Brizzi story was misleading

April 10, 2010
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

As a longstanding member of the Indianapolis Bar and reader of IBJ, I was surprised and very disappointed to see an article appearing in this week’s issue [about Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi] suggesting that a sentence reduction provided to Guilford Forney was based not solely on the merits.

The assertion is baseless and the article contains false statements and insinuations that could easily have been avoided had reporter Cory Schouten properly researched the story by calling me or other knowledgeable people to check the facts.  

Specifically, IBJ falsely reported:

“Defense attorney Bruce D. Donaldson, of locally based Barnes & Thornburg LLP, last year persuaded Wyser to support a modification of the murder conviction justified by good behavior and an impressive educational track record while in prison. Forney was released on April 4, 2009, and is slated to serve two years on work release, followed by one year on probation.”

In fact, I did nothing to persuade Wyser or anyone else at the Prosecutor’s Office to support this sentence modification. To the contrary, this was solely the result of the family’s own efforts.

Specifically, Forney’s mother, Carlene Heeter, had a chance encounter with Carl Brizzi at a local restaurant and asked Brizzi if he would look into her son’s case. This led to a series of meetings and discussions within the prosecutor’s office that I was not invited to and took no part in, including at least one face-to-face meeting with Forney that I am aware of. Some time later Heeter called me with the good news that the Prosecutor’s Office had decided to support a sentence-modification request.

I had no involvement whatsoever in this entire process leading up to the prosecutor’s decision. I played no role in “persuading” the Prosecutor’s Office to support a sentence modification, and the story is false in stating otherwise. Rather, I have been friends of Forney’s family for nearly 10 years, and after the Prosecutor’s Office decided to support a sentence modification, Heeter asked for my help documenting the agreement that had already been reached. I did so on a pro bono basis as a favor to the family, filing an appearance for Forney and appearing at the hearing before the judge to request approval of the sentence modification.

The insinuation that Prosecutor Brizzi was influenced by political contributions or his relationship with Barnes & Thornburg is simply nonsense. Had this charge been made to me I could have disproven it easily. Specifically, nearly three years ago, as a friend of Forney’s family, I shared with Brizzi my personal views that Forney’s sentence was unduly harsh. My request went nowhere, and I was finally informed about a year later that the Prosecutor’s Office would not support a sentence modification.

I had no further involvement with the Prosecutor’s Office on the matter until Heeter contacted me with the good news that her own initiative with Prosecutor Brizzi had led to a favorable decision. Thus, it is beyond doubt that not only was my attempt at persuasion ineffective, but that Barnes & Thornburg’s supposed “relationship” with Brizzi was irrelevant to such decisions.

Thus, not only did IBJ get the facts wrong and mislead its readers, it made an unfounded and harmful insinuation about me and my law firm. Of course, in so doing, IBJ has also injured its own reputation and credibility as a fair and reliable source of business information. In short, inaccurate and unfair reporting harms everyone.

Bruce Donaldson


  • Circle Jerk
    For a well educated lawyer you sure talk in circles.
  • ...
    If you want some help on crimes Brizzi allegedly has committed, review the link on his party buddy and felon Daniel Laikin's guilty plea--notice the dropping of charges on Red Rock Pictures stock manipulation in return for the guilty plea on Lampoon?

    Now go pull Carl Brizzi's disclosures and see how he gobbled up hundreds of thousands of shares of....gasp...Red Rock Pictures....this, of course, on the heels of his spectacular bet on Cellstar stock shortly before Brightpoint bought them.

    Not bad for a guy who was sued in June of 2004 for failure to pay about three months of his kids gymnastics bills.

    For those not familiar with financial schemes, if charged and convicted this is called insider trading and felony stock manipulation. It is a FACT this entire case is under continuing investigation by the Philadelphia SEC. It is also a FACT that Daniel Laikin's sentencing last week was POSTPONED until the case is sorted out with the rest of the parties involved.

    I did notice Carl's scalp has been sweating a lot lately. And, he went to LA and was allegedly spotted having dinner with Tim Durham last week.

    Enjoy. Bruce, we want to see your spin on this!

  • IRS reward
    Hey Bruce, being a big shot and all, just curious what you think my cut of the pot is going to be for reporting a crook for not declaring hundreds of millions of dollars of stolen money as income?

    Same with his buddy, an elected official, who failed to declare hundreds of thousands of $$$ he made on a certain stock recommended to him by his Ponzi buddy.

    Would appreciate your stellar, uncompromised Hooser advice.

  • Not buying it
    Sorry, Bruce, the genie is out of the bottle, and no amount of political spin will get it to go back inside. Barnes & Thornburg attorneys are doing enough to damage the reputation of their lawfirm by working for slimy politicians and politically corrupt businesses. I'm glad the IBJ is around to expose it all.

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