Friday, January 18, 2008

Anti-War Attorney Pleads Guilty In Vandalizing Marines Car

January 18, 2008

Jay Grodner, the Chicago attorney caught ‘keying’ the car of a U.S. Marine facing deployment, pled guilty in a plea deal worked out by States Attorneys and himself today in the courtroom of Circuit Court Judge William O’Malley, a former marine himself.

On December 1, 2007 Marine Sgt Mike McNulty was visiting a friend in Chicago, prior to his deployment for a second tour in Iraq. Saying goodbye to his friend about 11 AM, Sgt McNulty noticed a man leaning against the side of his car. McNulty reportedly said, “Hey, what are you doing to my car? Open up your hand!”

Tom Sullivan, the friend he was visiting reported that Grodner replied, “F**k you! Just because you're in the military you don't run the roost!” Sullivan also said that Grodner hurled other epithets and cuss words, applied to the Marine Corps, to the U.S. armed forces and to Sgt. McNulty himself. Grodner then reportedly said, “Quite frankly, you don't even look like a soldier. You're a small little f**ker.”

Due to seeing McNulty’s Marine License plates on his BMW and the fact that McNulty had backed down a one-way street to reach his friends apartment, Grodner stated, “you think you can do whatever you want with Department of Defense license plates and tags.”

Seeing the damage done to his cars paint, McNulty called the Police and Grodner was cited for misdemeanor criminal damage to private property.

In spite of States Attorney’s trying to coerce McNulty into accepting the $100 payment from Grodner, to cover the $300 deductible from his insurance for $2400 damage, McNulty pushed for felony prosecution due to the dollar amount of damage. States Attorney’s claimed, “It would be difficult to recover the damages from Grodner because he is a lawyer.”

States Attorneys talked McNulty into accepting probation for Grodner, which Grodner declined, saying within earshot of McNulty, “I’m not going to make it easy on this kid.”

Another States Attorney taking the case more serious, decided to prosecute it fully.

At a December 31, 2007 hearing, Grodner initially failed to appear, prompting the judge to issue a warrant for his arrest immediately. Before it could be executed, Grodner showed up citing busy traffic and making a wrong turn for his tardiness. He was chastised by the judge for being tardy and making lame excuses.

In the meantime, McNulty was deployed, as planned. On his behalf, States Attorney’s were present in today’s court presided over by Circuit Court Judge William O’Malley, a former Marine lance corporal from the early 1960s.

Having failed in his effort yesterday to gain a continuance in the case, Grodner was again late for court, calling in after court convened saying he would be about a half an hour late as he was waiting for the media to leave. Prior to the call, Judge O’Malley increased his bond to $20,000.00, and put out a warrant for his arrest saying, “if he does show up he will be taken into custody, and if he doesn't he is fair game for any law enforcement agency that wants to pick him up,” according to eyewitnesses in the Court Room who posted their accounts of today’s trial on Blackfive, a popular Veterans blog, who first broke this story nationally.

Arriving to court later, Grodner was taken into custody, Judge O’Malley telling him to “try and work out a deal with the State.” Later, Grodner, asking through States Attorneys for permission to put his belt and such back on, drew the reply of Judge O’Malley, “Treat him like all the other prisoners.”

Brought back out into the Court Room to read the plea deal worked out into the record, Judge O’Malley asked Grodner if he had committed the acts he as accused of. Instead of answering, Grodner first hemmed and hawed forcing Judge O’Malley to raise his voice to elicit a yes or no from him. Grodner finally admitted his acts of vandalism to the Judge and it was entered into the record.

According to the plea deal, Grodner must serve 1 year Social Service Supervision, pay restitution of 600 dollars to Social Services, which would go to the Injured Marine Semper Fi fund, to be paid by February 25th, 2008, and $50/month in supervision fees.

Reportedly in an angry voice, Judge O’Malley then scolded Grodner saying that the Marine license plates Sgt McNulty had were not vanity plates or about ego, but that the proceeds go toward the Marine and Navy scholarship fund for the children of fallen soldiers, sailors and marines. These Marines protect his very existence "so people like you can enjoy their freedom." He further said that the reason there were so many in the courtroom and so much public interest is that the Marines have a tradition since 1775 that "No Marine gets left behind." Several Hoorahs were voiced from the crowd of uniformed and civilian supporters of Sgt McNulty present in the courtroom.

Chicago Attorney, Jay R. Grodner, once implicated in Attorney Fraud by the Illinois State Supreme Court, is more fortunate than he may realize in accepting this mild deal today. Had he committed such an act against some of the Marines I knew when I was in the Military, he would have entered the Court Room with the assistance of crutches and missing some front teeth.


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