Sidley Partner Hires Prominent Lawyer in Sex Assault Case

, The Am Law Daily

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Stanley Stallworth
Stanley Stallworth

Stanley Stallworth, a 50-year-old real estate partner with Sidley Austin in Chicago, has been accused along with his nephew of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old man while the alleged victim was passed out on Thanksgiving.

The Am Law Daily has learned that Stallworth has retained well-known Chicago criminal defense firm Henderson Adam, which was formed in 2011 by former Holland & Knight partner Victor Henderson and local trial lawyer Sam Adam Jr. News of the charges against Stallworth and his 22-year-old nephew Therrie Miller were first reported Friday by the Chicago Tribune, with the Chicago Sun-Times and DNAinfo Chicago subsequently publishing their own stories on the alleged crime.

According to prosecutors, Miller met the victim, who has not been identified, at a suburban Chicago barbershop on Nov. 27. The teenage victim exchanged text messages with Miller, who invited him to meet him the next day at his uncle’s house on the 3300 block of South Calumet Avenue, according to news reports and court filings. (As noted by Above the Law, property records show a single-family home on the block was purchased in Stallworth’s name for $170,000 in 2005.)

The alleged victim later told law enforcement authorities that he consumed about one- and-a-half drinks at Stallworth’s South Side residence and passed out twice. The young man told authorities that the first time he awoke, Miller was performing a sex act on him and that Stallworth then did the same. The alleged victim claims he was naked the second time he regained consciousness, and that Miller then drove him home.

After telling his mother about the alleged assault, the young man was taken to a local hospital, where, according to prosecutors, a rape kit was administered. Both Stallworth and Miller have each been charged with one count of criminal sexual assault in connection with the incident. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Israel Desierto set bond for the accused defendants at $150,000 apiece during a Friday hearing, according to news reports. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 26.

Victor Henderson, a name partner at Henderson Adam and the former head of Holland & Knight's Chicago office, is serving as lead counsel to Stallworth. Henderson was in court Monday and unavailable for immediate comment, but did share with The Am Law Daily a statement prepared by the Stallworth family.

"The allegation is completely unfounded, and we look forward to defending vigorously Stan's good name and reputation," the family said. "Stan is a pillar of the community, and he has tirelessly worked on behalf of young people for the past 25 years. As a former teacher, current member of several nonprofit organizations focused on improving the circumstances of underserved youth and their families, and a major university scholarship donor, Stan remains undaunted in his commitment to improving society by creating more educational, cultural and social opportunities for underserved segments of his community. We are confident that justice will prevail and Stan can resume his normal life."

The family said it would have no further comment on the advice of Henderson, a veteran of several high-profile civil and criminal cases in Chicago courts. Henderson, whose firm biography states that he was the first African American to lead a Chicago office with more than 100 lawyers, founded his firm with Sam Adam Jr., the son of legendary Windy City trial lawyer Sam Adam Sr.

The father-and-son legal team represented disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich at his first corruption trial, which ended before a hung jury. The two Adams stepped back from the ex-governor’s defense in late 2010 after their client ran out of money to pay his legal fees. (Blagojevich is currently appealing his conviction on corruption charges at a second trial.) The duo also helped Chicago native and R&B singer R. Kelly win an acquittal on child pornography charges in 2008.

The publicity from those cases—particularly the first Blagojevich trial, during which the elder Adam lashed out at former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald (who last year took $3 million to join Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom) while battling federal prosecutors to a draw—helped the younger Adam bolster his own practice as his father headed toward retirement, according to a 2011 profile by the ABA Journal.

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