Client Says Lawyer Promised her Dropped Charges for Sex
Allegations of misconduct against an Albany public defender, accused of promising a client to make the charges against her go away, for sex.
That lawyer, Matthew Swedick, denies those allegations - but he is currently suspended with pay from his part-time job with the Albany County Public Defender's Office. The Albany Police Department confirms it is investigating these allegations. And the Albany County District Attorney is requesting a special prosecutor be appointed to look into this case.
NEWS10's John McLoughlin has been working on this story for a few days now. He spoke with attorneys for both the woman making these allegations and the lawyer facing these allegations. John has the details of what those attorneys have to say.
30-year-old Latoya Gorton claims all three sexual encounters took place in a building at Columbia and North Pearl streets in Albany, where Swedick had his private law office. Gorton, a licensed real estate agent, was arrested at her apartment on Ontario Street, along with her boyfriend and a substantial amount of crack-cocaine and 10-thousand dollars in cash. Assistant Public Defender Matthew Swedick was assigned to defend Gorton, who now claims through a new attorney that Swedick promised to make the charges disappear.
"He indicated to her that, in exchange for her having sex with him, he could make sure that nothing would be coming out of the charges," Gorton's attorney, William Martin says.
Attorney James Long represents Swedick, and he says Gorton is making these allegations because she was afraid of going to state prison for two years, after pleading guilty to the drug charges and swearing to the judge that she was doing so her own free will.
"You are saying that your client never forced this woman to have sex?" McLoughlin asked Long.
"Absolutely not," Long says. "While under oath, she said nobody promised her anything or forced her to do anything, and she was pleading guilty freely and voluntarily."
But Gorton's new attorney says she has evidence of the sexual encounters. First off, he says she secretly recorded one encounter. And he says she has physical evidence of the other two - physical evidence of the "Monica Lewinsky" variety, without getting too graphic.
Last week, Judge Thomas Breslin allowed Gorton to withdraw her guilty plea.
"Someone is arrested on drug charges, why should we believe her?" McLoughlin asked Martin, Gorton's attorney.
"Because this is the type of victim that a person might want to prey on," says Martin.
"Did your client ever have sex with this woman, either voluntarily or involuntarily?" McLoughlin asked Long, Swedick's attorney.
"Not that I know of," says Long.
Sources tell NEWS10, and Swedick's own attorney confirmed this: that Swedick, who is married with a small baby, is also under investigation in a separate administrative proceeding involving sexual harassment claims made by one of the female employees in the Public Defender's Office.
Stay tuned to NEWS10 and wten.com - we will be on top of both of these matters, and bring you the very latest.
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