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Plea deal struck with disbarred Las Vegas attorney

Federal prosecutors have struck a plea deal with disbarred attorney Lawrence Davidson, the last defendant in a political corruption investigation that led to the convictions of four county commissioners after the start of the decade.

In court papers filed this week to consolidate four open cases against Davidson under one judge, both sides said they have reached a “binding plea agreement.”

Details of the deal and a court date for Davidson to plead guilty were not available. He is in federal custody.

Davidson, 45, who fled to Israel in 2006 rather than face two criminal trials, came back to the United States in September and surrendered to FBI agents.

His return marked the final chapter in a corruption case that revolved around former strip club operator Michael Galardi, who pleaded guilty and cooperated with prosecutors.

Davidson left the country in September 2006 on the eve of a money laundering trial stemming from irregularities in his Las Vegas law practice.

While he was at large, Davidson was secretly indicted on charges of failing to appear at the trial, obtaining a false passport and engaging in identity theft to flee the country.

Davidson, who once practiced personal injury and medical malpractice law, was accused in the money laundering case of negotiating settlements on behalf of his clients without their permission. The 2005 indictment alleged that he fraudulently negotiated 17 settlements totaling $936,300 during a 14-month period.

At the time of his disappearance, Davidson also was facing an upcoming trial on mail fraud and money laundering charges in the political corruption case. The charges did not involve Galardi, but were handled by the same prosecutors in the Galardi case.

Davidson and his father, former development company executive Donald Davidson, were charged in a bribery scheme that involved getting a CVS Pharmacy placed in a neighborhood.

The elder Davidson was accused of paying former County Commissioner Erin Kenny $200,000 after she helped push through the necessary zoning changes for the pharmacy. His son was alleged to have created the bank account to conceal the illicit payments. Kenny cooperated with prosecutors in the case.

In July 2007, a federal jury was hung on the charges involving Kenny, but convicted Donald Davidson of trying to pay off former City Councilman Michael McDonald. Davidson later was sentenced to two years in prison.

His sentence followed prison terms handed out to Galardi, Kenny and three other former county commissioners: Mary Kincaid-Chauncey, Dario Herrera and Lance Malone.

The younger Davidson had skipped town once before to avoid a federal charge of forging a judge’s signature on bankruptcy documents. But he returned in 2005 to plead guilty and surrender to authorities.

Davidson later was sentenced to six months behind bars and placed on three years of supervision.

One of his four cases involves disciplinary proceedings for violating the terms of his supervised release in the forgery case when he fled the country.

He is being represented by the Federal Public Defender’s office.

Both prosecutors and Davidson’s lawyers have asked that Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt, who is handling the corruption and money laundering cases, accept his plea agreement.

Both Hunt and U.S. District Judge James Mahan, who has been handling the other two cases, must approve the consolidation agreement before Davidson can enter the plea. His trials were previously set for June 4.

Contact reporter Jeff German at
jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135.

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