Alston’s Maryland law license lifted for ethical violations

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Maryland’s highest court has suspended the law license of a state delegate who is already facing a separate set of legal troubles over her reported misuse of state funds.

The Maryland Court of Appeals on Tuesday barred Delegate Tiffany Alston from practicing law in the state on grounds that she committed “multiple ethical violations” by inadequately representing a client and failed to properly maintain a trust account to keep client funds.

Ms. Alston, Prince George’s Democrat, was accused by a former client of not keeping her reasonably informed during proceedings and not turning over the client’s file after she left Ms. Alston to seek new counsel.

Ms. Alston reached an agreement in 2010 with the Attorney Grievance Commission in which she acknowledged her transgression and agreed to refund the client $5,000, submit to monitoring of her trust account and perform other rectifying measures.

But the commission and the court found that Ms. Alston failed to honor the conditions and showed a history of “lateness, non-responsiveness and dilatory practice” when asked to explain herself or provide proof that she was complying with the agreement.

The commission in turn sought disciplinary action from the Court of Appeals, whose ruling indefinitely suspends Ms. Alston’s law license.

The ruling will allow her to seek reinstatement at a yet-to-be-determined date.

Ms. Alston’s attorneys, J. Wyndal Gordon and Raouf Abdullah, did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment.

The first-term delegate’s legal troubles are far from over as she faces sentencing this fall and possible expulsion from the House of Delegates after being found guilty in June of paying an employee at her law firm with money from a no-show, $100-a-day legislative job.

She is also scheduled to go to trial Oct. 9 for charges that she illegally used campaign funds to pay for her wedding and other personal expenses.

Ms. Alston’s attorneys are attempting to overturn her June conviction because of what they consider improper testimony from state investigators, but are also negotiating a plea deal with state prosecutors in an attempt to resolve both cases.

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