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Las Vegas lawyer says ‘press will not dictate’ her relationship with inmate

Alexis Plunkett, a defense lawyer charged with providing a cellphone to a Las Vegas jail inmate, is not bashful about her relationship with the convicted felon and known gang member.

Late Wednesday night, she posted a selfie on her law firm’s Facebook page of Andrew Arevalo, 26, kissing her on the cheek

In a comment accompanying the 11:07 p.m. post, 36-year-old Plunkett wrote: “He that is without sin among you, let him cast a stone at her.”

The next day, Plunkett responded to a Las Vegas Review-Journal email inquiry about why she publicly shared the intimate moment.

“The press will not dictate my relationship with Andrew; that is why I posted a private picture of us — to show that we are PEOPLE and I am not ashamed of him. Never,” she wrote. “I’ve openly been with him for years and have never hidden it from anyone.”

Plunkett told the newspaper she has known Arevalo since 2012.

Investigators also reported that they have video of Plunkett and Arevalo kissing at least three times during afternoon and late-night visits at the Clark County Detention Center in downtown Las Vegas.

Arevalo, a documented member of the Surenos gang who goes by the nickname “Silent” and has felony convictions dating back to 2009, was shot in the face during a 2014 shooting at High Desert State Prison that left another man dead. With Plunkett as his attorney, Arevalo sued the Nevada Department of Corrections and others, including the former director of prisons.

Earlier this year, Arevalo was arrested after police found him with a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson, a .22-caliber Intratec, body armor and 23.7 grams of methamphetamine. He had been driving a 2004 Chevy Avalanche owned by Rogelio Estrada, whom Plunkett also represented. Investigators said Plunkett provided her cellphone to both men at the jail.

Attorney cares ‘deeply’ for inmate

“I care deeply for Andrew and have for many years,” Plunkett wrote Thursday in an email. “My use of the cell phone with Andrew Arevalo or Roger Estrada or anyone else is completely separate from my relationship with one person and I believed I was authorized to make calls.”

Lisa Rasmussen, who represents Arevalo in the cellphone case, said her client maintains his innocence “and looks forward to litigating these issues in court.”

Defense attorneys who carry electronics into the jail are required to sign paperwork that states the equipment is for “specific and limited purposes.” The form states that cellphone use is “only authorized to contact CCDC staff,” but another portion states that equipment can be used for “casework” or “evaluations.”

On Thursday morning, hours after her late-night Facebook post, Plunkett’s lawyer, Robert Langford, filed court papers indicating he wants off her case.

In his motion to withdraw, Langford wrote that “communication between the attorney and the client has deteriorated to the point that there is no communication at all.”

Initially, he declined to elaborate on the request.

But Plunkett responded.

“Langford took THOUSANDS of dollars from me and is withdrawing after a week of representation with no itemized statement and no refund whatsoever,” she wrote in an email.

She also claimed Langford did not like her honesty.

“I agree that we should part ways but he should not be taking my FULL multi-thousand dollar retainer with zero refund and zero proof of how the money was ‘earned,’” she wrote.

She did not say whether she planned to hire another attorney.

After reading Plunkett’s comment, Langford also emailed the newspaper.

Story ‘doesn’t deserve this much attention’

“The first duty of an attorney is to never put your client in a worse position than they already are and that duty continues even after you no longer represent them,” he wrote. “What she claims with regard to the retainer is not accurate or true. What she claims about my personal feelings about her is not accurate or true. I am going to decline to speak further because this is a story that doesn’t deserve this much attention and NO-ONE should continue to comment on it. Certainly, not her soon to be former attorney.”

Plunkett also disputed a police report about what happened between her and Arevalo inside a Nevada prison two years ago.

Corrections investigators reported that they have video surveillance footage that shows Arevalo fondling Plunkett’s breasts during a visit at Ely State Prison, Nevada’s maximum-security penitentiary. Lt. Ronald Bryant reported that he confronted Plunkett about what happened, and she initially denied it before being told that the incident was recorded.

Plunkett said Bryant did not include her entire response. She said she told him: “I’m sorry you caused a scene because nothing happened.”

Langford has said he had advised Plunkett to remove Facebook posts related to the charges against her, and she removed some, including one in which she called the allegations a “witch hunt.”

In the report about Plunkett’s jail visits with Arevalo, Metro Detective Aaron Stanton suggested that Plunkett first noticed a camera hidden in the ceiling on May 4.

The detective described Plunkett entering a room at the jail’s south tower before Arevalo.

“She immediately begins looking around at the ceiling,” Stanton wrote. “Plunkett stands up and begins looking around the ceiling area for approximately 45 seconds. … Plunkett begins looking underneath the table. … Arevalo enters the room. They talk for a few seconds and Plunkett continues to looking (sic) at the ceiling.”

Plunkett told the Review-Journal: “I always knew it was a camera, it was a fake smoke detector. Why do you think I was looking at it all the time. I was ONLY trying to figure out if it had voice recording capabilities because THAT would obviously violate privilege absent a warrant. I always expect to be on camera inside a jail or prison.”

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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