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Defend Detainees, Suffer Consequences?

As reported in this Washington Post editorial (LvHB), a high-ranking administration official recently suggested that major law firms may have to choose between allowing their attorneys to do pro bono work for Guantanamo detainees and retaining high-profile corporate clients. No joke. In a radio interview, deputy assistant secretary of defense of detainee affairs Cully Stimson noted that a "major news organization" submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to learn the identities and law firms of attorneys representing detainees. He continued:

I think, quite honestly, when corporate CEOs see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those CEOs are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms, and I think that is going to have major play in the next few weeks. And we want to watch that play out. (Emphasis added.)
After this suggestion that such pressure should be encouraged (Query: Is this official administration policy?), the Post reports Stimson intimated some firms could be receiving payment for their work on behalf of detainees from nefarious sources.
Asked who was paying the firms, Mr. Stimson hinted of dark doings. "It's not clear, is it?" he said. "Some will maintain that they are doing it out of the goodness of their heart, that they're doing it pro bono, and I suspect they are; others are receiving monies from who knows where, and I'd be curious to have them explain that." (Emphasis added.)
Mr. Stimson may well have been shooting from the hip, rather than expressing official policy. Either way, the administration should disavow his statements.

It is wrong to attack law firms because their attorneys do pro bono work on behalf of unsavory defendants. All individuals, even suspected terrorists, are entitled to a capable legal defense when subjected to judicial process, and it is wrong to impugn attorneys on the basis of the clients they represent.

I would think this administration could appreciate this principle. When left-leaning activist groups attacked administration judicial or executive nominees on the grounds some had worked for unsavory clients, the administration correctly responded that it is wrong to attribute a client's position to his or her attorney, and that nominees should be judged upon their professional qualifications, rather than the political appeal or moral caliber of their former client base. As Lee Casey and David Rivkin explained a few years back in Policy Review:

Whether based on the belief that lawyers were above, or below, the fray, and if sometimes honored in the breach rather than in the observance, our society has permitted lawyers to ply their trade without ultimately being blamed or punished for the clients they have represented. This "immunity" is, in fact, essential to the operation of a neutral legal system, which assumes that there are two sides to any question, presupposes that all parties ought to receive a fair hearing of their case, and depends upon lawyers to articulate the relevant legal principles so that disinterested judges and juries can fairly resolve the issues presented.
Folks seem to understand this at the Justice Department and the White House Counsel's office, but I guess Stimson didn't get the memo.

If all the detainees are as guilty as some claim, the administration should have nothing to fear if all detainees receive a vigorous legal defense. Instead, an administration official is suggesting law firms should be punished if their attorneys help detainees. What purpose could this serve, other than to discourage capable and zealous representation for detainees? Back to the Post:

it's offensive — shocking, to use his word — that Mr. Stimson, a lawyer, would argue that law firms are doing anything other than upholding the highest ethical traditions of the bar by taking on the most unpopular of defendants. It's shocking that he would seemingly encourage the firms' corporate clients to pressure them to drop this work. And it's shocking — though perhaps not surprising — that this is the person the administration has chosen to oversee detainee policy at Guantanamo.

UPDATE: Paul Horwitz comments on PrawfsBlawg (also posted at Dorf on Law)

One believes that people are entitled to legal counsel or one does not; one believes that lawyers are entitled to provide that counsel without the taint of association or one does not. I would have thought that Mr. Stimson, a lawyer, was fully familiar with Rule 1.2(b) of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and similar state provisions, and would side with the former views. I see now that I would have been mistaken in thinking so.

s:
I agree with Stimson. These people do not deserve representation. They are enemy combatants.
1.12.2007 11:16am
anomdebus:
My first impression was that it is schadenfreude, or at least fascination with a presumed impending train wreck.
1.12.2007 11:20am
anomdebus:
My first impression was that it is schadenfreude, or at least fascination with a presumed impending train wreck.
1.12.2007 11:20am
AntonK (mail):
Perhaps I'm missing something here?

Were, for example, all German soldiers detained during the First and Second World Wars provided with "vigorous representation"? North Korean soldiers? Viet-Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers? Are American soldiers taken on the battlefield provided with "vigorous defenses" by the countries taking them, even when those countries adhere to Geneva?
1.12.2007 11:21am
Houston Lawyer:
I think there is much smoke here with very little fire. It would take quite a bit of effort on someone's part to manage to fire some white shoe law firm based upon who some random lawyer at that firm represents on his personal time. This push certainly wouldn't emanate from the legal departments from large corporations who seem to think that the color of the skin of their outside attorneys is their most important attribute.

On the other hand, how do you handle conflicts checks against someone accused of attempting to kill the personnel of your other clients?
1.12.2007 11:24am
Gump:
Analogizing the situation to previous wars and then just throwing up your hands isn't a good enough answer. If these people are going to be tried under our system (unlike soldiers in wartime) then they should be represented. If they aren't, there should certainly be someone looking out for them, at least for the sake of working out the kinks in the system, because it's clear that the government is taking the position that it's not their place to represent the interests of either the prisoners or the justice system.
1.12.2007 11:26am
Katherine (mail):
Some of them really aren't:

Abdul Rahim Al Ginco thought he was saved when the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and overthrew the Taliban regime.

Mr. Ginco, a college student living in the United Arab Emirates, had gone to Afghanistan in 2000 after running away from his strict Muslim father. He was soon imprisoned by the Taliban, and tortured by operatives of Al Qaeda until, he said, he falsely confessed to being a spy for Israel and the United States.

But rather than help Mr. Ginco return home, American soldiers detained him again. Nearly five years later, he remains in the United States military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — in part, it appears, on the strength of a propaganda videotape made by his torturers.


I have researched Ginco's case extensively--it has been corroborated in a dozen ways. His attorneys have proved his innocence to a moral certainty. There is another prisoner, an Iraqi named Arkan al Karim, who was arrested with Ginco in 2000, tortured and imprisoned at same Taliban jail--he is also still at Guantanamo.

See also these two, links.

There are many many other examples; those are just the ones where I could find the link off the top of my head.
1.12.2007 11:27am
Gump:
Houston Lawyer

Heh, good point about the conflict checks.
1.12.2007 11:29am
Katherine (mail):
sorry, that was in response to the statement that "they are enemy combatants".

