Attorney Profile: Donald Etra
Donald Etra (born July 23, 1947) is an American Criminal Defense attorney well known for his successful defense for persons charged or under investigation for State or Federal crimes.
Etra was born in New York, New York, where he attended the Horace Mann School in Riverdale, New York. Etra then went on to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, where he graduated with his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in 1968. He received his Master of Business Administration (MBA) and his Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Columbia University in 1971. Etra was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1971 and in 1978 was admitted to the District of Columbia and California State Bars. Currently, Etra is a partner at the Law Offices of Donald Etra, a firm he founded in 1995. Etra is the head of the firm. Etra handles Criminal Defense and Federal Criminal Law. His practice includes criminal law, drug crimes, driving under the influence (DUI), felonies, sex crimes, juvenile crimes, misdemeanours, parole and probation, state and federal criminal defence, theft, traffic violations, and white-collar crime. Etra resides in Los Angeles with his wife and four children.
Etra began his work as an associate of Ralph Nader from 1971-1973. In his time served under Nader, Etra co-authored "Citibank, The Nader Report on First National City Bank." From 1973-1977 Etra served as a Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. In 1978 Etra moved to California where he served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California until 1981, prosecuting federal crimes on behalf of the United States and its agencies. In 1983, Etra became a Partner at the Chicago based law firm Sidley & Austin. Currently, Etra is a partner and head at his law firm, the Law Offices of Donald Etra.
In 1999, Etra represented "The Nanny" star Fran Drescher as well as co-defendants in a lawsuit that dismissed from a lawsuit brought by a stuntwoman who claimed she was injured during filming of "Beautician and the Beast."
Etra represent famed rapper Snoop Dogg twice in 2007 for suspicion of transporting marijuana and for the discovery of a collapsible baton in his bag at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California. Local Authorities claimed the baton was a dangerous weapon. Etra successfully had the Rapper’s charges reduced from felonies to misdemeanors.
In 2007, Etra counselled the Spinka Chasidic Rabbi after he was accused of a grand tax fraud scheme.
In 2009, Etra served as legal counsel for singer Rihanna in the criminal case after boyfriend Chris Brown beat her.
Etra has served on the board of directors of the Jewish Community Relations Council and was the Vice Chair of the United Jewish Fund, both in Los Angeles, California. Etra also served as chairman of the board of the Young Israel of Century City from 2000 to 2002. In 2003, President George W. Bush appointed Etra to the board of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. In 2005 Etra was appointed to the Executive Committee of the Museum and became the Chair of the Governance Committee. President Bush reappointed Etra in 2008. In addition, he is an active member of the Yale alumni association.