Appeal Denied for 'Breaking Bad'-Inspired Cleveland Attorney

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PHOTO VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Cleveland lawyer Matthew King looked to the wrong TV show for inspiration.

King, 46, who was found guilty of money laundering last summer after apparently learning the craft from Breaking Bad, has had his appeal denied.

Inspired by Saul Goodman, the AMC drama's resident attorney and star of its spinoff, Better Call Saul, King began his criminal activity in 2014. He met Marcus Terry, a federal informant masquerading as a cocaine dealer, and suggested that they set up a fake business as a mask for laundering drug money — echoing Goodman's fictional scheming.

King, ultimately sentenced to two counts of money laundering and one count of attempted money laundering, accepted $20,000 from Terry. He planned to give it back in few-thousand-dollar increments, while taking some for made-up legal expenses. The court decided that wires worn by Terry during their meetings revealed, via recordings, that King was counting on Terry to make thousands through drug sales.

In his argument for an appeal, King said Terry should have testified at trial, and that he couldn't cross-examine him due to his absence. However, recordings convinced the appeals court in Cincinnati that this didn't matter, as King knew he was involving himself in illegal activity.

King also tried to attribute the money laundering to his alcohol addiction, and while he will be forced to join the Federal Bureau of Prisons' Residential Drug Abuse Program, it didn't help in granting his appeal.

He is sentenced to 44 months in federal prison, 500 hours of which will be spent in the Drug Abuse Program, and his law license is suspended.


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