Former Republican legislator and attorney Dan Greenberg confirmed to the Times on Wednesday morning that he at one time “had an attorney-client relationship” with Julie McGee, the ex-girlfriend of former state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson (R-Little Rock), as McGee implied yesterday in federal court.
Hutchinson, who resigned his office last year, is charged with spending $150,000 in campaign money on personal expenses and avoiding taxes on more than $270,000 in income. His trial is set to begin in July.
The convoluted federal investigation into Jeremy Hutchinson began on Aug. 20, 2012, when McGee approached the FBI with two laptops and other electronic devices that she said contained evidence of the senator’s financial misdeeds. In court Tuesday, McGee said she first had simply been looking for an attorney. She wanted someone to help her keep the condo that Hutchinson provided to her at the time and was threatening to take away. The couple had a rocky, on-again, off-again relationship, separating and reuniting many times over a five-year period, McGee said. (That pattern continued well after she went to the FBI in 2012.)
“I was just trying to get my condo back … I didn’t know until I went to the attorney that any of this was illegal,” she said, referring to Hutchinson’s use of campaign money for the personal benefit of himself and McGee, among other acts. “So, I went with Dan Greenberg the very first time to the FBI.”
Greenberg, then a well-known public figure in Arkansas Republican circles, served in the state House for two terms, from 2006 to 2011. He twice lost GOP primary elections to Jeremy Hutchinson — once for an open state House seat in 1999 and once for an open state Senate seat in 2010.
On Wednesday morning, Greenberg responded to questions a reporter sent him late Tuesday night about McGee. “I have had an attorney-client relationship with Julie. I don’t remember the dates, but 2012 sounds about right,” he wrote.
Attorney-client privilege prevented Greenberg from discussing specific professional relationships, he said. However, he added, “as I recall, there are at least three different attorney-client relationships I have had in which my representation was limited to (1) a party contacting me with concerns about someone else’s wrongful conduct; (2) my advice to that party about possible personal costs and benefits of reporting that conduct to law enforcement or disciplinary authorities; and (3) helping the party communicate their concerns to law enforcement or disciplinary authorities once I had provided that advice.”
Greenberg also said McGee may have contacted him specifically because of her conversations with several other people in search of advice — including Max Brantley, senior editor of the Arkansas Times.
“I am not violating any attorney-client privilege when I say that I had heard she was contacting many people around this time looking for help,” Greenberg wrote. “I think Max Brantley is one of them. My memory is vague on this (it is based on a conversation I had with him), but I think for some reason he recommended to her that she contact me. Perhaps this was an instance of his sense of humor. But, as I say, there were multiple contactees: She contacted lots of people looking for help. That is my only connection with Julie.”
Brantley confirmed Wednesday that McGee did contact him in 2012. Though he didn’t fully recall referring McGee to Greenberg, Brantley said, it could have happened. “A lot of people call me, and I say, ‘You don’t need me; you need a lawyer.’ … Well, there’s one lawyer he [Hutchinson] doesn’t get along with very well, and that’s Dan Greenberg,” Brantley said. Brantley referenced his conversations with McGee in multiple blog posts for the Arkansas Times in 2012.
In a phone conversation later Wednesday, Greenberg named another individual who at one time suggested that Greenberg serve as McGee’s attorney: Jeremy Hutchinson himself.
“At one point, Jeremy called me … for reasons I don’t entirely understand … and, among other things, he asked me if I would represent Julie,” Greenberg recalled. Greenberg said he wasn’t certain when this conversation occurred.
Greenberg said he found the request peculiar, but noted the tumultuous nature of the relationship between McGee and Hutchinson. “Jeremy made this request, if I recall, because he was having some sort of argument about money with Julie,” he said.
Greenberg speculated that Hutchinson made the request because he would have preferred that some of his personal disputes with McGee be mediated by an attorney. “It was like, and I’m paraphrasing, ‘I’m tired of her harassing me about money,’ ” Greenberg said.
Greenberg clarified, however, that his brief attorney-client relationship with McGee did not occur as a direct result of this conversation with Hutchinson. Greenberg said he did not give much weight to Hutchinson’s request, as he “asked people for stuff a lot.”
“One of the interesting things about Jeremy is that he’s pretty unembarrassed about asking people for pretty big favors,” Greenberg said.
After Greenberg lost the 2010 Senate race, he became president of the Advance Arkansas Institute, a free-market think tank. In February 2017, he was appointed to head the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Division board by Governor Asa Hutchinson. (Jeremy Hutchinson is the governor’s nephew.) Greenberg resigned that post to take a job in the D.C. area in 2017, where he and his family live today.