Bar opens investigation into Abramson's
conduct during Menendez brothers' trial

The State Bar and the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office are investigating allegations that defense attorney Leslie Abramson ordered a witness in the Menendez brothers' murder trial to alter his notes. Although bar investigations usually are confidential, spokeswoman Anne Charles said the probe was made public because it involves "substantial public interest" and it has been well-publicized.

When an attorney is disciplined, penalties range from reproval to suspension to disbarment, Charles said.

The district attorney's office said only that it is investigating both Abramson and psychiatrist William Vicary, who said during the penalty phase of the brothers' retrial that Abramson told him to delete prejudicial portions of his notes on interviews with Erik Menendez.

Abramson has denied any misconduct, saying she asked the psychiatrist to clarify ambiguities in his notes and to edit portions which breached doctor-patient confidentiality.

Vicary also has denied any wrongdoing.