Former MPAA general counsel disbarred in New York following sexual abuse arrest

Steven Fabrizio, the former senior executive vice president and global general counsel for the Motion Picture Assn. of America, has been disbarred in New York, according to a database maintained by the state’s unified court system.

Fabrizio, once a high-powered figure in the MPAA, was fired from the Hollywood studio lobbying organization in the summer of 2019 following his arrest on charges of blackmail and sexual abuse.

A woman he encountered through an online “sugar daddy” dating service told Washington, D.C. police that, after the two initially had consensual sex, Fabrizio threatened to tell her employer and landlord that she was engaged in sex work unless she continued to have sex with him.

“I know where you live,” Fabrizio texted the woman, according to a police report from the time. “I know where you work. … Once more tomorrow morning. … I’ll never bother you again.”

MPAA Chairman and Chief Executive Charles Rivkin subsequently announced that Fabrizio had been fired for violating the terms of his employment.

Now, the New York State Unified Court System’s online attorney search lists Fabrizio as disbarred, effective Thursday, Sept. 14, by order of the state Supreme Court’s appellate division with jurisdiction over Bronx and New York counties.

A state Supreme Court document included in Fabrizio’s file cites a July 2021 guilty plea in the District of Columbia Superior Court to “two felony offenses, one count of third degree Sexual Abuse and one count of Blackmail” in connection with the woman’s claims, and states that he admitted to having tried to blackmail her into having sex “once or twice a month.”

The document adds that Fabrizio was ultimately sentenced to two years in jail (about half of which was suspended); three years of supervised release (also suspended); three years of supervised probation; and registration as a sex offender. He was released from prison last December, per the document.

Fabrizio has already been disbarred, the document adds, by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals as well as the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

The New York state court system says disbarment of an attorney happens “due to unethical conduct or the failure to comply with rules governing New York state attorneys.” The state Supreme Court document indicates that Fabrizio’s felony conviction in D.C. constitutes a felony in New York and thus warrants automatic disbarment.

Fabrizio’s entry in the state’s unified court system database indicates that he studied law at Georgetown University and was admitted to the state bar in June 1989. At the MPAA, he was involved with the lobbying group’s anti-piracy efforts.

Law360 first reported on Fabrizio’s disbarment. The Times was not immediately able to reach him or his legal representatives for comment.

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