Sorry, we've always wanted to use one of those titles. But seriously, you really won't.
Jennifer Gaubert is a lawyer, a radio host, and a self-described "public figure." She also reportedly tried to sleep with a cab driver while very, very drunk. None of this is remarkable, or something we'd ordinarily care about, but then the courts got involved.
The cab driver, Hervey Farell, accused her of assault, as she allegedly grabbed his genitals. She has since been convicted, thanks to his videotaping of the encounter.
A year later, she filed alleged false accusations of him trying to extort money for the video. This led to his arrest, negative press coverage, and a temporary loss of work. He's now suing both her and the New Orleans Police Department, while she faces felony charges for the false accusations.
And There's Video!
Warning folks, this video contains sexually explicit talk, as well as censored genitals:
God, that was awk-ward.
If you're at work, or not into watching intoxicated women throw themselves at cab drivers, here's the recap: they were apparently kissing, he resisted her further advances because he was/is in a relationship, she pleaded for his affections to no avail, then after many awkward minutes, some flashed underwear and genitalia, and more pleading, he dropped her off.
The video, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, was used to convict her of misdemeanor simple battery. That, alone, probably wouldn't have much of an effect on her legal career. But wait, there's more!
And a False Statement Charge!
Next month, according to the Times-Picayune, she's set for trial on charges of filing false statements concerning denial of constitutional rights, a weird charge, but one that punishes false statements about deprivation of rights by an officer, agency, employee, representative, etc. of the state of Louisiana. We're guessing the right was privacy, and the official was the licensed cab driver, but it's Louisiana's civil law system -- we're not going to pretend that we understand it.
Either way, she faces "not less than one year nor more than five years with or without hard labor," or a fine, or both, if convicted of making the false accusations.
And then there's possible bar discipline. Filing false statements? That certainly sounds like a possible ethics violation. (See Rule 8.4 (b), (c), (d), for starters.) And that's not all!
And a Civil Suit!
This isn't just a series of criminal arrests, dropped charges, and convictions. There's also a related civil case.
Last year, when Gaubert allegedly falsely accused Farrell, the police didn't investigate. Had they so much as bothered to check their files, they would've noticed that he filed a complaint about the assault a year prior, shortly after the fateful cab ride. They also never requested to see his alleged extortionary email, which doesn't seem to exist.
Instead, they arrested him, he was forced to surrender his taxicab license during a months-long investigation, and he was paraded as a pervert by the newspapers.
He's now filed a lawsuit [PDF] against Gaubert and the city, alleging inadequate training and supervision, false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and kidnapping.
What can we all take from this sordid tale? First, as a profession, we have a bad track-record with alcohol. We need to knock it off. Second, what's with the "public figure" statements? Anyone knows those magic words will kill off any defamation claims and finally, what happens in a Nola cab doesn't stay there -- but it will on Google.
That's one hell of a ride, and clearly, not what Gaubert was hoping for.
- Your Reputation in the Age of Jerk.com, Revenge Porn, Yelp (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)
- Ethics 101: This, Folks, is Why We Don't Diddle Our Clients (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)
- Judge MacKenzie in Trouble Again, Urged Inmate to Drop Lawsuit (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)