Embattled criminal-defense lawyer Randy Ray Richardson received great news last week-a settlement with the Oregon State Bar that would let him keep his law license. But WW has learned that Richardson may now face new criminal charges.

Richardson is the 35-year-old former star Multnomah County prosecutor whose ex-boss, District Attorney Mike Schrunk, charged him with bribing witnesses while a defense lawyer in 2003.

In May, a county jury acquitted Richardson. And the bar, which pressed ethics charges, agreed last week to a six-month suspension-to the dismay of those who saw it as a slap on the wrist.

""I think he's learned a lot from all of this," Richardson's attorney, Larry Matasar, told WW. "He'll be a better person and a better lawyer when he starts practicing again."

But those hopes may be on hold. Details are hazy, but police are investigating an allegation that Richardson punched his girlfriend in the face while in a Portland parking garage, causing her to fall to the ground, apparently dazed or unconscious as Richardson drove away.

Matasar declined to comment.

If true, the allegation does not necessarily mean Richardson will be charged or convicted. But even if he is not, it would seem to violate state-bar ethics rules.

If the state bar investigates and prosecutes, it could mean a stiffer penalty-more like what his critics sought in the first place.