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23/01/2010 00:00:00
Femme fatale? ... Nyasha Muchegwa

A US lawyer based in Omaha, Nebraska has seen his professional and personal lives collapse all around him after allegedly being involved with a Zimbabwean woman who advertises herself as an escort on the internet.

The lawyer, Terry Haddock (52) has since gone into hiding after agreeing to wear recording equipment to help federal law enforcement agents indict one of his clients- the suspected ring-leader in a complex drugs conspiracy.

Police say Haddock attracted their attention after becoming enamoured of 23 year-old Nyasha Muchegwa, a former nursing assistant who advertises herself as an escort on websites for strip joints.

It turned out Muchegwa was also involved with a member of the drug ring whose leader the lawyer was representing.

The drug lord who is now in jail awaiting trial says he is convinced that Haddock turned against him in a bid to curry favour with Muchegwa.

"He went undercover to get her out of trouble. I wish I had an attorney like that," the drug dealer said.

But Muchegwa denies any personal involvement with the lawyer.

She told officers she first met Haddock at a Nebraska furniture mart when he asked her where she was from after noticing her accent.

The two then struck-up a friendship, she claimed.

Overtime, Haddock is said to have provided great help to Nyasha’s family on immigration matters and to her on a driving under the influence (DUI) charge and a couple of other misdemeanours.

Nyasha however, insists that she didn't have an affair with him that – “there was nothing sensual, nothing ungodly" about their relationship adding she views him as "family, like a brother or cousin.”

However police say her latest account of their relationship differs from a deposition sworn in November 2008 when she stated that he had been more than “just a friend” prior to becoming her lawyer.

Whatever the nature of their relationship police say Haddock was deeply involved in Muchegwa's world, and any time Muchegwa was in trouble, the attorney wasn't far behind.

In May 2008, she was pulled over for not having a front license plate on her car. Officers ticketed her for that and for driving under suspension. They then arrested her on a misdemeanour warrant.

But before they could book her into jail, Haddock was at her side and offered to have her talk to investigators about another crime.


Then came October 5 2008 when Illinois state troopers pulled over a truck for speeding only to discover 329 pounds of marijuana inside.

With the driver's cooperation, agents followed the truck to Omaha to try to round up others involved.

Soon, the Omaha Attorneys’ office filed a marijuana conspiracy charge against one Richard Conway, two other men and one woman: Nyasha Muchegwa.

Within a day however, Haddock rode to Muchegwa's rescue; albeit reluctantly.

Haddock is said to have told Muchegwa he wouldn't represent her unless she paid him. She told him where to find cash in her northwest Omaha apartment.

But, while searching for the money, Omaha police reports say, Haddock found a gun under Muchegwa's bed and a small baggie of marijuana.

Soon after, he turned over the gun to police and took Muchegwa to the U.S. Attorney's Office to tell her story.

Muchegwa told prosecutors that she had just begun dating Conway and that she didn't know anything about the drugs conspiracy or what was going on the night of the arrest.

Federal prosecutors later dismissed charges against her.

But as it later turned out, that traffic stop in Illinois- and the resulting cooperation of Conway- helped launch the investigation into Shannon Williams, the group’s ring leader and 10 others.

And it brought Haddock into the case to briefly represent both Muchegwa and Conway.

After charges were filed, investigators say, Williams paid Haddock US$8,000 to represent Conway.

It was in the course of those discussions that Williams, who was acquitted of a 1993 murder, started talking about eliminating witnesses forcing Haddock to decide to work with federal officials.

Police say it was Haddock's constant presence around Muchegwa which gave investigators access to an attorney who was diligent but increasingly desperate.

Haddock's wife had filed for divorce in July 2008. About the same time, Haddock essentially stopped meeting with clients or going to court.

"I withdrew from everything and everyone," Haddock wrote in his affidavit.

However, Muchegwa dismisses as ludicrous claims by the drug baron that the lawyer turned against him in a bid to please her.

"There was no reason for him to do it for me- my case was already dropped," she said adding, "I have no idea why he did what he did. Only God knows."

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