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Tom Girardi REFUSEs to testify in Lion Air hearing

Tom Girardi has informed a judge he will not testify at an upcoming contempt hearing connected to the Lion Air Flight 610 case.

Girardi, 82, has told a Chicago federal judge on Monday that he will invoke his right to remain silent if he is called to the stand in the upcoming hearing, according to Law360.    

Last year a judge held Girardi and his law firm in contempt, finding he misappropriated at least $2 million in client funds intended for the families of those killed in the devastating 2018 Lion Air crash. The upcoming hearing is related to the contempt finding.  

Tom Girardi has informed a judge he will not testify at an upcoming hearing connected to the Lion Air Flight 610 case

US District Judge Thomas Durkin called Thomas Girardi’s conduct ‘unconscionable’ and said he was referring him to the U.S. attorney’s office for criminal investigation when holding him in contempt last year. 

Girardi’s assets were also frozen by the judge, as were the assets of his Los Angeles-based law firm, Girardi Keese.

Durkin warned the former lawyer that the ‘simple way to cure all of this’ is to pay at least four Illinois-based clients he said are each owed a half-million dollars.

Girardi, 82, told a Chicago federal judge on Monday that he will invoke his right to remain silent if he is called to the stand, according to Law360 (pictured 2019)

Girardi, 82, told a Chicago federal judge on Monday that he will invoke his right to remain silent if he is called to the stand, according to Law360 (pictured 2019)

‘These are widows and orphans,’ the judge told Girardi, according to the Chicago Sun Times. ‘Half a million dollars for any one of these families is a significant amount of money. Life changing, given the tragedy they went through.’

Girardi’s attorneys claimed he did not currently possess the $2 million owed to his clients. 

Attorney Evan Jenness told the judge her client’s firm, Girardi Keese, had about $15,000 in its operating accounts, the LA Times reported.  

Girardi's assets were also frozen by the judge, as were the assets of his Los Angeles-based law firm, Girardi Keese

Girardi’s assets were also frozen by the judge, as were the assets of his Los Angeles-based law firm, Girardi Keese

Girardi’s legal woes stem from the crash of Lion Air Flight 610, a Boeing 737 Max, which plummeted into the Java Sea, off Indonesia, in October 2018, killing all 189 passengers on board. The 737 Max has since been grounded indefinitely by Boeing after an investigation uncovered catastrophic issues with its anti-stall software.

The missing funds are part of a settlement Girardi and his firm negotiated from Boeing for four Illinois-based families, with primary terms reached by early 2020.

While the terms of the settlement are confidential, remarks made in court indicate that each of Girardi’s clients was to be paid $2 million, however only received around 75 percent of the money owed to them.

A fifth client also may not have been paid, the judge noted, adding that he planned to refer the matter to the US attorney’s office. 

Jayne's extravagant lifestyle is well documented on the reality show Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Jayne’s extravagant lifestyle is well documented on the reality show Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Edelson’s firm filed a separate lawsuit against Girardi, accusing him and his estranged wife Erika Jayne of embezzling the Lion Air settlement funds to keep up their ‘public image of obscene wealth’, despite being over the ‘verge of financial collapse’.

It further claims that last year’s announcement Jayne had filed for divorce against Girardi is an act to protect their money from debt collectors.

‘At the heart of this deception is Defendant Girardi and his need to fund outrageous lifestyles for himself and his soon-to-be ex-wife, Erika Jayne,’ the complaint, obtained by DailyMail.com, reads.

It continues: ‘Tom and Erika have reached celebrity status in the glitz-and-glam world of Hollywood and Beverly Hills…To keep up their celebrity status, Tom and Erika must project a public image of obscene wealth at all times, and at whatever the cost.

The lawsuit cited examples of her excessive spending, mentioning how she boasted in 2018 that she spends $40,000 a month her glamorous make-up

The lawsuit cited examples of her excessive spending, mentioning how she boasted in 2018 that she spends $40,000 a month her glamorous make-up

‘While Erika publicly filed for divorce this month, on information and belief, that ‘divorce’ is simply a sham attempt to fraudulently protect Tom’s and Erika’s money from those that seek to collect on debts owed by Tom and his law firm GK.’

In his suit, Edelson stated that Girardi and his firm are ”are on the verge of financial collapse and locked in a downward spiral of mounting debts and dwindling funds’, and allegedly owe tens of millions of dollars to clients, co-counsel, and others.

The suit claims that it’s because of his purported financial turmoil that Girardi allegedly resorted to embezzling money intended for his clients.

Jayne’s extravagant lifestyle is well documented on the reality show Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

The lawsuit cited examples of her excessive spending, mentioning how she boasted in 2018 that she spends $40,000 a month her glamorous make-up.

The suit also highlights a lyric from her 2017 hip-hop song ‘Exxpen$ive’ which features the phrase, ‘it’s expensive to be me.’ 

The suit also highlights a lyric from her 2017 hip-hop song 'Exxpen$ive' which features the phrase, 'it's expensive to be me'

 The suit also highlights a lyric from her 2017 hip-hop song ‘Exxpen$ive’ which features the phrase, ‘it’s expensive to be me’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk