Infamous courthouse murderer Brian Nichols has claimed one more victim: the former top narcotics prosecutor in Fulton County.
That is, according to the former narcotics prosecutor.
“My days of practicing law are over,” Rand Csehy, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Tuesday. “I’m done with them and good riddance.”
Csehy, the former prosecutor turned defense lawyer, is facing disbarment. Earlier this week the Georgia Supreme Court wouldn’t give him a break involving his own drug conviction despite his explanation that Nichols’ 2005 slaughter at Fulton County Courthouse had helped drive him to addiction.
Facing a Georgia Bar recommendation of disbarment, Csehy had asked the high court to recommend a one or two-year suspension of his law license. He had received a first-offender sentence and probation in April when he pleaded to drug and weapon charges he picked up in 2012.
In his argument to the high court, he had blamed his descent into cocaine on the effect that 2005 courthouse shooting had on him personally. Nichols killed a judge, court reporter and sheriff deputy and later killed a federal law officer. He may also have planned to kill the prosecutor, Csehy’s then girlfriend and now ex-wife, but she wasn’t in the courtroom at the time.
He argued to the high court that he got treatment but relapsed in 2011 after getting a beating from a client unhappy with his representation. He assured the court he was winding down his law practice and had underwent drug treatment.
In its opinion released Monday, the court questioned the lawyer’s veracity.
The justices contended not only had Csehy represented a client before a Cobb County Superior Court last month, he did so with bloodshot eyes and while sweating profusely.
The judge ordered him drug tested, which showed cocaine and amphetamines in his system, the court’s ruling noted. Csehy was jailed for five days for contempt of court.
In an interview with the AJC, Csehy denied currently using drugs. He said he was waiting on results from a more accurate blood test to challenge the findings of the urine test.
But, regardless, he called both tests unconstitutional and promised to fight them in court.
“I don’t know what happened in Cobb County – it was a nightmare,” he said. “I got caught with drugs two years ago. It wasn’t an every day thing.”
After the Cobb County snafu, the state Bar Association asked the Supreme Court to make an immediate determination on Csehy’s case and the court found against him. A special master will now review the bar association’s disbarment recommendation for the high court.
The Nichols shooting did set the stage for Csehy’s legal tumble. His then-girlfriend and later wife Gayle Abramson was prosecuting Nichols for rape when he escaped just before trial resumed one day by battering a deputy and getting a gun.
Later in the legal maneuverings of Nichols’ 2008 murder trial, his lawyers brought up the fact that Abramson had left the DA’s office after the shootings with allegations of her own drug use.
A judge rejected their arguments but they angered Csehy, who once headed the narcotics unit for the Fulton County District Attorney. He accused the lawyers of trying to force the DA’s office into a plea to keep embarrassing details from becoming public.
Csehy declined to say specifically how he was personally affected by the Nichols shooting
“I want to keep that door closed,” he said. “I don’t blame anybody but myself for what happened.”
Csehy's rise and descent in the legal profession was chronicled in an AJC story that detailed views of him as being a hard-nosed narcotics prosecutor with a reputation for working hand-in-hand with cops to make cases.The story also detailed accounts of trouble with clients and in his personal life that were seen as responsible for his downfall.
A hint of his problems became public in August 2011 when a former client beat him up during a dispute about the quality of Csehy’s legal representation. Medical records in the case file showed Csehy suffered cracked ribs and a broken nose.
They also showed a “historic” injury to his nose: necrosis to the septum, a symptom of cocaine use.
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Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com