The State Bar of California has opened an investigation of possible misconduct by high-profile attorney Gloria Allred, according to LawNewz.com.
Allred, a renowned civil rights attorney known for getting involved in controversial celebrity cases, especially those involving allegations of sexual assault and discrimination, has represented several women who claimed that comedian Bill Cosby sexually assaulted them.
Recently, Allred launched a defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump on behalf of Summer Zervos, a former “Apprentice” contestant who claims Trump groped her.
According to a letter from the bar viewed by LawNewz.com, Allred’s case has been forwarded to the bar’s Enforcement Unit for further investigation and possible prosecution.
It’s not clear specifically what the bar is investigating, but it typically only open investigations after receiving complaints from consumers, other attorneys or former clients, the law news website reported.
According to the bar’s website, not all complaints are sent to the Enforcement Unit for further investigation.
“If it appears, however, that the attorney may be a repeat offender or have committed a violation where there is a serious likelihood of discipline being imposed, an investigator and a Bar prosecutor from the Enforcement Unit take over the investigation,” the bar’s website states.
According to records, Allred has no disciplinary history with the state bar, but experts say the fact the complaint was “taken up the chain” could be significant.
“There could be many reasons why the complaint was set to the Enforcement Unit,” Zachary Wechsler, a California attorney who represents other lawyers during bar investigations, told LawNewz.com. “I would be reluctant to read in that she is in serious trouble. … She could be if there are charges eventually filed.”
So far, no formal charges have been filed against Allred. The possible disciplinary actions in bar investigations range from reproval to disbarment.
The state bar reportedly received more than 15,000 bar complaints against California lawyers in 2015. Of those, formal discipline was imposed in 990 cases, and 421 lawyers were suspended or disbarred.
The state bar cannot confirm or deny the existence of an investigation, and a complaint only becomes public when disciplinary charges have been filed in State Bar Court.
So far, Allred has not responded to requests for comment.