General Crime

Mary Nolan, Divorce Attorney Pleads Gulity to Wiretapping Car of Client’s Husband

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A San Ramon divorce attorney pleaded guilty today to arranging to have a concealed listening device placed in the car of a client’s husband in 2007. Mary Nolan, 61, entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco.

She also pleaded guilty to four counts of evading taxes by understating her income for the years 2005 though 2008. Nolan will be sentenced by Breyer on Jan. 15. She was originally accused in a federal grand jury indictment last year of total of six counts, including conspiring with former investigator Christopher Butler, of Concord, to wiretap the cars of her divorcing clients’ husbands. Nolan did not plead guilty to the conspiracy charge, however, but rather to one specific instance of unlawful interception of communications by hiring Butler to hide a listening device in the car of one client’s spouse between Aug. 9 and Sept. 9, 2007.

Butler pleaded guilty earlier this year to seven felony charges, including wiretapping the same victim on the same dates. Nolan is the last of five people to be convicted in federal court in connection with a Contra Costa County law enforcement scandal. Butler and former narcotics squad commander Norman Wielsch were the leaders of a larger corruption scheme that included stealing and selling drug evidence, extortion and civil rights violations. Nolan’s defense attorney, Ted Cassman, said, “Mary’s been an excellent attorney for 30 years. Along the way she made mistakes that she regrets.” Cassman said, “She is now striving to atone for her mistakes.”

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