Fortenberry’s attorney hires his own attorney

The federal judge believes the lawyer crossed a line and should face consequences
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 6:24 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - While the former Nebraska congressman appeals his conviction for lying to the FBI, a member of his legal team had to hire his own attorney.

The federal judge believes the lawyer crossed a line and should face consequences.

John Littrell is one of Jeff Fortenberry’s trial lawyers.

Last month a federal judge ordered him to explain why he said what he said before the Fortenberry jury. The attorney under the microscope has now hired his own attorney to defend himself.

Remember, Jeff Fortenberry did not testify at the march trial which is his constitutional right and the judge told the jury that they were not to read anything into the decision.

But then Defense Attorney John Littrell told the jury that in a way, Fortenberry really did testify because they heard his voice through the audio recordings played during six days of trial and that his client wouldn’t have added anything if he did testify because his memory wasn’t any better today.

That’s when the government objected.

Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr. questions whether Littrell should be sanctioned or referred to the discipline committee for crossing the line, saying it’s an “elementary principle of law” that you don’t talk about it to the jury.

John Littrell’s legal team argues that he made the comments in good faith, doing everything in his power to defend Jeff Fortenberry. He said his closing arguments were off-the-cuff and not written down and that he’s reflected on how it happened and will ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Littrell said the judge’s questions has caused him to reconsider whether the risks of commenting on his client’s decision not to testify are ever worth taking and has asked the judge to let it go.

It’s not clear when the judge will respond and if he still intends to refer the attorney to the discipline committee.

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