Once-disgraced lobbyist wants his law license back

Local,Crime,Luke Broadwater
A once-prominent lobbyist and lawyer convicted of scheming a California clinic out of $57,000 asked Maryland’s highest court Thursday to reinstate his law license.

The attorney for Ira Cooke, 60, argued that the lobbyist’s law license should be reinstated because a California appeals court overturned his 2004 conviction, citing improper evidence used by prosecutors.

“Mr. Cooke was railroaded there and he would have been found innocent if it wasn’t for the railroading that occurred,” said Albert Figinski, Cooke’s attorney. “It is imperative that this court return his license.”

Even Glenn Grossman of the Attorney Grievance Commission, which seeks discipline against  Maryland lawyers, told the seven judges he believes Cooke should get his license back.

“There were innocent inferences that could be drawn, but those innocent inferences were buried by what looks to me to be prosecutorial misconduct,” Grossman said.

Cooke was convicted in 2004 of theft, commercial bribery and conspiracy in the alleged theft of $57,000 from the Desert Counseling Clinic, a mental health care center. In 2006, the appeals court overturned the verdict and Cooke’s lobbying license was later reinstated by the state’s Board of Ethics.

“This is a very unusual situation, where the only grounds for disbarment was the conviction and the conviction was overturned and another state agency found that was enough for him to have his lobbying license back,” Figinski said. “We’re hoping for his reinstatement.”
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