AP: Phil Russell Plea Bargain; Wayne Keeney Statement; CBS News Radio 880 Podcast … Background …

September 27, 2007

Statement of Atty. Wayne Keeney
member, Connecticut Criminal Defense
Lawyers Association
NYPD retired officer; former city prosecutor, San Diego, Calif.

203-335-2080; cell, 203-249-8001.

Attorney Russell put his duty to his client in the forefront of his thought process, which may have clouded his judgment, causing him to offend an obscure law.

It is a mistake that many experienced attorneys could have made given that this law has never been applied to this set of circumstances.

His plea is a sensible resolution to a matter in which his decision was such an extremely close call.

Lawyer Admits
Destroying Evidence
In Church Pornography Case

The Associated Press

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – A prominent attorney admitted today that he destroyed evidence in a child pornography investigation at a Greenwich church.

Philip Russell pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport to one count of misprision of a felony, which means he had knowledge of a felony but didn’t report it.

He was released on $100,000 bond and faces eight to 14 months in prison under a plea agreement when he is sentenced Dec. 17.

Russell was charged Feb. 16 with destroying a computer that contained child pornography at Christ Church in Greenwich.

Russell, a former attorney for the church, is accused of obstructing an FBI investigation that led to the January conviction of the church’s music director, Robert Tate, for possessing child pornography.

Former President George H.W. Bush attended the church while growing up and funeral services for his parents were held there.

Russell acknowledges he destroyed the computer, but said he had no reason to believe the matter was under investigation or that it would lead to an investigation.

He apologized in court Thursday.

“I just want to make perfectly clear how sorry I am for what I did in this case,” he said.

Russell was charged under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which Congress passed in 2002 after a wave of corporate accounting scandals. The law made it easier to prosecute obstruction of justice by requiring only that an investigation was foreseeable rather than already pending.

His recent clients included Andrew Kissel, a wealthy Greenwich developer charged in a multimillion-dollar real estate fraud case. Kissel was found slain in his home last year days before he was to plead guilty. That case remains unsolved.

  • Fran Schneidau Report, CBS 880
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  • Defense Lawyers Amicus Brief
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    3 Responses to “AP: Phil Russell Plea Bargain; Wayne Keeney Statement; CBS News Radio 880 Podcast … Background …”

    1. Steve Says:

      Sounds like the Feds are really diggin’ on this guy. People destroy hard drives all the time. H-drives contain a cache of personal information, and the easiest way to protect it is to destroy it.

    2. Gideon Says:

      It’s good for him, but I’m not sure about the precedent it sets. Thanks for the link. My reaction to this is here.

    3. Anonymous Says:

      I have known Mr. Russel for many years and have known him always to be a very ethical and professional attorney. It pains me to see him prosecuted for basically doing his job well. I find it shocking to fathom that a criminal defense lawyer is supposed to rat out potential felons and aide the government to build cases.

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