Civil rights attorney and activist Gloria Allred is facing a preliminary investigation into an alleged conflict of interest while she was simultaneously pursuing a television series with CBS while representing a weatherman who accused the network of passing him over for “blond, buxom” reporters.
The California State Bar is conducting the investigation involving Kyle Hunter, a television weather reporter, who confirmed in a written statement that he has been “notified by The State Bar of California that they are investigating Ms. Allred.” Allred represented Hunter in his failed discrimination lawsuit against CBS, accusing the network of hiring less-experienced reporters “cut from the same blond, attractive, buxom mold” instead of promoting him.
Hunter asserts that he is offering his “complete cooperation” to the State Bar and “will continue to do so.”
In an interview with TheWrap, Hunter claimed that he felt betrayed by Allred when he discovered that she had negotiated an autobiographical series with CBS at the same time she was representing Hunter in his case against the network. Hunter said that Allred never told him about the television deal.
When contacted by TheWrap, Allred offered no comment regarding Hunter’s statement and asserted that her firm had “not been notified by the State Bar of any complaint or any investigation.”
In a written statement, Allred said, “Someone has attempted to shake me down by threatening to report me to the State Bar unless I paid him a large sum of money. I have refused to pay this individual any amount of money. I will not be threatened or bullied by false accusations.”
Allred contended that she has “a spotless record with the State Bar in the more than 40 years that I have been an attorney” and that she has “no intention of allowing anyone to harm my reputation by making allegations against me which have no merit.”
The State Bar will not comment on the validity of Hunter’s claim because their investigations of attorneys must remain confidential. However, the website Law Newz reported that it has reviewed a State Bar letter confirming that Allred is under a preliminary investigation by its Enforcement Unit.
According to TheWrap, “‘Newsroom’ writer/executive producer Deborah Schoeneman told reporters in September 2015 that she had a script deal with CBS Television Studios for an untitled legal drama series inspired by Allred’s life, with Allred as an executive producer.”
California legal ethics rules prevent attorneys from pursuing “personal interests that are in conflict with their current client’s interests without informing the client and getting approval.” It has not yet been established whether Allred’s deal with CBS Television Studios would be viewed as a conflict with her representation of Hunter against CBS Broadcasting, which is a different division of CBS.
Allred has represented many high-profile clients including Nicole Simpson’s family in the O.J. Simpson trial, Amber Frey who was the ex-girlfriend of accused-murderer Scott Peterson, Scary Spice when she sued Eddie Murphy, and Rachel Uchitel who was allegedly involved with Tiger Woods. Most recently Allred represented former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos in a defamation case against then-presidential-candidate Donald Trump. The lawsuit stemmed from Trump calling Zervos a liar following her claim that he kissed her and grabbed her breast without her consent.
Allred is politically active and has served as a delegate for Hillary Clinton.
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