March 21, 2001 (MIAMI) – A Florida lawyer has pleaded guilty to taking drug money from a client.
Donald Ferguson, 54, is the first defense lawyer to be convicted of money laundering in a case involving only legal fees. He admitted getting $600,000 from a reputed drug dealer for defending one of the man’s associates.
Under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Ferguson will get no additional jail time and will cooperate in the investigation of Salvador Magluta. He is expected to be released in May after serving a sentence in an unrelated money-laundering case.
Magluta and his partner allegedly spent millions of dollars in an effort to get legal protection by influencing jurors and obtaining the best legal talent available. Some critics say that the Ferguson prosecution was aimed at scaring lawyers away from drug cases.