Thomas L. Root, the lawyer who survived a bizarre ocean plane crash last summer, has been disbarred from practicing law before the Federal Communications Commission, officials said yesterday.
The action effectively ends Root's communications law practice as of July 6. He is awaiting sentencing Aug. 6 after pleading guilty to five felony counts of counterfeiting and forging federal documents, defrauding clients and lying to the FCC.
Root, the pilot from Alexandria who survived last summer's crash of his private plane, but suffered a gunshot wound, had asked the commission to allow him to practice until his sentencing so his clients would have time to transfer to another lawyer.
But the commission gave him from June 21 -- the date of the order -- to July 6 to notify his clients.
On Wednesday, a federal grand jury in East St. Louis, Ill., indicted Root on four counts of mail and bank fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property involving $15,000 that he tried to obtain from clients. The maximum penalty for each offense is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
On Monday, Root pleaded not guilty in North Carolina to 445 counts of securities fraud and related charges in connection with his handling of radio station licensing cases before the FCC.