The proof should not be necessary, of course: "you don't need a lawyer or a chance to prove that you're not an enemy combatant because you're an enemy combatant" is a very stupid, completely circular argument. Nevertheless, people have believed it for 5 years.
1.12.2007 11:29am
Seamus (mail):

Were, for example, all German soldiers detained during the First and Second World Wars provided with "vigorous representation"?



The German saboteurs in Ex parte Quirin certainly were, as were General Yamashita and the defendants at Nuremberg and Tokyo.
1.12.2007 11:29am
Seamus (mail):
Does anyone know whether Cully Stimson is related to Secretary of War (and name partner at Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam &Roberts) Henry L. Stimson?
1.12.2007 11:36am
AntonK (mail):
Katherine says


Some of them really aren't:
Abdul Rahim Al Ginco thought he was saved when the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and overthrew the Taliban regime


Amazing! I didn't know that. I wonder what our governments interest is in holding this poor hapless fellow for 5 years? Must be just because they're all sadistic freaks. Or, perhaps, Ginco isn't what the NYTimes travel section makes him out to be?

Yes Katherine, I guess I'm must stupid, as you say. I mean, our governemnt must be holding people just for the idol, sadistic pleasure they get out of it, right?
1.12.2007 11:40am
Anderson (mail) (www):
I mean, our governemnt must be holding people just for the idol, sadistic pleasure they get out of it, right?

I see that you *think* that's a rhetorical question ...
1.12.2007 11:42am
AntonK (mail):
That would be "idle" in the post above. Though actually, the Guantanamo staff are my "idols" :)
1.12.2007 11:42am
Ugh (mail):

I mean, our governemnt must be holding people just for the idol, sadistic pleasure they get out of it, right?


Right. There can't be any other possible reason the gov't might want to continue to hold men that it has repeatedly described as "the worst of the worst" all of whom are "enemy combatants" when it finds out that some of the men it holds are not such thing. The Gov't never makes a mistake and never covers things up. This administration has especially been up front and forthcoming about all the mistakes it has made.

And all of the people the gov't has released from Gittmo in the past four years, some of whom were held for years there, why is the gov't letting terrorists go free?
1.12.2007 11:46am
AnotherGuest (mail):
Good riddance! It's about time these firms had their nefarious ties to foreign dictatorships and terrorist financiers exposed. In DC, there is widespread awareness of the worst examples - firms that effectively funnel money from foreign dictators into particular domestic elections. I strongly suspect these firms are similarly taking money from their tyrannical patrons to represent these terrorists. Lawfare is a reality of modern war.
1.12.2007 11:51am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Were, for example, all German soldiers detained during the First and Second World Wars provided with "vigorous representation"? North Korean soldiers? Viet-Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers?

Actually they were vigorously represented by the ICRC and protected by the Geneva Conventions. If they were accused of a crime while they were held they were entitled to a full military trial with the same rights and access to lawyers that a member of the U.S. military would get. They were able to communicate with their families and receive packages from home. They had commissary privileges and received the same food as their captors (in World War II, German prisoners often ate in the same mess as their [white] guards).
1.12.2007 11:53am
Steve:
I don't know what to say about the fact that so many commentators believe everyone in Guantanamo must be guilty of waging war against America. The complicity has a very Soviet feel.

Like Prof. Adler - no bleeding heart he! - I'm stunned by Stimson's statements, although it's pretty much par for the course for this administration to assert that the detainees at Gitmo are "the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001."

Defending unpopular people suspected of terrible crimes is in line with our proudest traditions, going back to John Adams' defense of the British soldiers accused in the Boston Massacre. Since we try so hard to spread the concept of the rule of law around the world, shouldn't we be looking to serve as an example?
1.12.2007 11:56am
AnotherGuest (mail):
Historically, hostes humani generis could be summarily executed. Seems we're being lenient. Comparisons to prior procedures for lawful enemy combatants are unwarranted.
1.12.2007 11:56am
j..:

Does anyone know whether Cully Stimson is related to Secretary of War (and name partner at Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam &Roberts) Henry L. Stimson?

If my Google skills are as good as your Wiki skills (which may be doubtful), Charles D. (Cully) Stimson taught at GMU as recently as '05, where he also graduated in '92. Perhaps one of the GMU profs know him.
1.12.2007 11:58am
Steve:
And all of the people the gov't has released from Gittmo in the past four years, some of whom were held for years there, why is the gov't letting terrorists go free?

You can't win with this argument, I've found. As it turns out, everyone at Gitmo is guilty, but even if we let some of them go free, why that just proves that we're making an effort to identify the innocent ones, thus we can safely assume that the remaining ones are all guilty!

It's similar to how, if someone gets released from death row after 20 years thanks to DNA evidence, that just proves how well the system works, and that we should have no fear of ever executing an innocent person.
1.12.2007 11:58am
Katherine (mail):
AntonK:

No. They, like you, are unwilling to look at the evidence and ccontemplate the possibility that they made a mistake.

The story is by a news reporter, Tim Golden, one of the best there is. It's not a travel story; it's just miscatalogued.

As I said, I researched this for months. Was going to write a story but got scooped by the dailies. His account is corroborated by:

--Ginco's detailed and consistent testimony at his Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) and Annual Review Board (ARB)
--news reports of Ginco's and al Karim's initial arrest in 2000 by the associated press
--a video of his coerced "confession" after weeks of torture by the Taliban and Al Qaeda, which aired on Abu Dhabi TV in 2000.
--a transcript/magazine report of that confession which was published in a short-lived Taliban periodical called "Islamic Emirate".
--multiple news reports from reporters who interviewed Ginco in late 2001/2002, after the Taliban prison where he was kept in Kandahar was "liberated" by the Northern Alliance. (Most of the prisoners were freed but Ginco and a small group of foreigners were detained as "guests" while the N. Alliance figured out to do with them--before they were taken into US custody and brought to Kandahar Air Base and Guantanamo)
--The testimony of Arkan al Karim at his and Ginco's CSRT and ARB
--The testimony of another prisoner called Abdul Hakim Bukhary, who was captured at the same Taliban prison (it's called Sarpoza/Sar-e-poza/Sarpoosa), at Ginco's and al Karim's CSRT. (Bukhary had at least intended to join the jihad at one point, though his later arrest and torture by the Taliban soured him on it.)
--A sworn affidavit from Jamal Harith, a British detainee taken to GTMO from the same Taliban prison and released in 2004.
--A sworn affidavit from Airat Vahitov, a Russian detainee taken to GTMO from the same Taliban prison and released in 2004.
--Documents in the habeas case of Saddiq Turkistani, a Saudi detainee of Uighur descent who was taken to GTMO from the same Taliban prison and released in 2006. Turkistani had been in Taliban &Al Qaeda custody, by the way, since 1998. In December of 1998 Osama Bin Laden personally accused him of trying to assassinate him. I'm not kidding; click the link.

