A recent federal court ruling in Los Angeles has brought to light the ongoing case of disbarred lawyer Tom Girardi, who is accused of stealing millions of dollars from his clients. The case has been closely watched by legal experts, as it raises questions about the ethics of lawyers and their obligations to their clients.
US District Judge Josephine Staton recently issued an order regarding Girardi’s competency to stand trial, which has been sealed under her designation. However, sources have confirmed that Girardi, a prominent California-based lawyer, has been deemed “competent to stand trial” in the criminal case.
Girardi’s legal troubles began in February 2022, when he was charged by prosecutors in Los Angeles and Chicago with taking over $18 million from funds belonging to clients of his law firm. Despite pleading not guilty to the charges, Girardi’s lawyers have claimed that he is suffering from dementia, which has caused some parts of his brain to decay. Girardi himself has also claimed that he has suffered from memory loss and was unaware of his loss of bar license while not paying his clients.
To gather evidence regarding Girardi’s defenses effectively, Staton has held competency hearings for Girardi in August and September. In another order passed on Tuesday, Staton has provided both sides until next week to determine the portions of her judgments that should remain under the seal.
The case against Girardi has been particularly significant due to the nature of the alleged thefts. Girardi was first accused in December 2020 of stealing millions from settlement funds belonging to clients, particularly families who have been victims of the Boeing Lion Air Flight 610 crash in Indonesia in 2016. The court proceedings have so far revealed substantial evidence, and the case is expected to continue to unfold as more details become available.