AUGUSTA — A once-disbarred attorney has been reprimanded and suspended from practicing law for six months following complaints, including one saying that he was added improperly as a beneficiary in an elderly client’s will.

The suspension of Andrews Bruce Campbell, of Bowdoinham, begins Nov. 1.

The agreement imposing the suspension was approved after a brief hearing Tuesday before Maine Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Donald Alexander at the Capital Judicial Center.

The complaints against Campbell were filed by Catherine Gero, of Pittston, about Campbell’s representation of her late relative Mildred MacComb; by Matthew Fleury, formerly of Phillips, regarding Campbell’s conduct as his defense attorney; and by Wanda Moulton, involving an attempt to collect on a promissory note for $12,000.

Campbell’s attorney, Justin Andrus, and attorney Alan Kelley, representing the Board of Overseers of the Bar, which regulates attorney conduct, had crafted a proposed order for the court.

Campbell, 74, who began practicing law in Maine 43 years ago, acknowledged his wrongdoing and agreed to the sanction.

“He made it clear that he has acknowledged his mistakes from the outset in this case and that his actions were intended to safeguard the well-being of his clients,” Andrus said Tuesday afternoon.

At the hearing, Gero told the judge she wanted a longer period of suspension.

But Andrus said Alexander responded that he would not impose a longer period because the Campbell has clients with a continuing need of access to representation.

While Campbell’s suspension is in effect, he is barred from access to client files, and open cases are to be returned to clients or placed with Andrus for safekeeping, according to the order.

“I think he intends to come back from the suspension and continue to serve the people of Maine as he has done for more than 40 years,” Andrus said.

One of the findings in the decision and order says, “Despite being the attorney for the adversarial parties, Attorney Campbell failed to seek or obtain proper client consent from any of his clients to engage in such simultaneous, and/or successive representation.”

At one point, Campbell had prepared successive wills for MacComb, including ones that left him as a beneficiary of her sheep and/or land. The court found that violated Maine Bar Rules of professional conduct, as did an attempt to collect $12,000 from Moulton.

Campbell has been the defense attorney in some high-profile trials in central Maine, including the defense of Raymond Bellavance Jr., who was convicted of setting fire in 2009 to the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop in Vassalboro.

One of the more unusual cases brought Campbell his first reprimand from the Board of Overseers — in 1987 — for his actions a year earlier in defending Dennis Eugene Friel, who was accused of criminal mischief involving painting messages on 30 churches and a town hall during the summer of 1983. Campbell insisted he was following his client’s directions by standing mute and refusing to cross-examine the state’s witnesses at Friel’s jury trial. The judge declared a mistrial, and later the charges against Friel, who has since died, were dismissed.

Campbell was suspended and finally disbarred following his 1987 conviction in U.S. District Court in Maine for marijuana distribution. He was reinstated conditionally in 1999 and fully in 2001.

Campbell was reprimanded again for his professional conduct in 2006 and 2010.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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