Lawyer demands 'slander' hearing

Jacob Hafter, a Las Vegas lawyer and former attorney general candidate, has demanded a hearing with the Nevada State Bar, which sanctioned him during the run-up to June's primary election because of comments attributed to him.

"They were in such a zeal to prosecute and sanction me when I was a candidate," he said Friday. "Since then, I haven't seen any due process."

Hafter objected to the sanction when it was handed down early last spring.

A Republican, Hafter is alleged to have told an online reporter and others that a "reliable source" inside the state Bar told him Catherine Cortez Masto, the incumbent attorney general and a Democrat, was the subject of a complaint alleging she violated attorney-client privilege. Hafter said the reporter used the words "formal complaint," which is not what he said, according to an interview with Hafter in April when he asked a federal judge to block the bar's investigation.

At the time, Hafter said he meant someone called the Bar to complain, but the process of filing a formal complaint was not alleged.

The alleged violation of attorney-client privilege occurred when Masto publicly announced her reasons for rejecting Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons' request to join other state attorneys general in a federal lawsuit over health care reform.

Hafter in his e-mailed hearing demand wrote that, "Despite numerous requests, I have still received nothing from the State Bar of Nevada regarding the letter of reprimand, the charges against me or the basis for the bar's action. Such silence is highly concerning, especially in light of the vigor which your office pursued its actions against me while I was a candidate for office."

Hafter demanded that the bar "immediately commence" a hearing and provide him with a summary of any evidence, a witness list and a "notice of the charges against me."

State bar spokesman Phil Patee was out of town and unavailable to comment. Bar counsel Rob Bare could not be reached for comment.

Hafter blames his loss to Masto on what he called the bar's willingness to engage in politics.

He said he now is soured on politics.

"They slandered me in the papers," Hafter said. "It's unfortunate someone who is willing to get involved in the election process risks sanctions on their license because the state bar gets involved in the political process."

Contact Doug McMurdo at or 702-224-5512 or read more courts coverage at