Local News

Attorney Who Was Attacked By Client Says He's 'Sore' But Ready To Get Back To Work

Posted January 27, 2003

— A criminal lawyer who was attacked by a client just after a jury found the man guilty of kidnapping and assault said he expects to be back at work Monday even though he feels like he "was in a heavyweight championship fight."

Willie Forrest III assaulted George Hughes in a Wake County courtroom on Wednesday before five sheriff's deputies pulled him off of the lawyer.

Hughes, 55, suffered a skull fracture, a broken right cheekbone and bruises around his left eye. He also needed a few stitches around one eye and left ear.

Doctors worried initially about bleeding in Hughes' brain, But Hughes said surgery won't be required.

Hughes has been trying to work on a few cases at home as well as taking phone calls from well-wishers.

Hughes said he remembers very little of the attack.

"The only thing I remember is getting that first hit," he said. "I went down. After that, I don't remember anything until EMS put me on that board."

Forrest, 33, of Raleigh, was on trial for three felony charges related to an Oct. 9 incident in which he was charged with holding his aunt at knifepoint, said Assistant District Attorney Ned Mangum.

In addition to first-degree kidnapping, Forrest also was charged with two other felonies - assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury with intent to kill and assault on a law enforcement officer inflicting serious injury.

The jury convicted him of kidnapping and two lesser assault charges.

"He got found not guilty of two out of the three felonies," Hughes said. "He ought to have been happy."

Forrest will be sentenced next week. He has not been charged with assaulting Hughes.

Forrest is also charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and second-degree kidnapping in Northampton County.

Hughes said he felt bad for the jurors who witnessed the attack.

"I represent good people, bad people and in-between people," he said. "This just happens to be one who was bad."

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