You don't know about this because the documents weren't pieced together and declassified until October of last year, and because the Times and the Post chose to bury it in the back of their Friday and Saturday editions.

I have the documents on my hard drive but the files are enormous. You can look them up on PACER if you like. You could also try google searches though you should be aware that the prisoners' names are often transliterated differently.

You know about it now--though you will still probably choose not to believe it--because the guy has a lawyer.
1.12.2007 12:00pm
marghlar:
Good riddance! It's about time these firms had their nefarious ties to foreign dictatorships and terrorist financiers exposed. In DC, there is widespread awareness of the worst examples - firms that effectively funnel money from foreign dictators into particular domestic elections. I strongly suspect these firms are similarly taking money from their tyrannical patrons to represent these terrorists. Lawfare is a reality of modern war.

Citation please. Or else just actually name who you are speaking about, so that we have some indication that you are not just talking out of your ass. Otherwise, this quote sounds very much like something you cannot support, and like something you have worded carefully so that you cannot be sued for defamation.

But I guess it's easier to throw around nonsense cited to what "everyone knows" than to actually substantiate a claim.
1.12.2007 12:05pm
A.S.:
Good for Stimson.

When the left stops attacking lawyers for defending corporations for doing allegedly bad things, I'll stop attacking lawyers for defending terrorists.

What goes around, comes around.
1.12.2007 12:10pm
Jeremy T:
Prof. Adler,

You overlook one thing. A client can fire a lawyer for any reason or for no reason. If a client is unhappy that his lawyer is representing unsavory defendants, the client is free to fire the lawyer. Mr. Stimson is suggesting that should happen, and he has every right to do so. And I agree with him, in large measure.
1.12.2007 12:11pm
milowent (mail) (www):
didn't i read something just like this in 1965?


"I think, quite honestly, when corporate CEOs see that those firms are representing the very blacks who hit their bottom line through civil rights demonstrations, those CEOs are going to make those law firms choose between representing blacks or representing reputable firms, and I think that is going to have major play in the next few weeks. And we want to watch that play out."

and please don't tell me "its different". there were those who wouldn't have thought so back then.
1.12.2007 12:12pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Historically, hostes humani generis could be summarily executed.

And your point is? Current laws strictly prohibit this and have for many years (contrary to all your misreading of Geneva or ignorance of U.S. military law). It is against U.S. and international law to summarily execute anyone, regardless of their status.
1.12.2007 12:20pm
Steve:
When the left stops attacking lawyers for defending corporations for doing allegedly bad things, I'll stop attacking lawyers for defending terrorists.

Yeah, right, this happens all the time. Why, Daily Kos is just overflowing with anti-Skadden Arps diaries. God, talk about a made-up justification.
1.12.2007 12:24pm
Elliot Reed:
I will never cease to be amazed by how conservatives' traditional distrust of government evaporates when the government wants the power to imprison people without charges or trial on the basis of the President's say-so. At that task, apparently, government workers never make any mistakes and never abuse their authority.
1.12.2007 12:26pm
s:
What happens in Gitmo stays in Gitmo.
1.12.2007 12:28pm
Templeton:
Having worked in one of the nation's largest in-house legal departments, I can tell you that most companies are quite willing to drop firm representation for many reasons. However, typically, the loss of access to outside expertise, especially if the company/firm relationship is long-standing, would make Stimson's recommendations unlikely to be followed in most cases.

The relevant point about the original post seems to be, however, is Stimson's viewpoint a reflection of official adminstration policy? And if so, is appropriate? Law firms are free to pursue representation of any client in a manner that is consistent with the law and their ethical obligations. Corporations are free to hire and fire counsel at their pleasure. And the press is free to report on who represents who in these matters. But it would make me extremely uncomfortable to know that White House policy is to discourage and, in fact, punish attorneys for their lawful activities, indeed activities that many legal minds would consider a imperative of the profession.
1.12.2007 12:39pm
Just John:
Er, if a lawyer actually is being paid by a terrorist organization or supporter, wouldn't it be in the government's best interest (and, well, mine) to keep an eye on those terrorists doing the paying, even if the lawyer is simply doing his job and not doing anything related to terrorism? Also, there was the case of Lynne Stewart, who was so willing to defend her client that she ended up assisting him in communicating with other terrorists; wouldn't it be in the government's best interest (and, well, mine) to double-check things like that?
1.12.2007 12:41pm
Kovarsky (mail):
are people capable of separating the issue of whether these people "deserve" reputation from the question of whether it is appropriate for the administration to subtly advocate reprisals against those that provide it?
1.12.2007 12:42pm
Derrick (mail):
I guess if you judge people by the company that they keep, Stimson isn't looking to good based on the supporters of his policy on this thread. The justifications for preventing good lawyers from helping accused combatants used including, revenge for the left's crusade against law firms, the fact that everyone at Gitmo must be guilty and that DC law firms are money-laundering terrorist organizations don't provide much of a defense to his efforts.
1.12.2007 12:46pm
Templeton:
Just John:

It seems that under current law, if the money of a "terrorists organization or supporter" were being funneled to support the defense of Gitmo detainees, the government has sufficient tools at its disposal to investigate and, if laws--criminal or otherwise--were broken, to prosecute. But isn't Stimson's intention reasonably clear? It seems to me that he means to suggest "dark doings" without evidence, which seems close to a smear to me.
1.12.2007 12:49pm
pmorem (mail):
It's not the Gitmo clients that Stimson is objecting to: "Some will maintain that they are doing it out of the goodness of their heart, that they're doing it pro bono, and I suspect they are; ..."
It's that some of them are taking money from certain sources. I believe that Stimson knows who is paying, that is the embarassment. I believe it's not just the law firms that face embarassment, but the paying parties as well.
1.12.2007 12:50pm
Anon Y. Mous:
Would it be proper for a company to decide that it doesn't want to be represented by Lynne Stewart? How about if they made their decision before she was charged (and convicted) for her behavior with "the blind sheik"? Does the calculus change if she had been working pro bono? What about someone would rather not be represented by John Gotti's lawyer? How about the Green River serial killer's lawyer?

