Rising star defense lawyer charged with obstruction in drug case

Just two years ago, lawyer Beau Brindley stood at one of the peaks of his brilliant young career — representing drug dealer Alexander Vasquez in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

But on Thursday, Brindley’s status as a rising star of Chicago’s criminal defense bar took a severe blow when he was federally indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice in Vasquez’s case.

The 36-year-old crossed the line when he knowingly coached a key witness at Vasquez’s 2009 trial to lie on the stand, prosecutors allege.

It had been clear since the FBI raided his downtown office last month that Brindley was in trouble. And prosecutors had previously revealed that he is also under investigation for his conduct in the cases of two other defendants he represents in drug cases, Kenneth Bell and Rahshone Burnett.

But the stakes have now dramatically increased for Brindley, who faces up to five years behind bars and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

His indictment alleges he coached Marina Collazo, the wife of a codefendant of Vasquez’s, to lie about why Vasquez was driving a Pontiac Bonneville on Aug. 5, 2008.

Brindley prepared a letter to Collazo — who was also indicted Thursday — telling her how to respond to questions from prosecutors, directing her to act “surprised” and “offended” in response to certain questions to help Vasquez, the indictment alleges.

Transcripts show that during Vasquez’s trial, Brindley asked Collazo, “Let’s get one thing straight. During all the meetings that I ever had with you . . . I never once told you what to say about anything, did I?”

“No, you didn’t,” Collazo replied.

It’s not yet clear when Brindley will have to answer the charges. Neither he nor his attorney Cynthia Giacchetti returned calls seeking comment Thursday. But Brindley is due Friday in federal court in Chicago morning to defend a pair of clients.

His law license is unaffected by his indictment, according to Scott Renfroe of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

Though he’s represented clients in several high profile cases, Brindley has twice been upbraided for alleged dishonesty by judges.

In 2012, he was jailed for two days for contempt by U.S. District Judge Michael McCuskey, who said Brindley lied about why he could not attend hearings in McCuskey’s Urbana courtroom.

And earlier this year Brindley was fined $2,000 by U.S. Appellate Court Judge Frank Easterbrook, who said Brindley had “a reputation as a lawyer whose word cannot be trusted.”

Email: kjanssen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @kimjnews

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