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Former federal prosecutor G. Paul Howes admits he violated six ethics rules in a wide-ranging witness-payment scandal. But if the latest addition to his legal team — ethics expert Paul Knight — is any indication, Howes is mounting a challenge to the two other charges filed by the D.C. Bar Counsel. Howes, who served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the District during the 1990s, concedes that he interfered with justice as part of his prosecution of the infamous Newton Street Gang and another murder case, in which he doled out more than $140,000 in federal witness vouchers to 132 people — some of them friends and family of witnesses. Yet Howes denies allegations that his conduct was criminal or that he offered unlawful inducements to witnesses. Howes, currently a partner in the San Diego office of Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins, is expected to appear before D.C.’s Board on Professional Responsibility next month to defend the charges. (His April 11 hearing was postponed.) As a former member of the board, Knight brings an inside perspective to Howes’ high-profile defense team, which includes Plato Cacheris, John Hundley, and Barry Coburn of Trout Cacheris and Steven Tabackman of Tighe Patton Armstrong Teasdale. Knight, a partner at O’Connor & Hannan, declined to explain why Howes hired him, noting “I’m just barely getting into this thing.” But he did say that the two served together as assistant U.S. attorneys for many years. “I’ve know Paul for 25 years,” says Knight.
Emma Schwartz can be contacted at [email protected].

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