It is entirely appropriate for anyone to base their decision on who their representative will be on who else that person chooses to represent. I don't see how that basic right is affected one way or another by whether they were paid or went pro bono.
1.12.2007 12:54pm
Bpbatista (mail):
I disagree -- it is fair to impugn lawyers based upon whom they represent. Yes, everyone is entitled to a legal defense, but they are not entitled to it from me, or any particular lawyer. If you voluntarily choose to represent odious clients, do not be surprised that the public finds you odious as well. In short, if you lay down with dogs, don't be surprised when get up with fleas.
1.12.2007 1:13pm
j..:
So who is doing this work?

Covington &Burling, Mayer Brown, Bingham McCutchen, Shearman &Sterling, Manatt Phelps, Allen &Overy, Dorsey &Whitney, Hunton &Williams, Paul Weiss, Wilmer Hale, Clifford Chance... and this is just from 2-3 minutes of googling.

As a side note, and a bit of a rambling thought, this is all public - I'm not entirely sure I know what the FOIA request would be for, though I suppose the firms that haven't filed Habeas petitions may not have a public record yet.

Most of these firms are good enough at what they do that a Fortune 500 company will think more than twice before getting rid of them over a Gitmo representation. Though, I suppose there is enough competition that this could be a factor. I've got to think it pretty low in priority, though.
1.12.2007 1:15pm
JB:
If these people are being tried in courts of law, their lawyers can't be blamed for defending them. If they're so bad that any lawyer who defends them is guilty of...whatever they're being accused of in the original post...then they shouldn't be tried at all.

But you can't have it both ways, trying them and then intimidating lawyers.
1.12.2007 1:15pm
FC:

Mr. Ginco, a college student living in the United Arab Emirates, had gone to Afghanistan in 2000 after running away from his strict Muslim father.


I find that hard to believe. It would be like going to North Korea after running away from your strict Marxist father in Cuba.
1.12.2007 1:24pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
But you can't have it both ways, trying them and then intimidating lawyers.

That's exactly what this administration wants. Look at the treatment of Jose Padilla.
1.12.2007 1:25pm
Katherine (mail):
"I find that hard to believe. It would be like going to North Korea after running away from your strict Marxist father in Cuba."

It wasn't bright. The whole story is a bit surreal--just astonishing bad luck--but it is EXTENSIVELY corroborated, particularly the "tortured by the Taliban and Al Qaeda &captured in a Taliban been prison where he had been held since 2000" part. His father was, if you read the CSRT and ARB (do a google search on "Abdul Rahim Janko"--you'll find a wiki page with links) apparently abusive as well as "strict" but for various reasons I think Ginco's lawyers choose not to emphasize that. He borrowed money from friends, his brothers told his father, his father considered that shameful &he panicked--he tried to get out of the United Arab Emirates to Syria, Turkey, or the West, but his father had his passport. Whereas Afghanistan would take any Arab in.

This is corroborated by sworn affidavits that his lawyers obtained from 4 fanily members. They don't just say "he's innocent"; they give details.

Obviously, an idiotic thing to do....I should also probably mention the guy has had some severe mental health problems--whether they predate the various traumas of his imprisonment I don't know but they clearly got much much worse. The 2001 interviews with reporters reflect that, as do the affidavits from other prisoners. In the CSRT he says that he used to try to cut &hurt himself--and is generally distraught throughout. In the ARB he's doing better but says he wants to stay at the psych ward because some of the other detainees still think he's a spy &threaten him.

So his fears of his father may be exaggerated. Unfortunately, I don't think there is any reason at all to believe that his reports of torture by the Taliban and Al Qaeda are exaggerated. Maybe one of you wants to argue me now that Muhammed Atef and Sayf Adel would never be so sadistic, and conditions at the Taliban prison probably weren't all that bad?

I don't have time to keep doing this....I think I have established that I know, oh, 1000x as much about this case as the posters here raising the objections--who don't seem to have even necessarily read the original Times story I linked to. Based on what I know, I will say: to a moral certainty, Ginco is innocent.

And while his case is not typical, it demonstrates what a complete and utter joke the CSRT hearings were. If they could find this guy to be an "enemy combatant...."
1.12.2007 1:41pm
Centrist:
Given that innocent people have been detained at the borders of Germany and Canada and "rendered" to others who tortured them, how can one be convinced that ALL of the people at Gitmo who were swept up in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, where it must be incrementally more difficult to make positive identifications, are so odious? Are we relying on the same intelligence sources that told us Iraq had WMD? No doubt a majority of the people being held there are enemy combatants, but I would be astounded if there are no people who were swept up in error.
Moreover, while corporations and others should have the right to fire or not hire firms that represent people they find odious, it seems slightly problematic for one side (particularly the government) in an adversarial proceeding to threaten financial punishment for anyone who provides counsel to its adversary. It's almost as if he is implying that the government will take retributive actions (contract awards, etc.) against any company that doesn't heed the warning.
1.12.2007 1:43pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Reed: I will never cease to be amazed by how conservatives' traditional distrust of government evaporates when the government wants the power to imprison people without charges or trial on the basis of the President's say-so.

Exactly. Anton K. et al. want us to think it's just ridiculous that the feds could be acting in bad faith. Yet switch to an eminent domain or 2d Amendment thread at this blog, &apparently that's *all* the feds ever do.

Credit due to Profs. Adler &Kerr, who would appear to be conservatives, as opposed to authority-worshippers.
1.12.2007 1:57pm
wooga:

and please don't tell me "its different". there were those who wouldn't have thought so back then.

?!?! "black" is a racial classification. "terrorist" is a classification based on behavior. You're comparing apples and hand grenades.

