Clinton lawyer sentenced for harboring illegal immigrant, Justice Dept. says

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A 34-year-old lawyer from Clinton was sentenced to three months in prison after she pleaded guilty in June to helping an illegal immigrant live in the U.S., the Justice Department said.

Sarah Jane Brinson pleaded guilty on June 4 to a criminal information charging that she encouraged and induced an alien to reside in the United States, knowing and in reckless disregard of the fact that such residence in the United States was in violation of the law. 

After her release, she will be under supervised release for three years.

Part of the plea agreement also called for Brinson to surrender her law license to the North Carolina State Bar and forfeit $5,000.

Homeland Security began investigating Brinson as she represented an illegal immigrant in North Carolina state court.

She helped enter a prayer for judgment before a North Carolina district court judge knowing the immigrant had assumed the identity of a U.S. citizen.

“Brinson represented the same alien in immigration proceedings under the alien’s real name without disclosing the alien’s use of another name,” a release from the DoJ says.

The immigrant also illegally worked at Brinson’s law firm from December 2011 to August 2014.

“Misconduct by a member of the Bar – and officer of the Court – is particularly troubling and poses a grave threat to the administration of our civil and criminal justice systems,” U.S. Attorney John Higdon.

Homeland Security’s Ronnie Martinez said Brinson had no regard for the law in the U.S.

“She blatantly hired and harbored an individual illegally present in the United States and willingly represented an alien who was using someone else’s identity,” Martinez said.

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