PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former House Speaker Gordon Fox has been disbarred after pleading guilty to corruption charges last month, the R.I. Supreme Court announced Thursday.
In their order, the justices said Fox filled an affidavit with the Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Board on March 16 acknowledging “he is the subject of an investigation of professional misconduct,” and saying that he “freely and voluntarily consents to disbarment.”
“Upon review of the respondent’s affidavit, we deem that an order disbarring the respondent is appropriate,” the high court justices wrote. “Accordingly, it is hereby ordered, adjudged, and decreed that the respondent, Gordon D. Fox, is disbarred on consent from engaging in the practice of law.”
Fox, 53, pleaded guilty March 2 to charges of bribery, wire fraud and filing a false tax return following an 18-month federal grand jury investigation. A judge is now weighing whether to accept the plea deal Fox reached with prosecutors. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 11.
The Supreme Court’s decision should come as no surprise to Fox: he choked up during his March 2 court appearance when the judge informed him he would likely be disbarred as a result of the charges against him.
The disbarment order means Fox, a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law, will no longer be able to make his living as a lawyer in private practice. However, he does have the option of eventually petitioning the high court to get his law license back.
Craig Berke – a spokesperson for the Rhode Island courts – said by court rule anyone stripped of their license to practice law can file the petition five years after the order of disbarment.
Fox entered the Rhode Island bar on Oct. 21, 1991.Tim White contributed to this report.