Attorney Convicted of 27 Felonies, Including Bribery and Conspiracy, Disbarred
Attorney Anthony O. Calabrese III today received the Ohio Supreme Court’s harshest discipline following his convictions for both federal and state crimes, including conspiracy, theft, corrupt activity, and bribing a rape victim to prevent his business client from going to prison. Calabrese, who is currently incarcerated, is no longer allowed to practice law in Ohio, the court ruled in a unanimous decision.
In January 2013, Calabrese pled guilty in federal court to acts of racketeering, conspiracy, bribery, and fraud from 2001 to 2009. The judge sentenced him to nine years in prison, three years of supervised release, and $132,041 in restitution. He also had to forfeit $74,450.
He was then indicted in Cuyahoga County in June 2013 on similar state charges of corrupt activity, theft, and bribery. The court issued a sentence of four years, six months in prison; fined him $25,000; and imposed five years of postrelease control. This sentence runs concurrently with his federal sentence.
Calabrese also pled guilty in Cuyahoga County to bribery and a pattern of corrupt activity for his participation with two other attorneys in a bribery scheme to protect Thomas Castro from a conviction for rape. Calabrese, who represented Castro in business matters, tried to pay off the rape victim. He received a four-year prison sentence that runs concurrently with his federal prison term.
Disciplinary Board’s Findings
In recommending disbarment, the attorney disciplinary board noted in the August 2014 report to the Supreme Court that “[i]t is difficult to imagine a case more disappointing and damaging to the public and to our profession. [Calabrese], just 41 years old, has engaged in a decade-long, deleterious, and corrupt pattern of misconduct ….”
The board found that Calabrese “attempted to bribe a rape victim … by offering her, through her lawyer, $90,000 to provide a favorable statement on behalf of her assailant, Thomas Castro …” and that his other misconduct “cheat[ed] the unsuspecting taxpayers in Cuyahoga County, often at the expense of his own clients.”
Calabrese “methodically and meticulously built politically and morally corrupt enterprises using bribes, kickbacks, shell companies, and cryptic code, all in an effort to line his own pockets and those of his cronies,” the board explained.
Objections and Decision
Calabrese submitted objections to the board’s findings and recommended sanction. However, the Supreme Court noted, despite his claims to the contrary, that the panel reviewing the matter received the attorney’s briefs and that Calabrese had agreed to the facts in the rape-bribery case when he pled guilty even though he later disputed them in the disciplinary proceedings.
“Given the length, breadth, and seriousness of Calabrese’s misconduct, … we agree with the board that permanent disbarment is the appropriate sanction in this case,” the court concluded in the per curiam opinion.
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