Crime & Courts

Jailed Algonquin man hit with lawsuit

WOODSTOCK – A man whose former attorney tried to have him killed has filed a civil lawsuit against the attorney, who recently was sentenced to 8½ years in federal prison.

Jason W. Smiekel pleaded guilty to solicitation of murder using interstate commerce for what prosecutors said were at least three attempts to have Brian Hegg killed. The final attempt involved an undercover federal agent, and Smiekel was arrested in August 2011.

Hegg wad Smiekel’s client in a paternity case, and Smiekel eventually had a relationship with – and became engaged to – Hegg’s ex-girlfriend.

At Smiekel’s sentencing hearing, experts testified that he had a severe anxiety disorder that made him act irrationally and left him in great fear of Hegg.

According to the lawsuit filed by Hegg this week in McHenry County court, Smiekel “carelessly and negligently” represented Hegg at a time when Smiekel was “drinking heavily, experiencing anxiety bouts and receiving mental health treatment.”

Smiekel advised Hegg, among other things, that it was a “waste of time and money” to request joint custody and then created a conflict of interest when he formed a romantic relationship with Hegg’s ex.

Smiekel also gave her privileged information, Hegg said in the lawsuit.

Hegg said he did not know about the relationship with his ex until February 2011. Smiekel withdrew as Hegg’s attorney the following month, after which he appeared in court with Hegg’s ex and drafted legal documents on her behalf, Hegg said.

As a result, Hegg said he lost the money he paid to his ex in the parentage case, as well as money he paid to the law firm, and he was unable to establish as close of a relationship with his son as he had wanted.

Hegg said that he suffered emotional trauma stemming from the murder-for-hire scheme and the strain on his relationship with his son. He is seeking more than $50,000.

The lawsuit also names Terry Mohr, whom Hegg said he initially asked to represent him in 2008. Smiekel worked for Mohr’s firm, which at one point was Mohr, Hill & Smiekel.

Mohr told Hegg that he would be primarily responsible for the case, but Smiekel would help, ensuring that Smiekel was a “competent and capable attorney.” The lawsuit claims that Mohr failed to supervise Smiekel and “fostered a law firm environment where it was acceptable to have personal romantic relationships with adversaries of current and former clients.”

Citing the pending litigation, Mohr declined to comment.

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