Possible court contempt for Ohio State case lawyer

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The Ohio Supreme Court on Thursday threatened to find in contempt of court the attorney whose emails triggered an NCAA investigation that cost former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel his job.

At issue is the alleged failure of Columbus attorney Christopher Cicero to file paperwork as part of his one-year law license suspension.

Cicero had a month to file the paperwork, including evidence of notifying current clients, following last year's Supreme Court ruling that said he violated professional rules of conduct that prohibit revealing information from meetings with a client or a prospective client.

Cicero's attorney John Gonzales said he believes the court's order involves a technical filing oversight on Cicero's part that will be corrected.

Based on conversations with a prospective client, Cicero sent emails to Tressel in April 2010, warning him that players were selling memorabilia or trading them for tattoos.

The email traffic sparked a scandal that ended Tressel's Ohio State tenure the following month. NCAA rules -- and his contract -- specified that he must disclose any and all information about possible student-athlete conduct violations.

An NCAA investigation also led to a bowl ban last year, reductions in scholarships and the loss of Ohio State's $389,000 share of the Big Ten bowl pot in 2011. The entire 2010 season also was vacated.

Gonzales said Cicero apparently didn't provide a standard notice on the documents that he'd notified other attorneys in the case.

Cicero can't begin the process of reinstating his law license until the paperwork is filed. He has 20 days to correct the error.

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Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.