Attorney convicted of bribing sexual assault victims should get law license back, panel says

February 15, 2018 GMT

Attorney convicted of bribing sexual assault victims should get law license back, panel says

CLEVELAND, Ohio — An Ohio attorney disciplinary panel says a Cleveland-area lawyer who participated in bribing sexual assault victims to try to keep his client out of prison should get his law license back.

The Ohio Supreme Court indefinitely suspended Marc Doumbas’ law license in 2017 based on his conduct in representing a client along with Cuyahoga County corruption figure Anthony Calabrese III. A jury found Doumbas, 49, guilty of two counts of bribery and he was sentenced in 2013 to a year in prison.

Doumbas’ license was placed on an interim suspension between 2014 and when the Supreme Court ruled last year. After asking the court in September to reinstate his law license, the Ohio Board of Professional Conduct wrote Monday that it is backing him.

The board wrote that Doumbas, who lives in Avon Lake, has held several jobs since his law license was suspended, including working in a machine shop, as a longshoreman, for the repossession company Relentless Recovery and selling used cars. He also worked at Sainato’s pizza restaurant in the Flats.

At a hearing in front of the board in January, Doumbas said he took full responsibility for the actions that sent him to prison and said he has identified procedures and practices to prevent making another mistake, according to the board’s recommendation.

The board wrote that Doumbas “possesses all of the mental, educational, and moral qualifications that were required of an applicant for admission to the practice of law” when he was admitted to practice in Ohio in 2001.

Doumbas did not immediately return a phone call.

Calabrese hired Doumbas and G. Timothy Marshall to represent Thomas Castro in a criminal case in which Castro was charged with sexually assaulting two women.

Marshall, Calabrese’s uncle, offered one of the victims $54,000 plus an additional $6,000 for her attorney for her “pain and suffering” while Castro’s case was pending. The woman construed the offer as a bribe and rejected it.

After Castro pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual battery, Marshall tried to again offer the same woman $50,000 to “say something nice to the judge” during the sentencing hearing.

That message never reached the woman.

Calabrese offered the second victim $50,000 through her attorney as a potential civil settlement in exchange for writing a letter asking for treatment for Castro rather than prison time. Calabrese later increased the offer amount to $60,000, then $90,000, but the woman rejected the offers.

Castro was sentenced to four years in prison. Doumbas claimed he did not make any of the offers to the women, but prosecutors said he knew of Marshall and Calabrese’s actions and was therefore complicit.

The Ohio Supreme Court in 2015 permanently disbarred Calabrese after his conviction on racketeering charges in the fallout of the county corruption probe that ensnared dozens of officials and contractors for paying and taking bribes. Calabrese is serving a nine-year federal prison sentence.

Marshall died in 2016.

Doumbas is also asking a Common Pleas judge to expunge and seal his case.

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