Seems to me that the real racists are those who -- upon hearing the word 'terrorist' -- automatically leap to a racial classification, and decry any anti-terrorist statement as anti-arab racism. You need to realize that terrorists (here, of the Islamic bent) happen to come in all colors, and that arabs are - globally - actually only a minority of these terrorists.

So although the notion (of professional reprisals for firms representing accused terrorist) may be noxious, it is not on par with anti-black racism, and such spittle filled comparisons are logically retarded and highly insulting on this, the MLK weekend.
1.12.2007 2:27pm
Bobbie (mail):
Should corporations also stop hiring firms that take death penalty cases? How about firms that do white collar work, since that likely directly affects other corporations more than some supposed terrorist.

How many big firms are not representing at least one gitmo prisoner? I honestly don't know of a single big firm here in San Francisco that isn't invovled in these cases in one way or another. Should corporations just shut down their west coast offices?
1.12.2007 2:41pm
A Hermit (mail):
What people like Stimson fail to understand is that it isn't just the defendant's rights which the defense attorneys are protecting. They are our rights; yours, mine and Mr. Stimson's, too.
1.12.2007 2:55pm
annej (mail) (www):
Could someone just shut down the comments? I's not as if one side is acutally listening to the other. Note that the fairly researched posts of Katherine got but one two-sentences reply.
1.12.2007 2:58pm
IMU (mail):

It is wrong to attack law firms because their attorneys do pro bono work on behalf of unsavory defendants.


It's also wrong to question the patriotism of people who disagree with your policy goals.


I would think this administration could appreciate this principle.

Why would you think that? When has the Bush administration ever forgone the opportunity to use dishonest rhetoric?

He should be forced to retract the statement, or at a minimum the administration should be forced to disavow it, but seriously don't act surprised. Now that lawyers are in the cross hairs you're all for principle eh? Please.

First they came for the muslims, but I did not object because I wasn't muslim...
1.12.2007 3:03pm
Adeez (mail):
"I will never cease to be amazed by how conservatives' traditional distrust of government evaporates when the government wants the power to imprison people without charges or trial on the basis of the President's say-so."

Bravo! But OK, the main issue is whether the govt. should be making such threats. It's sadly amazing that some of us here, presumably lawyers, think so.

I'm sorry, but if you can't read between the lines, then your head is in the sand. First, there is no question that many of those detainees have been unconscionably mistreated and that many are innocent. So, a law firm chooses to represent some of these detainees. In response THE GOVERNMENT threatens these firms for doing so. Why? Does anyone actually think the govt's motives are pure? THIS administration? If they're all guilty, then they're still entitled to representation. If not, even more so.

I believe this issue is a good litmus test to see who's a real, principled conservative or libertarian vs. who's an ignorant Rush-following ditto-head.
1.12.2007 3:06pm
wooga:

It's also wrong to question the patriotism of people who disagree with your policy goals.

Logical incorrect. Better would be: "It's also wrong to question the patriotism of people merely because they disagree with your policy goals. "

Osama Bin Laden disagrees with my policy goals. That does not mean I am barred from "questioning his patriotism." Moreover, I can attack someone's policy goals, even going so far as saying "your policy will lead to American defeat, is bad for America, and is in violation of American law and principles," and I still would not be questioning their patriotism - merely their judgment. Morons can be patriotic too.
1.12.2007 3:09pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
If an American citizen wishes to file a FOIA request to learn who is representing a detainee and/or who is paying for their defense, that’s their prerogative. If a client of that attorney or firm wishes to drop that attorney or firm for any reasons that’s their right. Whether someone from the administration is enjoying a little schaudenfreude (and after the way their judicial nominees have been attacked on the basis of who their clients were, it’s understandable) is hardly a “threat” to anyone’s rights.
1.12.2007 3:13pm
milo_went (mail) (www):
wooga: "logically retarded" — i shall treasure that. And nice play of the "real racists" card, pull off my pointy white hat right now!

" 'terrorist' is a classification based on behavior."

hmm. yes, i agree with your distinction — perhaps i should have used "civil rights demonstrators" as the classification in my example. Stimson's comments are even worse than my example, because just branding someone a terrorist means they deserve no defense in Stimson's view.
1.12.2007 3:15pm
JosephSlater (mail):
The obvious problem with the "schaudenfreude" argument is that Stimson was not reflecting on some past action by a corporate CEO, but rather was pretty clearly encouraging future (apparently unprecedented) acts by such CEOs.

Enough commentators have pointed out what's reprehensible about Stimson's comments so that I don't need to pile on, but I especially liked the way A Hermit put it.
1.12.2007 3:37pm
Shake-N-Bake (www):
So who is doing this work?

Covington &Burling, Mayer Brown, Bingham McCutchen, Shearman &Sterling, Manatt Phelps, Allen &Overy, Dorsey &Whitney, Hunton &Williams, Paul Weiss, Wilmer Hale, Clifford Chance... and this is just from 2-3 minutes of googling.


Ah yes, those terrorist loving bastards from Mayer Brown. Represented hundreds of 9/11 families pro bono for the 9/11 compensation fund, those terrorist sympathizers, them. And I'm sure Professor Volokh will be happy to learn that commenters on his namesake blog think the firm he works with is so evil for daring to represent clients that apparently are terrorists simply on the say-so of our omniscient, perfect government.

The people who accept whatever the government says on things like this aren't conservatives, they're authoritarian capitalists. Government gets to do whatever it wants as long as it isn't taking money or land away. A true conservative would never accept what the government says on blind faith like some of these commenters do so eagerly.
1.12.2007 3:39pm
Elliot123 (mail):
The lawyers are certainly free to represent whomever they choose. And I am free to hire whatever law firm I choose for whatever reason I choose. I am under no obligation to use a checklist of reasons provided by the legal profession or anyone else.

My experience is that a lot of partners in law and accounting firms try to use golf as a reason for a client to hire them. Sometimes I wonder if these guys are just golf pros with a briefcase. The standards aren't very high.
1.12.2007 3:43pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
So during WW2 did we check out each captured German soldier in order to figure out who was a willing soldier and who was impressed?

It is really tough for those folks in those cases. Perhaps Taliban controlled Afghanistan wasn't the wiset choice for a travel destination.

