CHESTERTOWN L — CHESTERTOWN -- A Kent County grand jury has indicted a well-known Eastern Shore defense lawyer on charges of stealing from a client's trust accounts over a 20-month period ending in fall 1990.
James J. "Jay" White III, a colorful country lawyer with a penchant for big cigars and dazzling plaid sports coats, was charged with one count of stealing about $10,000 from Larry David Steward Jr., 7, and another count of violating his fiduciary responsibility with Larry Steward's trust.
Mr. White, 52, pleaded not guilty to the charges Dec. 20, 10 days after a grand jury handed down the indictments.
Saying he did not want to jeopardize his chances of receiving a fair trial in his home county, Mr. White declined yesterday to comment on the charges.
G. Mitchell Mowell, a Chestertown lawyer, has been retained to represent Mr. White.
Harford County Assistant State's Attorney M. Teresa Garland will prosecute the case.
Ms. Garland said she was asked to prosecute the case because Mr. White had been married to the mother of Kent County State's Attorney Susanne Hayman.
A pretrial conference has been scheduled for Jan. 20 in Caroline County.
No trial date has been set.
Mr. White faces 20 years in prison if he is convicted on both counts.
Mr. White has maintained a flamboyant presence on the Upper (( Eastern Shore for 30 years. In addition to his custom of wearing unusually bright clothing and running a successful legal practice pursuing personal injury cases, Mr. White unsuccessfully ran for the state's attorney's office three times and for a seat on the county commission once.
He is accused of illegally dipping into Larry Steward's trust account between Feb. 1, 1989, and Oct. 31, 1990.