Colorado attorney who represented Oklahoma City bomber disbarred

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Colorado attorney who represented Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh has been disbarred after he acknowledged a series of misdeeds as part of a settlement.

The Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel disbarred Dennis Hartley, 77, as part of a deal that allowed him to avoid a disciplinary hearing, The Colorado Springs Gazette reported Tuesday. He did not return the newspaper’s call for comment.

McVeigh was executed by lethal injection in June 2001.

After McVeigh was convicted of murder and conspiracy in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people, Hartley was tapped to argue his appeal. But McVeigh told a federal judge in Denver he no longer wanted to contest the execution.

“I will continue to advise against it, but I don’t imagine that he’ll change his mind, and I don’t think anybody’s going to try to persuade him to change his mind,” Hartley told the Los Angeles Times at the time.

Hartley, whose disbarment takes effect Thursday, “failed to diligently pursue clients’ interests, neglected to safeguard their retainers, shared legal fees with a nonlawyer, disobeyed a disciplinary suspension order, misrepresented to a client that he was authorized to practice law during his suspension, and knowingly converted client funds,” according to the office’s disbarment notice.

The notice also said Hartley failed to report drunken driving and impaired driving convictions.

“Dennis at one time was a very well-respected criminal defense lawyer,” said Colorado Springs attorney Pat Mika, who knew him from the El Paso County legal community. “He was very gutsy and hard-charging. I’m sad to hear that his life has taken such a downward spiral.”

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