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King Files Malpractice Suit Against Former Attorney

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Rodney G. King has sued his former attorney for malpractice, contending that lawyer Steven Lerman misappropriated money won in a civil suit against the city of Los Angeles stemming from King’s 1991 beating by police.

In the suit, filed in Superior Court on Friday, King alleges that Lerman has failed to comply with repeated requests to fully account for money awarded to King.

In April 1994, a jury awarded King $3.8 million in damages as a result of his beating in Lake View Terrace, which was captured on videotape and broadcast around the world. Later, the city also was ordered to pay $1.6 million to King’s lawyers.

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The present suit alleges that Lerman received the legal fees and $3.6 million of the settlement and “improperly distributed” portions of the money to unidentified individuals.

The suit also alleges that Lerman engaged in a “series of intentional misrepresentations, deceits and concealments” with the intent of depriving King of his legal rights to an unspecified portion of the money.

King could not be reached for comment and his attorney, Stanley R. Steinberg, would not discuss details of the suit.

Lerman said Monday that he had yet to see the suit but denied any wrongdoing and said all of his actions were taken with the full knowledge of his client.

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