GREENBELT — A Baltimore attorney facing federal racketeering charges appeared Tuesday in U.S. District Court, where he received conditions for his continued release, including a restriction on travel.
Kenneth W. Ravenell, 60, is accused of receiving payments from a drug trafficker client and his associates in exchange for instructing them about how to evade police and continue their operations, according to prosecutors. He is charged with racketeering, drug and money laundering conspiracies.
Magistrate Judge Theresa C. Buchanan ordered Ravenell to surrender his passport and restrict his movements to Maryland and Washington, D.C., with permission required to travel outside the area. Attorney Peter H. White told Buchanan that Ravenell is working with witnesses and attorneys in places such as Pennsylvania and New York and asked that he be limited to the continental United States.
“I really don’t see why it’s necessary for him to go beyond Maryland,” Buchanan said. “These are serious charges and that’s not normally allowed.”
Prosecutors say Ravenell “received substantial cash payments” in exchange for laundering money and protecting co-conspirators. Ravenell allegedly advised his clients to use pay phones and burner phones and to hold in-person meetings to discuss drug operations, as well as to remove batteries from cell phones and to leave the phones outside the room during meetings to prevent the proceedings from being recorded, according to the indictment.
Ravenell faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for racketeering conspiracy, 20 years for money laundering conspiracy and life in prison for narcotics conspiracy.
White, Aislinn Affinito and McKenzie Hayes of Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP in Washington entered their appearances Monday and expected to be admitted as out-of -state attorneys Tuesday afternoon. Lucius T. Outlaw III, a federal public defender for Maryland, also appeared and filed the documents for the admission of the Schulte Roth & Zabel attorneys.
White told Buchanan the defense disagreed with some of the pretrial release recommendations provided to the court but said it would not object to them “to keep the ball moving forward.”
Prosecutor Derek Hines also asked Buchanan to order Ravenell to notify the Maryland bar, as required by the Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct. The rules place an affirmative duty on an attorney “charged with a serious crime in this State or any other jurisdiction” to notify bar counsel of the filing of the charge.
Buchanan said Ravenell must notify current and future clients about the charges but declined to tell him to notify the state bar.
Bar Counsel Lydia Lawless declined to comment Tuesday.
Ravenell, of Ravenell Law, was a partner at Murphy, Falcon & Murphy during the years referenced in the indictment, 2009 to 2014. The indictment accuses Ravenell of “violating the legitimate purposes of The Law Firm in order to enrich himself (and a co-conspirator) through illegal conduct, including receiving monies” from a drug trafficker and his associates during the period.