A Harlem attorney who is running for Congress while under investigation over missing money represented at least one client in court after his law license was suspended, the Daily News has learned.
Robert Anthony Evans, who goes by Tony Evans, was mid-trial in a DWI case when the First Department Appellate Division issued a scathing ruling that suspended him over his “failure to cooperate” in an ongoing disciplinary probe into the alleged disappearance of client funds in escrow.
Evans had several excuses for blowing off the committee including that he suffered from ADHD, that he was locked out of his office and that he was tied up with family problems, the court’s decision says.
But there was no excuse for his failure to comply with the committee since 2013, the court decided.
Evans’ law license in New York State was suspended on July 14, and on that day he was in before Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Ann Scherzer representing a drunken driving defendant at trial.
Court records show Evans continued to appear for client Natasha Smith, 25, in a short jury trial on charges she drove while intoxicated at nearly three times the legal limit on Dec. 21, 2015 in Harlem.
The day the suspension came down he was at the 100 Centre St. courthouse questioning Smith as she testified in her own defense. That same day there were summations in the trial and he was there the following day with Smith as they heard the verdict, records show.
In September, two months after the suspension, he spoke at her sentencing. He had filed a memorandum to the judge in advance of the proceeding, records show. Evans, in response to the Daily News’ inquiry about the issue, seemed to be denying what is in the official court record.
“Your facts are inaccurate,” Evans wrote in a text message. “Her case went to trial and the jury verdict came before the (Appellate Division) ruling. Any indication or information you have to the contrary is inaccurate and my ongoing argument with the (First Department) about my responsibility and responsiveness have nothing whatsoever to do with Ms. Smith.” He went on to argue that he did well by Smith and admitted no mistake on his part.
“The outcome for her and my representation of her got her a very good outcome,” he wrote.
“An interesting approach by the Daily News right before Election day,” he added. “My counsel will respond on my behalf.”
Evans is running for the 13th Congressional District as a Republican candidate against in a seat long held by Rep. Charles Rangel. Adriano Espaillat is his Democratic opponent and the favorite to win on Tuesday.
Smith, when reached by phone Friday, would not discuss the matter except to say she is “aware” of it. “My understanding is that I could appeal the conviction,” she said.
She was sentenced to pay a $750 fine and a $395 surcharge. Her license was revoked for six months and she was ordered to attend a Stop DWI program.
Smith also has to do five days community service and install an ignition interlock device on any car she drives for the next year, according to court papers.
Courts spokesman Lucian Chalfen said a suspended attorney is responsible for notifying his or her clients when they learn of it.
Evans’s attorney would have been notified promptly by mail but the First Department’s decisions get published online the day they are available.
The decision to suspend Evans was also posted on the New York Law Journal’s website.
The Evans matter was referred to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office for review, a source told the News.
With Rocco Parascandola
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