A 27-year-old DeKalb County lawyer facing ethics sanctions for allegedly exchanging sex for money and office supplies has agreed not to practice law for three years.
Reema “Nicki” Bajaj and attorneys with the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission have reached an agreement under which Bajaj’s law license would be suspended for three years, records show. Bajaj is free to practice law until both a hearing board and then the Illinois Supreme Court approve the proposal, said James Grogan, spokesman for the disciplinary commission.
“The bottom line sought here is substantial,” Grogan said. “It’s not a disbarment, but she’d have to petition for reinstatement if she wanted to practice again at the end of the three-year period.”
The ethics charges claim Bajaj used an alias when she engaged in prostitution and lied to investigators and the registration and disciplinary commission about it, records show. The ethics case was scheduled to go before the hearing board Tuesday, but that likely will be pushed back to accommodate the board chair’s schedule, Grogan said.
An attorney for Bajaj did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday.
Bajaj pleaded guilty last year in DeKalb County Circuit Court to misdemeanor prostitution for a single incident in August 2010, which happened before she became an attorney in November 2010. She folded her Maple Park law practice in May and is serving two years of court supervision.
The ethics complaint alleges Bajaj met two men through the website Adult Friend Finder, where she identified herself as Nikita. One paid her $200 after meeting her for sex at a DeKalb hotel in 2005, and then met her for sex about 25 times over the next five years, paying her $100 each time, the complaint alleges.
She allegedly met the second man in a store parking lot, where he paid her $25 for performing a sex act in 2007, the complaint alleges. The pair met about a dozen times through January 2011, with the man paying her $25 or $50 an encounter, sometimes in cash and sometimes in store gift cards or DVDs, the complaint alleges.
In one instance, the man bought her $70 in supplies for her Sycamore law practice in exchange for a sex act, the complaint alleges.
In May, she filed a lawsuit claiming then-DeKalb County State’s Attorney Clay Campbell and her former defense attorney showed other local attorneys nude photos of her obtained through the criminal investigation, which she said made it hard for her to find clients.
That lawsuit remains pending, with an attorney for the defendants seeking the names of the people Bajaj claims saw the photographs of her and the assistant state’s attorney who she claims distributed news accounts of her arrest.