On Monday, July 31, 2023, the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board recommended that attorney Trina Trinhthi Chu be disbarred for knowingly and intentionally corrupting the judicial process following the collection of confidential court information and records.

The case is entitled “In the matter of Trina Trinhthi Chu”, and was bought by the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel with case no. 20-DB-053.

Chu is alleged to have violated the following Rules of Professional Conduct:

Rule 3.5(a): Seeking to influence a judge or other official by means prohibited by law.

Rule 3.5(b): Communicating ex parte with a person during the proceeding unless authorized to do so by law or court order.

Rule 3.5(d): Engaging in conduct intended to disrupt a tribunal.

Rule 8.4(a): Violating or attempting to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Rule 8.4(b): Committing a criminal act, especially one that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects.

Rule 8.4(c): Engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

Rule 8.4(d): Engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

Rule 8.4(e): Stating or implying an ability to influence improperly a judge, judicial officer, governmental agency, or official or to achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.

Chu is confronted with grave allegations of misconduct, accused of gathering sensitive court details and documents associated with ongoing cases concerning a close personal acquaintance of hers and Judge Brown. Discreetly, Chu transmitted the confidential data to her own email, her friend, and other individuals, as well as archiving it on a personal USB drive.

Furthermore, Chu conducted legal research and formulated legal papers and communications, aiming to submit them on behalf of her friend, while attributing them to another attorney’s signature. This deceptive conduct was executed utilizing state resources, including a computer and copier provided by the court, as well as paper and a legal research subscription from Westlaw.

The filing states:

“On October 22, 2020, a Bill of Information was filed charging that on or about and between the dates of February 1, 2018, and August 16, 2018, Respondent committed the offenses of: MALFEASANCE IN OFFICE AS DEFINED BYLA. R.S. 14:134A(2) (3 COUNTS) AND OFFENSES AGAINST INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AS DEFINED BYLA. R.S. 14:73.2A(2) (1 COUNT)”

The filing further states:

“On October 24, 2022; Respondent entered a nolo contendere plea to a charge that on or about and between the dates of February 1, 2018, and August 16, 2018, Respondent did intentionally disclose, use, copy, take or access, without consent, intellectual property defined in La. R.S. 14:73.1(10), ODC-66, p.3160.”

After considering the following factors: whether the lawyer failed to fulfill a duty to a client, to the public, to the legal system, or to the profession; whether the lawyer’s behavior was deliberate, conscious, or careless; how severe the damage caused or potentially caused by the lawyer’s misconduct was; and whether any aggravating or mitigating factors existed, the Committee suggests disbarment.

The recommendation states:

“The Committee recommends disbarment. Respondent also should be cast with all costs and expenses associated with this matter in accordance with Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XIX, Section 10.1.”

Chu practices in Shreveport, Louisiana. She is licensed in Louisiana. Her info can be found on lawyerslegion.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.