Shoot your lover in the head? Viciously slash a woman to death? Feel you were unjustly slandered by a school-board member? If you answered yes to any of the preceding, there’s only one man to call: ace attorney Chet Pleban. In the past two years, Pleban has won acclaim working some of the most high-profile cases in town while earning the reputation as a dogged and cunning litigator. Last year Pleban captured headlines when he sued St. Louis Board of Education member Bill Haas over allegedly slanderous remarks made against his client, former St. Louis Public Schools superintendent William Roberti. (The case was later dismissed.) This past May Pleban made news again when, during a radio interview, he ran roughshod over a caller critical of his client, the controversial former principal of Riverview Gardens High School, Clem Ukaoma. (The anonymous caller was later identified as Natalie Thomas, Ukaoma’s former boss.) Just this past June, Pleban took on the case of WGNU (920 AM) radio host Leonardo Drisdel, charged with stabbing to death Cassandra Kovack. Earlier in the year Pleban defended Thomas Zeigler, the former St. Louis County police officer charged with firing his Glock into the head of his lover, fellow county cop Patricia March. Though the jury convicted Zeigler of assault (March survived) and possession of cocaine and marijuana, Pleban argued that his client wasn’t a candidate for prison. He got a $5,500 fine and three months in jail — a sentence the attorney is appealing.
July 5, 2005