Figures: Fake Journalist Now Looking for Law License

Posted by on Dec 26, 2011 at 4:41 pm

He used to be paid to make up stories, and now is looking to become an attorney. The jokes just write themselves.

Stephen Glass faked all or parts of more than 40 articles for national magazines from 1996 to 1998. In 2003, he acknowledged that his violation of journalistic standards was so severe that he would “never be welcomed within journalism, and rightly so.”

Now the California Supreme Court will decide whether Glass’ behavior was so bad as to make him morally unfit to practice law.

Glass, whose frauds were the subject of the 2003 film “Shattered Glass,” is now a 39-year-old law clerk at a firm in Beverly Hills. He passed the bar exam and applied for an attorney’s license in 2007, but the State Bar’s Committee of Bar Examiners turned him down, questioning his claims of remorse and rehabilitation and saying he had not yet shown he could be trusted.

Glass appealed to the independent State Bar Court, which ruled 2-1 in his favor in July. The majority found “overwhelming evidence of Glass’ reform and rehabilitation” since 1998 and noted he had impressive character references from 22 witnesses, including two judges who had employed him, two psychiatrists who treated him, and the former editor in chief of the New Republic, where most of the fabricated articles appeared.

Glass “has learned, painfully, from his mistakes,” the former editor, Martin Peretz, told the bar court.

He claims contrition, but like all liars, he’s full of it.

The bar’s lawyers disagree. They say Glass did not provide a full list of his fabrications until 2009, never compensated anyone harmed by his articles, and never offered to donate any of his earnings, like the proceeds of his novel, to projects promoting journalistic ethics. They also say his apologies in letters and on “60 Minutes” could be viewed as attempts to promote his then-upcoming novel and New York bar application.

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