Memphis defense attorney Michael Scholl emerged from the federal courthouse grim-faced and angry on Thursday. Despite his best efforts, Scholl could only watch as his client, 19-year-old Kayla Bray, dubbed the "Princess Pimp", was slapped with a 14-year prison sentence for conspiring to commit the sex-trafficking of children. But, while Scholl acknowledged the despicable nature his client exhibited in sexually exploiting two teenage girls, he insisted Bray had been victimized herself.
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"One of the allegations that you heard in court were one of the individuals that she trusted was her former attorney. I believe he's no longer practicing law now," alleged Scholl.
The "retired" attached to his name at his former downtown office would indicate Memphis attorney Mark A. Saripkin has abandoned his law practice. It coincides with testimony Bray gave federal investigators about the lawyer she had been represented by first dating back to when she made court appearances as a juvenile. Scholl says Bray alleged her relationship with Saripkin went far beyond the legal line.
"She dealt with adults, such as that, such as that attorney, that took advantage of her sexually, mentally, physically and that's just a repulsive unbelievable set of circumstances."
However, more than a decade ago Saripkin was at the center of another "set of circumstances" involving his relationship with a client. In 1996 Saripkin took the case of former Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy Detective, Billy Talley. Then an 18-year veteran of the department, Talley was originally arrested after a four month investigation uncovered numerous crimes including trying to buy drugs, selling a gun to a felon and possession of stolen vehicle. Saripkin convinced a federal judge his client posed no flight risk.
"He has no, of course, no prior record. His financial situation right now...this has inhibited his ability to travel...not to travel. I don't believe he's a flight risk," proclaimed Saripkin at the time.
But, Saripkin's involvement in the case took a dramatic turn when the feds accused him of being part of a conspiracy, along with Talley, to murder the FBI agent and the informant who figured to be key witnesses in Talley's trial. Though the plot never materialized, the next four years would find Saripkin in courtrooms as a defendant.
Saripkin, though eventually pleading guilty of making false statements to the FBI, received no jail time, two years probation and paid a $5,000 fine.
We were unsuccessful in trying to reach Saripkin for a comment on Bray's allegations. But, perhaps the sign on his office door should serve as an answer.