Defense attorney Elaine Whitfield Sharp seemed like one of British au pair Louise Woodward's biggest supporters.
She hugged her client as Woodward was convicted of killing an infant in her care. She opened her home to the teen to wait out appeals and ardently defended Woodward's innocence to anyone who questioned it.But Woodward has fired Whitfield Sharp amid reports the attorney told a state trooper she now believes her client is guilty.
In a statement Monday, her three other lawyers - Harvey Silverglate, Andrew Good and Barry Scheck - said Woodward accepted their recommendation "to immediately dismiss attorney Sharp as one of her counsel."
A jury convicted Woodward last fall of second-degree murder in the death of 8-month-old Matthew Eappen. But Judge Hiller Zobel reduced the verdict to manslaughter and sentenced her to the 279 days in prison she had served since her arrest. Both sides are appealing.
Randy Cipoletta, the trooper who arrested Whitfield Sharp on drunken-driving charges May 22, said the lawyer, in an apparent attempt to explain why she was intoxicated, emotionally blurted out she now believes the former au pair is guilty. He said she told him she was "having a hard time handling it."
Whitfield Sharp, 44, denied making the comments and in turn accused Cipoletta of making sexual advances toward her and of having a vendetta against her. The other three lawyers said Monday that they don't believe her.
"We do not believe that Trooper Cipoletta is an extortionist and a liar, any more than we believe that Woodward is a murderer and a liar," Scheck, Silverglate and Good said in the statement.
Whitfield Sharp, in a move akin to a no-contest plea, admitted in court last week that there was enough evidence to convict her of driving drunk and was placed on probation for a year. Her lawyer said she had two drinks and their effect was exacerbated by pain medication she was taking.