Two attorneys charged with public corruption
KENNEWICK, Wash. - The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington is calling it public corruption.
His office alleges Tyler Morris who was an assistant prosecutor for the City of Kennewick and Jeff Finney, a defense attorney, were in cahoots and were pocketing money from Finney's clients. It's alleged Morris asked for cash donations from Finney in exchange for his clients to have reduced for dismissed cases. The donations were under the name of the "Home Base" program operated by the city's Parks and Recreation Department.
Investigators said thousands of dollars never made it to "Home Base" but did make it to the lawyer's pockets.
Kennewick City Attorney John Ziobro said the indictment does not diminish his office, but it has put them through the wringer.
"We stopped the practice of incorporating donations as a resolution to civil and criminal matters but Home Base is still there... it does not go towards anything that relates to the criminal justice system," said Ziobro.
Morris is charged with one count of theft and soliciting a bribe along with conspiracy. Finney is charged with bribery and conspiracy.
According to the Washington State Bar Association's web site, both men are listed as active practicing attorneys.
Both Morris and Finney have failed to return any of our calls.