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A D.C. attorney who filed a defamation suit in defending himself against charges that he tried to bribe a corrections official has ended up with his law license suspended. Harry Spikes sued the Office of the Corporation Counsel (now the Office of the Attorney General of the District of Columbia) in 1997 after the office sent a confidential letter to the D.C. Bar Counsel and the U.S. Attorney’s Office alleging that Spikes tried to improperly influence the testimony of a witness in a civil case. Spikes’ suit, which essentially made the confidential allegations public, was thrown out after the court found the alleged defamatory statements were privileged. The D.C. Bar Counsel’s office, however, brought ethics charges against Spikes for filing a frivolous suit. Last week the D.C. Court of Appeals suspended him for 30 days. Spikes did not return calls. “An attorney’s protection [from defamation] is the confidentiality of the system,” says D.C. Bar Counsel Wallace “Gene” Shipp Jr.
Bethany Broida can be contacted at [email protected]

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