We believe our ability to successfully cope with the personal needs and public scrutiny of high-profile individuals involved in civil or criminal litigation is an asset that is unmatched by other firms. This is one of those niche areas that has developed over time, and these types of cases are probably what we’ve become best known for handling as a firm — although the bulk of our practice is corporate, commercial litigation. As with our corporate clients, we’re hired to make the problems go away, and that record of success is darn good. We’re actually quite proud of the fact that many of these individuals put their trust in our team when they could likely choose from many other accomplished lawyers for their needs.
These cases can be particularly sensitive as they often involve potentially negative publicity, and we’ve found that our judgment and experience in engaging news media can help assure that any coverage is as balanced and objective as possible.
You’re likely familiar with many of the names and circumstances among these clients and cases.
The former member of the Houston Rockets professional basketball team and member of the National Basketball Association’s Hall of Fame was charged with three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and three counts of indecency with a child. Mr. Murphy alleged that his accusers were motivated by money. After a five-week jury trial, the jury acquitted Mr. Murphy on all counts in a little more than two hours.
After United States District Judge Sam Kent sexually assaulted Cathy McBroom, she sought legal advice from several lawyers who each advised her to remain quiet about the assaults because he was a powerful federal judge. Then Ms. McBroom met Rusty. After hearing her story, Rusty agreed to represent her pro bono and threw the full weight of his firm’s resources behind exposing the actions of Judge Kent. After conducting an exhaustive investigation and without fearing the consequences, Rusty publicly accused the judge of felony sexual assault, publicly criticized the Fifth Circuit Judicial Council’s investigation and reprimand of Judge Kent, and publicly and privately urged the Department of Justice to bring criminal charges against Judge Kent.
These claims sparked extensive news coverage of Judge Kent’s assault and the Fifth Circuit Judicial Council’s kid-glove treatment of his “sexual harassment,” in addition to Congressional outrage at Judge Kent’s conduct and a federal criminal probe. Ultimately Judge Kent was indicted, pled guilty, was sentenced to prison, and impeached. Ms. McBroom’s courage to speak out against Judge Kent, fortified by Rusty’s support, resulted in her being named Texas Lawyer’s Impact Player of the Year for 2009.
We investigated allegations that Sharpstown High School representatives altered records concerning student dropout rates.
Houston Police Chief C.O. Bradford was indicted by a Harris County Grand Jury on charges of aggravated perjury in connection with the use of profanity against another police official. The state alleged that Bradford lied under oath at a civil service hearing when he said he did not believe he had called an assistant chief an improper name. Bradford contended he did not remember having used the word on that occasion. The occasion at issue turned out to have been 18 months before.
State District Judge Brian Rains dismissed the charges minutes after the prosecution rested its case, finding the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law. Jurors later said they would have found the Chief not guilty if they had received the case.
We served as co-lead trial counsel in the litigation and jury trial surrounding claims made by Anna Nicole Smith and J. Howard Marshall III against the estate of the late J. Howard Marshall II. We represented Mr. Marshall’s family-owned corporation and Mr. Marshall’s accountant in both his individual capacity and as trustee of various trusts established by Mr. Marshall during his lifetime. Although Ms. Smith dismissed her claim after the fourth month of trial, she remained in the lawsuit until the verdict because of a pending counterclaim. In a highly charged and high-profile case, the jury found against Ms. Smith and Mr. Marshall’s oldest son in every respect.
Former Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole retained our firm to help him with a multi-year federal investigation into his friendship with a local contractor who did business with the county. Mr. Eversole was indicted on multiple charges relating to this friendship and, though some in the local media were all but demanding a prison term for him, his 2011 trial ended in a hung jury. Mr. Eversole steadfastly denied ever engaging in any official misconduct and we never relented in our defense of him on this issue. Ultimately, our firm negotiated a plea bargain for Mr. Eversole on the sole ground that he misled an FBI agent who came to his home, without warning, and asked Mr. Eversole a series of questions about his friend. Mr. Eversole received probation.
Former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson was sentenced to 10 days in jail and 500 hours of community service in for hiding evidence to convict the wrong man of murder. As a special prosecutor in a court of inquiry that led to the charges against Anderson, Rusty Hardin showed Anderson withheld key evidence in order to convict innocent man Michael Morton, who wrongly served 25 years in prison. In Michael Morton’s memoir Getting Life: An Innocent Man’s 25-Year Journey From Prison to Peace, he praises Rusty Hardin: “It would soon become clear that this team’s greatest asset was hidden inside Rusty Hardin’s head. His brain is a legal computer with the unique understanding of the workings of the human heart. Hardin knows how to speak to real people. He is able to explain great pain or unfairness in a way that can easily be understood.”
We represented Cordell Lindsey, the former Chief of Police of Texas Southern University. In January of 2001, Chief Lindsey was fired by TSU because he was investigating a co-worker who was suspected of stealing money from the university. After his termination, Chief Lindsey filed a whistleblower lawsuit against TSU.
In October 2003, TSU asked to settle for $350,000 during trial after cross-examination of TSU’s key witnesses. After the trial concluded, the co-worker was charged with felony theft.
We regularly represent Rice University in various civil lawsuits, and they provide some of the more enjoyable work we do.
We represented Roger Clemens in matters that developed from the Mitchell Report’s allegations of performance-enhancing substance abuse in major league baseball. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner was named in the report, based solely on accusations made by his former trainer. Mr. Clemens repeatedly and consistently denied these charges and presented credible evidence of the honesty, integrity, and hard work that made his historic career possible. Most recently we represented Mr. Clemens in the criminal case brought by the Department of Justice alleging that he committed perjury before Congress in consistently denying the charges found in the Mitchell Report. After an initial mistrial in that case, Mr. Clemens was found not guilty on all counts by a Washington D. C. jury after eight weeks of testimony. In addition we have represented the baseball legend in a civil defamation suit against his accuser, a civil defamation suit brought by his accuser, and other related hearings and investigations.
Houston Rockets basketball head coach Rudy Tomjanovich was charged with driving while intoxicated in a Houston suburb. The case was dismissed four days after having been filed.
We were hired to defend the academy in a contract dispute concerning the publication rights of the English-language versions of Russian Scientific Journals. The academy was sued in New York state court by a publishing corporation. The case was settled to our client’s satisfaction after jury selection.
Houston Rockets basketball player Steve Francis was charged with driving while intoxicated in Houston. Francis was found not guilty at trial.
We represented Victoria Osteen in a personal injury lawsuit brought against her by a flight attendant, who had accused Mrs. Osteen of assaulting her after boarding a plane. The flight attendant sought both compensatory and punitive damages against Mrs. Osteen for an incident that was roundly denied by Mrs. Osteen and other passengers who testified at trial.
After a week-long trial, a jury unanimously rejected the flight attendant’s allegations in deliberations that lasted less than three hours.
While a player for the New York Yankees, Wade Boggs was sued by a Continental Airlines flight attendant based on her allegation of verbal assault arising from an argument that she had with Mr. Boggs on a chartered team flight. During the course of the two-day civil trial, we were able to show that the plaintiff escalated the situation, did not report the incident for three weeks, missed no flight assignments, and needed no counseling or other care as a result. Believing there was no legitimate basis for the claim, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Mr. Boggs in less than five minutes.
Former Houston Oilers quarterback and then Minnesota Vikings quarterback Warren Moon was charged with assaulting his wife Felicia during a domestic argument.
Though Mrs. Moon did not want to press charges, the state insisted on pursuing criminal charges and the case was tried for eight days before a Fort Bend County jury. The jury found Moon not guilty in less than 30 minutes.