Lawyers face moral dilemmas in their careers, but usually, they come as a single shot.
My last client sprang so many questions of morals on me it was like getting hit with bird shot, maybe a gatlin gun. Just because something is immoral doesn’t mean it is illegal. I never liked sitting in moral judgment of anybody, but I could usually discern the law.
When my client, a 50-year old gay man, came to me and said he was going to marry a 72-year old “Wall Street Journal” heiress, I wondered what was going on. Was he asking me if it was legal, or moral? Fortunately, he was asking me neither. I say “fortunately” because I wouldn’t have known the answer to either.
His next statement, however, got a little closer on the moral issue side. He told me that he would stay married to this “Wall Street Journal” heiress one year, get all the money he could, then divorce her. I suppose consenting adults can do as they choose, but hopefully they are honest with each other in the process.
Indeed, the two did get married. I was at the private wedding at the Ritz Carlton in Palm Springs. I came to know the bride and liked her. On some occasions, I acted as her part-time consigliere. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was only the beginning of this moral morass.
When it was all over, I decided to write a book about it — “Observer: the Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan story, a tale of people, greed, envy, manipulation—–even crime.”
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