Former State Bar employees must answer questions about Tom Girardi, judge rules
State Bar employees with direct knowledge of the case against Tom Girardi, the judge who imposed a $100,000 fine on the lawyer, must talk to him and answer questions about him, a judge has ruled.
In a brief order issued Thursday, Superior Court Judge Robert C. Smith ruled that in light of the case’s continuing and active nature, employees who participated in the hearing over Girardi’s actions on the case should testify and be subject to cross-examination.
The judge’s decision, which was written by the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Paul Boyer, is the first time that a judge has explicitly permitted the employees to testify about their personal experiences with Girardi. Smith wrote in the order that the order “is necessary to avoid prejudicing Mr. Girardi, who continues to enjoy the protection of the court’s confidentiality.”
The ruling means that Girardi, who faces potential criminal charges for his conduct in the case, will have to answer questions about his interactions with the state bar. Girardi has declined to speak to reporters and has declined to discuss any aspects of the case that would constitute confidential communications and therefore would be protected from his former employees.
On the record, Girardi has expressed his opposition to having the employees testify.
“I am not going to discuss anything with them. They can go to hell,” Girardi said in a March telephone interview. “I have nothing to say to them. They are not going to be my witness.”
The lawyer, who was appointed to the bench by former Gov. Kathleen Donovan, was sentenced to a $100,000 fine and three years’ probation in May after a judge found that he had attempted to persuade two women to have sex with him. Both the victims are women attorneys who specialize in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases.
In addition to testifying about his communications with the victims during the course of the case, the employees will give their own testimony at a public hearing in May.
In reaching her decision,