The state Supreme Court upheld the sanction and the commission last week recommended Myers’ law license be suspended for seven months.
The second action was for false claims made by the client in the custody case in an advertisement supporting Myers’ candidacy for district judge in 2016. The commission recommended a three-year suspension.
The third action — for which disbarment was recommended — found that Myers ran false campaign ads saying Langton used drugs and had a conflict of interest in a drug case in his courtroom, The Ravalli Republic reports .
Members of the Commission on Practice heard testimony from Myers and Langton during a hearing in July.
“I could not believe this man would stoop this low,” Langton said in July, calling Myers’ actions a “smear campaign.”
Myers argued the ads were political speech and protected under the First Amendment.
“I don’t care what the Supreme Court of Montana says, I certainly don’t care what Judge Langton says,” Myers said.
A federal judge rejected Myers’ protected speech argument on Sept. 15.
Myers told the commission in July that he had independently corroborated the statements in the ads, then said he hadn’t, then said he had for some, and also that he hadn’t meant them as facts, only as stories he had been told by other people, the Missoulian reported at the time.
The state Supreme Court will make the final decision on what punishment, if any, Myers should receive.
Information from: Ravalli Republic , http://www.ravallirepublic.com