John Wayne said, life is tough, and it's tougher when you're stupid.
1.12.2007 3:45pm
Ray G (mail) (www):
Well, Stimson doesn't seem to be losing any sleep over the law firms losing lucrative clients, but it's a bit of stretch to say that he's encouraging anything.

It seems that the "major news organization" requesting the info is at the heart of matter, and that for such encouragement to be proven, one would have to show that Stimson and/or the administration was provoking news organizations to mine and use such info.

And more on the actual crux of the matter, if there's nothing wrong with representing a person, then there should be nothing wrong with being more openly associated with that person.

If there is something noble about representing the unsavory, then surely that noble spirit rests upon accepting such associations, and not only representing such elements as long as their are no professional ramifications.
1.12.2007 3:46pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Threats?

Either the FOIA authorizes such releases of information or it doesn't.

Follow the law.

Especially the FOIA. It is a check on government. Not all revelations from government will be to every one's liking. So be it.
1.12.2007 3:52pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Adeez,

Follow the law. The government is not passing out this info, other wise no FOIA request would be required.

Good enough?
1.12.2007 3:56pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
The lawyers representing Gitmo prisoners are making a political statement. They should not be suprised if there is political pushback.
1.12.2007 4:02pm
JosephSlater (mail):
M. Simon:

A "stretch" to say Stimson is encouraging such acts? Read the quote again:

I think, quite honestly, when corporate CEOs see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those CEOs are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms, and I think that is going to have major play in the next few weeks. And we want to watch that play out.

Recall, this was in response to some media outlet asking for the names of firms. The whole idea of "corporate CEOs" taking note and punishing law firms is Stimson's. And do you really think it's a "stretch" to say "encouraging" when Stimson predicts acts that haven't happened yet and haven't been threatened to happen yet, but then adds that "we want to watch that play out"?
1.12.2007 4:02pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Steve 1.12.2007 11:58am,

Some Gitmo releases were later found dead on the battle field.

Best to hold them all until the war is over.

How will we know when it is over? When their leaders call their troops to lay down arms and surrender through their chain of command.

They have no leaders you say, no chain of command?

Most unfortunate I say.
1.12.2007 4:02pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Joseph S.,

Hey, I want to watch it play out too.

Is that a threat?

Stimpson is not calling for the abrogation of due process. He just wants to see what happens.

Verrrrry interrresting.
1.12.2007 4:06pm
brett (mail):
Lawyers are free to exercise their judgment in representing, or declining to represent, clients. Clients are free to exercise their judgment in selecting lawyers. If some clients want nothing to do with lawyers who represent terrorists, what's the problem? If you don't agree with certain clients' decisions on their counsel, then don't represent them. There's no fundamental legal principle at play here - these are not American citizens.
1.12.2007 4:07pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
I call for due process.

Fair enough?
1.12.2007 4:08pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
I call for FOIA to be properly enforced.

What could be fairer than that?
1.12.2007 4:09pm
Katherine (mail):
This information has been public for years. It's listed on many of the firms' pro bono pages, a number of news stories, and every relevant court filing The FOIA request is a song-and-dance routine designed to make it look like it's a scandalous new revelation and get news coverage. Fortunately the Post had the sense to cover it as "Gov't tries to get companies to fire firms for reprsenting prisoners," not the "law firms love terrorists" shtick the gov't was going for.

The information has been out there for years. Clients have been free for years, and remain free to fire the firms for that reason. But yes, the gov't is trying to orchestrate this.

And this sums up a lot:
"There's no fundamental legal principle at play here - these are not American citizens."
1.12.2007 4:18pm
David in NY (mail):
Boy, it is extraordinarily depressing to see the number of people who uncritically accept Administration statements that have over the last several years been conceded to be wrong (as when it released many of those it claimed were terrorists) and proven to be wrong (see above comments on particular cases) and are surely wrong in other cases (it is well established that the US gave a bounty for supposed "Al Qaida members" and that many tribesmen took the opportunity to turn in innocent clan or personal enemies for the bounty).

In addition, the constant analogy of the situation here to World War II shows an ability to engage in fantasy that is astonishing in a population that one expects is heavily drawn from professionals. This is not World War II, and it differs from that conflict in many ways that require a different legal approach. We knew who our prisoners of war were there -- members of an opposing army. There was no question of "innocence" for those wearing the uniform, who actually were enemy combatants. Here it is not clear whom exactly we are at war with, or who the members of that group are. Many we detained have turned out not to be members of any such group. It seems apparent that many still detained are not. To say the situations are parallel, and that there is no need for hearings consistent with due process, is absurd.
1.12.2007 4:25pm
John M. Perkins (mail):
Imagine Stimson being offered a visiting professor gig at University of Minnesota to teach The Law of Lawyering.
1.12.2007 4:28pm
Cody (mail):
Is there an example of left-wingers attacking a Bush appointee because of the clients that appointee represented? Are you arguing that left-wingers complaining about an industry lobbyist being appointed to regulate the industry for which she or he lobbied is the same thing as a lawyer being condemned for representing unsavory clients? Surely not, as they are obvious distinctions between the two situations.
1.12.2007 4:42pm
A.C.:
Back to funding -- is anyone alleging that lawyers are taking money from organizations it would be illegal for Americans to give money to? THAT would definitely interest me if it could be shown. I'd boycott a law firm that helped Hamas buy a parking lot in Detroit!

I have nothing against firms that do criminal defense work pro bono, though, even if the defendant really is loathsome. It's money from questionable sources that would concern me.

The next level of my question is how this administration would react if the "questionable sources" included members of the Saudi royal family.
1.12.2007 4:43pm
Jonathan H. Adler (mail) (www):
Cody --

There are many such examples. Some involve attorenys who represented an industry appointed to a regulatory position. Others involve attacks on attorneys due to their pro bono clients or work for non-economic interests. The Rivkin and Casey article I cite above provides many such examples (and notes that both liberals and conservatives are guilty of this).

JHA
1.12.2007 4:52pm
JosephSlater (mail):
M. Simon:

Although I'm now not sure you're really being serious, you saying you want to watch something that nobody else has even suggested would or should happen "play out" is, at least in this context, akin to you saying you want it to happen. And when a government official says he wants something to happen it's usually fair to say that the government official is encouraging it.

