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Five lawyers who engineered a secret $8.4 million lawsuit settlement to conceal text messages that landed Detroit Mayer Kwame Kilpatrick in jail now face ethics charges that could jeopardize their law licenses, the Detroit Free Press reports. Mike Stefani represented three wronged police officers in a police whistle-blower lawsuit and during the trial secured text messages, despite a judge’s order not to do so, and used the text messages to extract the settlement that drove Kilpatrick from office. lawyers for the city and Kilpatrick, Detroit chief assistant corporation counsel Valerie Colbert-Osamuede; her ex-boss John Johnson Jr., and city-retained private lawyers Samuel McCargo and Wilson Copeland II learned of the explosive texts, they hatched a scheme with Stefani to conceal the evidence. The state Attorney Discipline Board, which tries and disciplines lawyers for professional misconduct, released the documents Wednesday and set hearings for July 8 to 14. The lawyers said they acted properly, but did not address details of the charges, which accuse all five to various degrees, and for different reasons, of ignoring their ethical duties in a headlong effort to hide the lies of Kilpatrick and his ex-lover and top aide, Christine Beatty. Robert Agacinski, head of the grievance commission, said the charges were the result “of very good lawyers confusing their duty to the people of Detroit, the City Council and the Office of Mayor with the individual, Kwame Kilpatrick.”

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