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Attorneys – in all areas of law – must hold their clients’ secrets inviolate, not breach the attorney-client privilege, and seek victory for their clients. But they must do so within ethical boundaries. For example, a lawyer shall not fabricate evidence in an effort to win his case. It is also impermissible for a lawyer to allow his client to take the witness stand and tell lies.

Lying, in general, is not ethically sound for an attorney. John McCann, a Republican candidate for Congress in New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District is an attorney who doesn’t seem to understand this very basic ethical principle, however.

Yesterday, Steve Lonegan released a video where McCann appears to make a statement which proclaims that lying is a natural and positive function for a lawyer. Lonegan, a former 3-term mayor from Bogota and the recognized leader of the conservative arm of New Jersey’s Republican Party, is waging a primary battle against McCann. Although Lonegan is the frontrunner, with a sizable 19-point lead according to a recent poll, McCann is actively campaigning wherein he often utilizes dubious information and issues worrisome remarks.

Apparently, McCann made recent statements in a speech to college students which are memorialized in the video released by Lonegan. Text over the screen reads, “John McCann…in his own words”, with the following corresponding audio:

“Both political parties engage in rhetoric, right…Lying…Spinning…Putting the best face on the truth…I’m a lawyer. Boy, do I know how to do that really well, right. Okay, I better, because otherwise I won’t have any clients, right.”



Putting the best face on the truth?

McCann says that “I’m a lawyer. Boy, do I know how to do that really well.” And he admits that, “I better, because otherwise I won’t have any clients.”

Lying is not part of any ethical role performed by a lawyer. The vast majority of lawyers would find McCann’s sentiments not only embarrassing, but unnerving and abhorrent. More so, lying is never in the best interests of a client, as the detriment far outweighs any perceived benefit. Clients should run from any attorney who embraces a career rooted in falsehoods. McCann’s conduct is worsened, given that he apparently made these unsavory comments to students.

The respected, successful attorney is the gentleman or lady who does not resort to spinning a web of lies, but he/she grounds his/her arguments in meeting or negating the burden of proof, based upon facts and evidence. This means that in a criminal case, the prosecutor will seek to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt – and the defense attorney will seek to show that the prosecution has not met this burden. In a civil case, the plaintiff’s attorney will use all ethical efforts to prove by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not or more than 50% certain) that a tort has occurred or a contract has been breached; conversely, the civil defense attorney will seek to show that the act or breach has not been proven by a preponderance of the evidence. Lying by an attorney is never part of the ethical equation.

Either John McCann knows this and shamelessly doesn’t care, or he is unaware of this most fundamental ethical principle and has been practicing law with rudimentary ignorance. Either way, it is alarming for both the New Jersey bar members and his clients. Its revelation also should be quite alarming to the voters in New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District. McCann is now seeking to become a lawmaker – and no lawmaker should be an admitted liar (which McCann appears to be via his audio-trapped statement).

It has been reported that McCann did not vote in numerous consecutive Republican primaries, and that on election night 2016 he celebrated with Democrats, including his then-boss, Bergen County Democrat Sheriff Michael Saudino. He also has seemingly completely flip-flopped on key issues, such as abortion and Second Amendment rights. But these are political issues, which voters likely will sort out unfavorably upon McCann.

McCann’s specious conduct frequently appears to lean toward challenged, if not wholly lacking, veracity. For example, Sussex County Watchdog reported that McCann stated:

“I was gone (sic) to the United States Senate to take on the Clinton Health Care Plan. I designed a chart, it was presented to the country, and the chart was credited — by others, not by me — with saving the United States from 16 years of government controlled healthcare.”

Sussex County Watchdog rebuked this claim, writing:

Many people familiar with the long battle to stop the Clinton Health Care Plan disputed John McCann’s story. They said they never heard of him and accused him of taking credit for the work of dozens of others. They noted that there was a plethora of graphs and charts but that only one got national coverage. It wasn’t John McCann’s.

The Congress wannabe has been consistently sending around a photo of him purportedly standing with Donald Trump—but many think the photo looks obviously photoshopped. Here’s the photo, where people can decide for themselves.

On the legal front, earlier in the year, it was revealed that McCann had apparently been administratively ineligible to practice law in the State of New Jersey for over five years, for his failure to pay required annual attorney assessments to the New Jersey Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protections. During that time period, which seems to have gone all the way back to October 2012, McCann worked as a lawyer for the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department and as general counsel for the New Jersey Sheriff’s Association. Immediately upon learning of his longtime inactive status, observers raised serious concerns about potential ramifications upon cases he handled while being ineligible to practice law. If this barrister-debacle isn’t enough of a mess, it has also been reported that McCann was sued for malpractice.

A summary: John McCann is a legal, ethical, and political train wreck. His history, recent and far in the past, decries that he understands little, if nothing, about the true roles of attorneys – and the true meaning of the most important word in the legal system, “justice.”

Ethical lawyers, in all practice areas, work to preserve justice. John McCann is a lawyer—which is quite unfortunate for the profession and the public at large. Worse would be if he is elected to be a federal lawmaker. There’s no “spin” here. There is no “putting the best face on the truth” here. Simply, there is no justice in John McCann.

Kenneth Del Vecchio, ESN publisher and editor-in-chief, is the author of some of the nation’s best-selling legal books, including a series of criminal codebooks published by Pearson Education/Prentice Hall and ALM/New Jersey & New York Law Journal Books. He is a former judge, a former prosecutor and a practicing criminal/entertainment attorney for 23 years, wherein he has tried over 400 cases.  Mr. Del Vecchio is also an acclaimed filmmaker who has written, produced and directed over 30 movies that star 100+ film and TV stars, including several Academy Award and Emmy winners and nominees. His films are distributed through industry leaders such as Sony Pictures, NBCUniversal, Cinedigm, and E-1 Entertainment. He has starred in numerous movies, as well. A best-selling political thriller novelist, he penned his first published novel at only 24-years-old. Additionally, Mr. Del Vecchio is the founder and chairman of Hoboken International Film Festival, called by FOX, Time Warner, and other major media “One of the 10 Biggest Film Festivals in the World.” A frequent legal and political  analyst on networks such as Fox News Channel, Mr. Del Vecchio formerly served as the publisher and editorial page editor for a New Jersey daily newspaper…As a matter of disclosure, Mr. Del Vecchio is also the chairman of Steve Lonegan’s congressional campaign.



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