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Attorney Mark Geragos responds to State Bar investigation surrounding Armenian Genocide settlement

'No good deed goes unpunished,' Geragos responds to State Bar investigation
'No good deed goes unpunished,' Geragos responds to State Bar investigation 03:14

The State Bar of California announced an investigation into two well-known attorneys after their alleged misconduct during a historic, nearly $20 million settlement for Armenian Genocide victims and their descendants. 

The Los Angeles Times reported that several attorneys, most notably Mark Geragos and Brian Kabateck, misused and diverted as well as cheated deserving descendants of the genocide out of their share of the $17.5 million settlement.

"The status of attorneys, or the size of their practice, cannot and will not impact our decisions to investigate misconduct," Ruben Duran, the State Bar of Board of Trustees Chair. "I want to stress that in and of itself this announcement is not an indication of any misconduct by the attorneys being investigated."

Former federal prosecutor Scott Tenley said investigations like this rarely receive a public announcement of this magnitude.

"You rarely see these types of public announcements of a disciplinary investigation against lawyers," he said. "In the statement, they want to make sure that the attorneys who are under investigation get a fair hearing, fair investigation. Because at the end of this, it could result in the loss of their license."

Geragos released a statement to CBSLA denying any wrongdoing. 

"No good deed goes unpunished," he said. "We filed the lawsuit, we uncovered the fraud. We recouped the money... This has been investigated three straight times. And we've been cleared all three times."

Geragos said that the State Bar launched this investigation to deflect from their other blunders. 

"It is coming from a bar that is stung by complaints and allegations that they mishandled what happened to Tom Girardi," said Tenley. 

Girardi is the now disgraced and disbarred attorney whose ex-wife starred on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. He was accused of stealing from his clients, who included family members of the 2018 Indonesian Lion Air Crash. 

No matter how this investigation ends, the descendants of the Armenian Genocide are left waiting and wondering if they will ever see the money that was promised. 

"It's a double-whammy for many Armenian Americans," said Armenian American journalist Appo Jabarian, who has extensive reporting on this issue.

"Not only the victims who were robbed — their descendants were robbed of their rights and the funds were not appropriately dispersed to the real victims."

CBSLA reached out to the State Bar to get more details on the investigation but has not heard back.

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