EXCLUSIVE: The California State Bar has suspended the license of entertainment attorney Benjamin Lawson Adams, a former director of business and legal affairs at The Weinstein Company, in the wake of his no-contest plea to one count of lewd or lascivious conduct with a 14-year-old boy. The suspension of his license to practice law in the state was effective Monday.
Adams was an attorney for MGM at the time of his arrest in May 2016 and later sued the studio, claiming he was wrongly terminated after news accounts of his arrest surfaced. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge subsequently dismissed the suit and ordered Adams to pay the studio $227,400 in attorney fees.
He originally had been charged with nine felony counts, including oral copulation, sexual penetration and sodomy with a minor under the age of 16. The victim, now a 16-year-old transgender girl, said they met on Instagram and had sex at Adams’ West Los Angeles apartment and, on two occasions, under the Manhattan Beach pier. After his arrest, Manhattan Beach police said, “It is believed Adams used his title of entertainment lawyer to attract the victim’s interest.” Sentencing is set for August 15.
In suspending his license, the State Bar said: “Since respondent Benjamin Lawson Adams has been convicted of violating Penal Code section 288(c)(1) (lewd act upon a minor under 14 years of age), a felony involving moral turpitude, it is ordered pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 6102 that respondent be suspended from the practice of law effective July 30, 2018, pending ﬁnal disposition of this proceeding. It is further ordered that respondent comply with California Rules of Court, rule 9.20, and perform the acts speciﬁed in subdivisions (a) and (C) of that rule within 30 and 40 days, respectively, after the effective date of this suspension. Within 120 days of the date of this order, the Office of Chief Trial Counsel of the State Bar is ordered to submit evidence of ﬁnality or provide an update on ﬁnality.”