By Lindsay Toler
By Chad Garrison
By Brett Koshkin
By RFT Staff
By Lindsay Toler
By Riverfront Times
By Danny Wicentowski
By Pete Kotz
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Mehan is surprised Fabbri has come without his partner.
"You're not going to say anything, are you?" asks Mehan.
"Just a few words," replies Fabbri.
Mehan: "Are you kidding me?"
Fabbri: "Aw, Tom, you know me. It's my last gasp. Got to."
Judge Sippel, it turns out, is also perplexed. When Fabbri approaches the bench, the judge peppers the attorney from the bench with questions about the status of his disbarment proceedings.
"Your Honor, what I am sure of is I'm licensed to practice," Fabbri interrupts.
Sippel erupts. "I'm sorry, I'm speaking!" the judge bellows.
For the next ten minutes, Fabbri, Mehan and Sippel spar in the sparsely populated courtroom. Mehan asserts that the U.S. Attorney's Office doesn't want Fabbri flying solo on any cases, for fear his clients might later question his competence. Fabbri argues that his client is well aware of his situation and wants to stick with him.
"I'm a licensed attorney," he repeats. "I'm not here as a matter of convenience. I'm not here as a matter of pride – or, shall we say, unreflective concern. I have concern for my client."
Sippel postpones the sentencing. "I want to make sure that she has the best representation she can get," the judge concludes.
Fabbri walks back to his client. She presses her palm on his arm. "Are you all right?" she asks.
"Only if you are," he replies.
Not until November 20 will Fabbri learn that the Missouri Supreme Court has disbarred him. But he knows that his dismissal at the hands of Judge Sippel likely marked his last courtroom appearance as a practicing attorney.
"It wasn't a bang," he'll say more than once over the next few hours, as he replays what he knew would probably be his last formal appearance as a practicing lawyer.
"But it wasn't a whimper, either."