Again, I'm only responding to your questioning of the pretty obvious observation that Stimson was encouraging a certain type of activity.
1.12.2007 4:54pm
mockmook:

It is wrong to attack law firms because their attorneys do pro bono work on behalf of unsavory defendants. All individuals, even suspected terrorists, are entitled to a capable legal defense when subjected to judicial process, and it is wrong to impugn attorneys on the basis of the clients they represent.

I aint no pointy head intellektual lawyer like you'ns, so 'scuse me if I don't weep any moonshine if the "suspected" terroriizers don't get represented by the greatest lawyers in this here holler.

But, seriously, if a lawyer looks at a case, and comes to believe that the client is guilty, I think it is immoral for the lawyer to try to deflect blame away from that client.

I know that way ain't ivory tower LAW, that way is true morality and justice.

And, yes, I know that some of the lawyers will find some of the defendants to be credible, i.e., believe that they aren't guilty. Bully for them, then it is moral to go forth with the vigorous defense.
1.12.2007 5:07pm
marghlar:
Some Gitmo releases were later found dead on the battle field.

Really? Which ones? Can you provide a citation for that please? I'm not saying it's necessarily impossible, but I've never heard that claim made in a concrete way. It just gets tossed around without specificity or attribution, which tends to suggest that it is BS.
1.12.2007 6:23pm
Elliot Reed:
Some Gitmo releases were later found dead on the battle field.
As long as we're on this topic, suppose you were an innocent war-opposing American peacenik quietly tending your poppies when a bunch of al Qaeda operatives, under the misapprehension that you're some kind of military officer, kidnap you and hold you in a prison in Afghanistan. They torture you for four years until your silence finally convinces them that you know nothing, and for some reason they let you go without killing you.

My guess is that you'd be pretty damn angry at al Qaeda after that experience. Even though you opposed the WoT from the beginning you'd probably be ready to sign up to serve in the military. It would be completely unsurprising if you wound up in uniform. This wouldn't mean that al Qaeda had the right guy.

In other words, wrongly imprisoning people and torturing them (for YEARS) makes them hate you. That those you've wrongly imprisoned decide to fight against you after the experience doesn't mean they were guilty ex ante.

And I second those who want an actual example of this happening.
1.12.2007 6:43pm
Ray G (mail) (www):
Joseph Slater
And do you really think it's a "stretch" to say "encouraging" when Stimson predicts acts that haven't happened yet . . .

Yes, like I said, it’s a stretch. Stimson engaged in speculation on what was likely to happen when a CEO of an American company found out that his representatives were also representing Gitmo terrorists. It is a valid, and not controversial speculation. Anyone with a little bit of business sense would make the same speculation. The CEO of “All American Industries” is being represented by the same lawyers that represented Muhammed Whathisname? Pop, there goes the stock price.
1.12.2007 7:56pm
Nikki:
Frankly, I thought M. Simon was full of it too, but I guess I was wrong. Forgive my inconsistent formatting, it's Friday night and I'm feeling lazy. The search string I used was "Guantanamo released anti-coalition" - there may well be a superior one.

6/12/05 DoD press release

2/17/06

American officials are also concerned about releasing detainees who, once released, could resume hostilities against coalition forces. At least 12 of those released so far on the grounds that they no longer posed a threat have been involved in anti-coalition attacks, including an Afghan who was fitted with a prosthetic limb while being held at Guantanamo.

10/23/04

WASHINGTON: About 10 former detainees have rejoined the fight against US forces after being released from a US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in the belief they no longer posed a threat, Pentagon officials said on Friday.

They include an Afghan teenager who was a minor at the time of his first capture in the wake of US-led offensive that toppled the Taliban regime, a Pentagon official said, asking not to be identified. He and two other minors captured in Afghanistan were separated from other inmates at Guantanamo and schooled in English and other subjects until their release in January.

10/23/04 (different article)
1.12.2007 8:11pm
Roger McManus (mail):
"I aint no pointy head intellektual lawyer like you'ns"

You said it. Pointy heads have a space between their eyebrows and the top of their heads -- it holds a brain.
1.12.2007 8:11pm
Ray G (mail) (www):
The problem with the DoD reference to the recidivism of Gitmo bad guys, is that the people asking the questions don't believe the govt in the first place.

I too share a healthy distrust for govt in general, but it seems that some are more infected with a kind of self-loathing that would only be happy if French-Reporters-Without-Borders were to write the article.
1.12.2007 8:15pm
Nikki:
Really? I was under the impression that they didn't believe M. Simon. Though for all I know they also disbelieve the government. (I agree with you about healthy distrust, but those are the sources easily available to me, and if that's not good enough for somebody, then well, that's their lookout. :)
1.12.2007 8:26pm
marghlar:
Thanks for doing my homework for me, Nikki!

I don't have a general distrust for the government. Nor do I have a universal atttude of trust, especially when an assertion coincides neatly with advancing a government policy agenda. Here, Nikki is right that my distrust was aimed at M. Simon, not at the U.S. government.

However, I will admit to being skeptical when the government makes convenient claims with few specifics. I'm inclined to trust them more when they give names, places and dates, rather than just general, non-specific claims. Even Nikki's links give few specifics -- only the Pakistan Times article gives names (just one) and specifics of activity, and precious little of that even there. The only name given is of a suspected kidnapper -- not of a confirmed identity of someone fighting the coalition. It's not like military judgment is infallible in these kinds of situations.

So, in this case, I still tend to suspend judgment. When I hear about even one incident from a non-DOD source (note that Nikki was unable to find any independent reportage of these claims, only DOD press releases), I'll decide whether to revise that assessment.
1.12.2007 8:48pm
KCinDC (mail) (www):
Stimson must have been taking lessons on innuendo from Dennis Hastert:

"You know, I don't know where George Soros gets his money. I don't know where - if it comes overseas or from drug groups or where it comes from," Hastert mused. An astonished Chris Wallace asked: "Excuse me?" The Speaker went on: "Well, that's what he's been for a number years -- George Soros has been for legalizing drugs in this country. So, I mean, he's got a lot of ancillary interests out there." Wallace: "You think he may be getting money from the drug cartel?" Hastert: "I'm saying I don't know where groups -- could be people who support this type of thing. I'm saying we don't know."
1.12.2007 9:42pm
scarshapedstar (mail):
The Republicans took up their lawyer-bashing crusade on behalf of the insurance companies how long ago?

