Sunday, June 23, 2024

North Carolina attorney accused in lawsuit of having “inappropriate drugs use and sex-relationship” with co-defendant


A North Carolina man filed a lawsuit against his attorney, claiming that the attorney was having an “inappropriate drug use and sex relationship” with his co-defendant.

On July 19, 2021, while an inmate at Granville County Detention Center in Oxford, North Carolina, Robert Wilkins filed a civil rights violation lawsuit against Attorney Samuel Stuart Popkin of the Popkin Law Firm in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

Attorney Samuel Stuart Popkin

In the lawsuit obtained by The North Carolina Beat, Wilkins alleged that Popkin committed “legal malpractice.” He told the courts he was filing his action against Popkin because of negligence and a conflict of interest. Wilkins also alleged in the lawsuit that Popkin stood him up at a meeting with Jacksonville Police Department investigators.

According to the complaint, Wilkins said on July 18, 2018, Popkin advised him to speak with arresting detectives of the Jacksonville Police Department, Detectives Doyle & Taylor. Wilkins said Popkins told him the meeting would “be in his best interest” and “clear his name.” He stated in his complaint that Popkin told him he would be present at the meeting.

Wilkins said he told Popkin that he did not want to speak to investigators without his presence. Wilkins stated that Popkin told him again that he would attend the meeting. On July 20, 2022, Wilkins said detectives came to the Onslow County Jail and transported him to Jacksonville Police headquarters to discuss their investigation, according to the complaint.

Wilkins said in his complaint that he asked Detective Taylor if Popkin was at the station, to which Wilkins said Detective Taylor told him, “Not yet. He should be coming tho.” According to the complaint, Wilkins told Detective Taylor that he was uncomfortable proceeding without Popkin being present. Wilkins alleged that the two detectives coerced him and made promises that made him give in.

If my attorney Stuart Popkins would of been there to protect my rights and me, kept his word…I wouldn’t be facing all this time/years I’m facing, Wilkins said in his complaint. I wouldn’t have incriminated myself due to coercion and trickery by detectives.

In his conflict of interest claim, Wilkins alleged in the lawsuit that Popkin and his co-defendant Sonya Curbelo, who introduced him to Popkin, were allegedly getting high on “cocaine & crack.” According to the complaint, Wilkins recalled a time he was present when Popkin and Curbello allegedly got high at his law office located at 1007 Hargett St.

According to the complaint, Wilkins also alleged that Popkin and Curbelo were allegedly “having an inappropriate drug use and sex for payment relationship.” In the complaint, Wilkins alleged that Popkin “paid Sonya Curbelo to have sex with him by buying her crack, cocaine, and heroin in exchange for sex.” Wilkins also alleged in his lawsuit that Curbelo told him on recorded jail phone calls that she and Popkin would stay up all night on the phone talking and discussing his case.

Robert Wilkins alleging in his complaint about Popkin and Curbelo alleged illegal activities.

According to the complaint, Wilkins said he paid Popkin $1,200 cash when he was arrested for this drug case as a downpayment. Wilkins said in January 2019, his family paid Popkin $1,000 for a bond hearing, where “he wouldn’t even speak and positively and effectively represent me.” Wilkins said because of Popkin’s “ineffectiveness,” he and his family continue to suffer.

Furthermore, Wilkins alleged in his lawsuit that Curbelo told him that Popkin was allegedly giving her information about his case. He said Popkin continued to violate his attorney-client privilege right by allegedly providing information to Curbelo about his case.

On January 28, 2022, Federal Judge Louise W. Flanagan dismissed Wilkins’s lawsuit on the basis that in order “to state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law.”

She also stated in her order that “whether privately retained, appointed by the state, or employed as public defenders, defense attorneys do not act under color of state law and are not amenable to suit under § 1983.”

Because Popkin is not an employee of the state, Wilkins couldn’t bring this action while incarcerated. However, he could refile the suit and file a complaint with North Carolina State Bar.

Wilkins’s original complaint was filed in July 2021, but his amended complaint, filed in August 2021, is below.

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Attorney Popkin has a history of being dishonest. According to North Carolina’s Lawyer Weekly Publication, in 2017, he was reprimanded after being appointed to represent a client in a termination of parental rights case. The client said they attempted to reach Popkin for information about the case, and Popkin failed to return their calls. Popkin responded back to the client’s concerns a month later.

Because of Popkin’s prior discipline for similar conduct at this time was a factor in the Grievance Committee’s decision to issue a reprimand. In the past, Popkin was suspended for practicing law for one year, which was stayed in 1991. He was censured during that time for failing to act with reasonable diligence in representing a client.

In 1992, he was censured and suspended from practicing law for three years, in which a year was served actively. In 1996, he was censured for failing to act reasonably to represent a client again. He was reprimanded in 2006 and in 2017.

If you have a story you think the public should know about, send it to [email protected].

Follow me, Gerald, on Instagram @iiamgj and Facebook @TheOfficialGeraldJackson



  1. You know whats crazy is i believe him i also had mister popkins althought im the one that put myself in situations to need his services. Lets just say i ended up in jail twice because he didnt show up to court dates that he told me i didnt have to attent. Alont with never answering calls or texts. I went 2 yrs without hearing a word from him but oh yeah he was surely ready to call when it came too money. Regardless of your mistakes you pay a person to do there job a good chunk of change at that and they dont do what they claim. Like he just doesnt give an f****k about his clients unless there women…..

  2. RIGHT from the beginning of this STORY, and thats what IT is, it’s OBVIOUS how angry you are!!! HELLLO?! BECAUSE YOU CHOSE TO TALK!!!! HELLLO?! ARE YOU 2?! STOP MAKING UP LIES because you fukd up!!! SINCE YOUR UNAWARE… NOW IS when you should also shut the fuk up!!!! HELLLO?! STOP these lies! MANY years over 30, MANY I am aware of ,never heard such bullshit EVER about Mr Popkins. He does not act inappropriate as to such yall are saying! It’s pathetic and ridiculous!! You think because the media posts his screw ups busz u can also lie about him?! Well we the people know you are full of shit, pist, a coward 2not take it 4what is was, blame, lie, 2try an innocent man!! Karma is a b***h!! And your already a screw up! Best yall stop recant & repeant!!! It’s the right thing to do


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Gerald Jackson
Gerald Jackson
Hi, my name is Gerald Jackson and I am 28-years-old. I was born and raised in Troy, Alabama. I currently reside in North Carolina. I am a Journalist, Influencer, Content Creator, and a Man of Faith! I don't shy away from the truth, always speak my mind, and before I take anything back, I'll add more to it. Follow me on my social media below to keep up with my personal life. LOL!

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