Report: Pair of attorneys who threw Molotov cocktails at police vehicle during 2020 riot finally disbarred

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ALBANY, NY – According to reports, two New York lawyers who pleaded guilty to firebombing police vehicle during protests over the death of George Floyd in 2020 have now officially been disbarred by state attorney regulators.

On Tuesday, November 15th, New York’s Appellate Division ruled that 34-year-old Colinford Mattis and 33-year-old Urooj Rahman’s guilty pleas constituted an automatic disbarment provision.

The disbarment is retroactively dated back to June 2nd, when the duo admitted to conspiracy to commit arson and possession of a Molotov cocktail explosive device that was thrown at the empty police vehicle.

Back in June in a Brooklyn federal court, both lawyers told U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan that they understood the guilty plea would remove their ability to legally practice law. Mattis told the judge:

“I wish I had made different and better choices that night.”

Rahman also expressed remorse for her actions that night. In September, her legal counsel asked for a commutation of her sentence, claiming that she was intoxicated the night of the firebombing incident, and that she was drunk because she was undergoing “unprocessed trauma tied to abusive partnership relationships.”

The ex-lawyer also claimed that she suffered from more long-standing trauma for being taunted as a Muslim after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

The duo’s plea was also part of a negotiation to reduce their possible 10-year sentences down to roughly 18-to-24- month terms. Both initially faced federal charges amounting to 45 years in prison under former President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ).

Prosecutors later offered the plea deals under President Joe Biden’s administration, which compared to the “tough on crime” policies of the Trump administration, emphasizes reforming the criminal justice system.

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The pair attended a May 2020 protest in Brooklyn over the death of George Floyd. According to court records, Rahman threw a bottle filled with gasoline through the window of an already-broken police vehicle window and fled in a minivan driven by Mattis.

Court records show that Mattis sent a text message to Rahman, in which before sharing the location of the New York City Police Department headquarters, she said:

“Bring it to their neck.”

Rahman wrote back:

“Molotovs rolling. I hope they burn everything down. Need to burn all police stations down and probably the courts too.”

In addition to the shorter sentence and as part of the plea deal, they each agreed to pay $30,137 in restitution to New York City.

Rahman was a public interest attorney in the Bronx and Mattis worked as an associate at a law firm near Times Square. Both of them were suspended from their work following the 2020 arrest.

According to federal court records, Rahman is set to be sentenced on Friday, November 18th, while Mattis will be sentenced on December 16th.

In the state of California, 22 lawyers have lost their licenses to practice during the third fiscal quarter of 2022. Some of the reasons for disbarment include perjury, fraud, and stealing from clients.

In total, 62 lawyers have lost their licenses to practice law so far in 2022. Among them is Joseph Mirand Hoats, who was disbarred due to a felony perjury conviction in 2021. In a news release, the State Bar said in a statement:

“Hoats was part of a scheme to induce victims to transmit money in exchange for large orders of gas and oil products that he and other defendants knew they could not fulfill.”

Derek James Jones of San Marino was disbarred for “intentionally misappropriating client funds.” Victoria Chan lost her license to practice law after pleading guilty to three felony counts in a $50 million scheme to defraud the federal green card program.

The State Bar said in a statement:

“Chan admitted to federal authorities that she submitted approximately 130 fraudulent petitions for EB-5 visas and that she and her co-conspirators either stole or refunded to foreign nationals.”

The State Bar also detailed new safeguards after the disbarment of attorney Thomas Girardi, who amassed more than 200 complaints over a 40-year-period.

In addition to the 22 disbarred attorneys, the State Bar said 36 attorneys were suspended or put on probation in the third quarter of 2022.

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