High-profile celebrity lawyer sanctioned by Iowa judge for ‘lack of candor’

An Iowa judge has taken the unusual step of sanctioning and limiting the practice of a high-profile Illinois attorney for his alleged “lack of candor” with the court.

U.S. District Court Judge C.J. Williams, who works out of the Cedar Rapids courthouse in the Northern District of Iowa, has filed a written opinion and order sanctioning attorney Jeffrey B. Steinback of Roscoe, Ill., for contempt of court. The order prohibits Steinback from ever appearing before Williams again except with the permission of the district’s chief judge.

Over the years, Steinback has provided legal services for a number of high-profile clients, including singer R. Kelly, who has faced various state and federal charges related to child pornography, racketeering and sexual abuse; a key witness in the corruption investigation of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich; and a high-ranking Chicago police officer who ran a jewelry-theft ring.

Other Steinback clients have included media mogul Conrad Black, who was convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice, and accused mob boss Michael “The Large Guy” Sarno.

When asked about the sanctions and the finding of contempt, Steinback told the Iowa Capital Dispatch on Wednesday, “I have profound respect for Judge Williams and the power of the district court, generally, and I advised the court during the hearing that I would accept whatever the judge felt was appropriate and I am standing by that statement.”

The sanctions imposed by Judge Williams are based on Steinback’s conduct in the defense of Romel Murphy, who in 2020 was criminally charged in Iowa with wire fraud and identity theft in connection with various concert promotions.


High-profile celebrity lawyer sanctioned by Iowa judge for ‘lack of candor’