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Lawyer hit with a half million in sanctions

In what appears to be the final trial court chapter of a tangled legal saga in Charlottesville, the judge has imposed $542,000 in sanctions against attorney Matt Murray for hiding evidence and trying to deflect blame for lapses in his disclosures to the court.

In addition to the sanctions against Murray, Judge Edward Hogshire ordered Murray’s client, Isaiah Lester, to pay $180,000. The total of $722,000 is to be paid to the defendants who incurred additional legal fees probing improprieties stemming from a series of embarrassing Facebook photographs.

Defense lawyers had argued they were entitled to more than $900,000 for their efforts to uncover wrongdoing.

The case arose from a 2007 accident between a concrete truck and a passenger car that took the life of Jessica Lester. A jury awarded widower Isaiah Lester $8.6 million with another $2 million for Jessica’s parents.

Hogshire reduced Lester’s award to $2.1 million in a decision later criticized by one member of the jury.

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By Peter Vieth

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