Categorized | Civil, Featured Stories

The Shove And The Glower: Who’s At Fault?

Mark Brennan and Kim Ikeler interact during Brennan’s disciplinary hearing last week in Denver.

Video: Law Week Colorado

DENVER — The disciplinary hearing for Centennial attorney Mark E. Brennan became physical during closing arguments on the third and final day, when Brennan shoved and then glowered at Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel prosecutor Kim Ikeler.
Ikeler’s boss, John Gleason, said Monday that his office is considering filing with the Denver District Attorney’s office a criminal complaint against Brennan over the incident, which was caught on camera by Law Week Colorado.
Gleason’s office on Friday asked to review Law Week’s unedited videotape, but Managing Editor Cara DeGette denied the request. DeGette said relevant portions of the edited tape would ultimately be posted online for all to see.
That video accompanies this story.
The altercation occurred 6:20 p.m. Thursday when Brennan was speaking.
Here’s what followed:
* Ikeler got up from his chair and approached the podium to make an objection. On the first day of the trial, Presiding Disciplinary Judge William Lucero instructed Ikeler not to do this.
* Brennan, who had several times expressed his contempt for Ikeler, was pointing with his arm outstretched to his side when Ikeler approached him from behind. Brennan’s arm effectively barred Ikeler from walking any further. Brennan’s arm and Ikeler’s chest then came into contact, after which it appeared that Brennan pushed Ikeler back.
* Brennan next turned to face Ikeler, glaring intently at him for several seconds, then pointing his finger and shaking his head.
* Lucero called for order. “This is not trial by combat,” he said.
* Brennan then told the hearing panel that Ikeler had deliberately provoked him by violating Lucero’s order not to approach the podium when making objections. Brennan also referred to Ikeler as a “piece of sh-t.”
After the altercation, OARC staff in the audience summoned security personnel, who monitored the remainder of the trial.
In an e-mail to Law Week, Brennan gave his side of the story: “I did not shove Ikeler, but put out my hand as I faced the bench and he approached from behind, against which he pushed unsuccessfully. He assaulted me, in violation of repeated court orders that he stay away from me. He did so to provoke me. I then turned after he backed off, and told him to get away from me.”
The altercation and subsequent release of video calls to mind last year’s kicking incident by then-Rep. Douglas Bruce of a then-Rocky Mountain News photographer. In both cases, the videotape produced conflicting interpretations of what occurred.
Brennan is representing himself against allegations that his behavior in a 2006 civil trial in Colorado’s federal court violated the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct. Gleason’s office asked a three-judge disciplinary panel that Brennan be suspended as a result.
While Gleason said OARC is considering filing the DA’s complaint against Brennan for allegedly shoving Ikeler, he said his office isn’t planning to bring any more attorney misconduct complaints because of it. Brennan’s e-mail to Law Week did not indicate whether he will pursue assault charges against Ikeler.

Distributed by Colorado Capitol Reporters

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