Just making sure everyone's been awake for the past few decades...
1.12.2007 10:03pm
ohwilleke:
I see a few Congressional subpeona's in Cully's future. Maybe even a few appropriations bills and Presidential nominations held up until Cully resigns.

And, I would imagine that some of the Republican attorneys at the firms Cully has impunged, many some of the party's biggest donors, will make their feelings about this kind of behavior known to the administration's political advisors.

Cully has just put a target on his chest, and most of these firms have enough resources to devote a small effort to taking Cully down (legally, of course). Of course, maybe he's decided he'd prefer a career in talk radio or Fox News commentary (is there a difference?) to the practice of law.
1.12.2007 10:53pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
So where do you fellers stand on FOIA?
1.12.2007 10:59pm
Katherine (mail):
I love FOIA, though it is a time consuming substitute for Google when the same information is available for both. However, it's hard to sell reporters a story that begins, "A recently conducted google search of the words "Guantanamo + pro bono" reveals that 15 major corporate law firms...."
1.13.2007 12:16am
Neil' (mail) (www):
Isn't there some law, or at least regulatory guidelines, about government officials asking for boycotts of business etc? Can Stimson be charged with improper or even illegal conduct?
1.13.2007 9:26am
JosephSlater (mail):
Ray G. writes, quoting me at first:

Joseph Slater
And do you really think it's a "stretch" to say "encouraging" when Stimson predicts acts that haven't happened yet . . .

Yes, like I said, it’s a stretch. Stimson engaged in speculation on what was likely to happen when a CEO of an American company found out that his representatives were also representing Gitmo terrorists.


Not too convincing even as it stands, IMHO, and entirely unconvincing when we put back in the other part of the Stimson's quote mentioned in the original post and in my posts, which you conveniently snipped. Stimson added:

"And we want to watch that play out."

Nothing encouraging about that, no sirree. Just bringing up something that has never happened (and that nobody previous has suggested should happen), and saying he wanted to watch it happen.

Folks on your side would be more intellectually honest if you said, "we know what Stimson meant, and we agree with him," rather than pretending Stimson didn't mean what he said.
1.13.2007 11:15am
Ray G (mail) (www):
Joe Slater;
At the very least, it's a very subjective matter, far too subjective to be hanging so much on i.e. all of the outrage, calls for charges against Stimson, etc.

More to the crux of the matter, why are these lawyers and/or their firms worried about being associated with their clients? If they're trying to make a political statement, then it seems this kind of attention would be part and parcel of such a statement.

If they want their political statements to be heard, while remaining immune to the consequences, it really does not reflect well on them.

If they are simply taking some moral or noble high road by representing those too radioactive to otherwise get decent represenation, likewise, they should be willing to accept the public consequences of their noble intentions.

On that note, there are many other more noble and worthy causes if they are simply trying to make grand statements to the public. Perhaps an effort like the Institute for Justice or something like that.
1.13.2007 1:09pm
Ray G (mail) (www):
Folks on your side would be more intellectually honest if you said, "we know what Stimson meant, and we agree with him," rather than pretending Stimson didn't mean what he said.

Maybe were suffering from a breakdown of semantics; I think Stimson meant what he said, but it seems to me that he was merely speculating on the obvious. I've already mentioned that even the C student biz major would see the obvious negative correlation between a CEO being represented by the law firm that also represented the Gitmo terrorists. Even if no negative fallout ever occurs, it's a valid observation.

That so many are calling for legal action seems a bit self-righteous to me.
1.13.2007 1:16pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Ray G:

I didn't "call for charges against Stimson," I just said it was pretty obvious that he was encouraging certain actions (not just speculating: again, see the "and we want to watch that play out." line). I still think that's pretty obvious.

I think we actually agree on that point, but we differ in that I think he deserves criticism for that, and you don't.

As to the merits, I don't see any "obvious negative correlation" for a CEO who learns that his white-shoe law firm also represents some unpopular clients as part of a pro bono program. That happens all the time. I doubt many CEOs care about that at all.

Also, you seem to think that the firms involved have been trying to hide their behavior, but actually they haven't, as previous posts have indicated. And to the extent they are doing something noble, it's in the long tradition of serving relatively powerless and unpopular clients and opposing the over-reach of government authority.

But in sum, my original dispute with you was limited to the point that Stimson really was encouraging certain behavior. He was. You may applaud, I may disapprove, but let's not kid ourselves.
1.13.2007 1:49pm
Rich Rostrom (mail):
If lawyers do occasional pro bono work for unsavory defendants, of varying types, through a bar association program or at the direction of a court, that's one thing. If lawyers make substantial efforts to provide pro bono service to a particular category of "unsavory defendants", that's another. If a law firm became noted for pro bono service to neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and the like, would it be a surprise that corporate clients would go elsewhere?

The pro bono lawyers representing Gitmo detainees are nearly all, AFAIK, enthusiastic volunteers. While few are conscious jihadist sympathizers, a lot of them take the "enemy of my enemy" approach, and being anti-Bush, anti-"neocolonialism", anti-"corporate exploiters", anti-"Zionist oppressors", they take the jihadists' side. They're there because they want to be there.

Should they be immune for this choice?
1.15.2007 2:17am
Mark in Texas (mail):
Bobbie

How many big firms are not representing at least one gitmo prisoner? I honestly don't know of a single big firm here in San Francisco that isn't invovled in these cases in one way or another. Should corporations just shut down their west coast offices?

To me that sounds like a marketing opportunity for a San Francisco law firm that would like to become big. "Hire us. Unlike your current west coast attorneys, we are not trying to free terrorists so that they can kill you and your children.
1.15.2007 12:31pm
Mark in Texas (mail):
Cody

Is there an example of left-wingers attacking a Bush appointee because of the clients that appointee represented? Are you arguing that left-wingers complaining about an industry lobbyist being appointed to regulate the industry for which she or he lobbied is the same thing as a lawyer being condemned for representing unsavory clients? Surely not, as they are obvious distinctions between the two situations.

While he was not a Bush appointee, I seem to recall a whole lot of stink being raised by left-wingers about Ken Starr because he had represented tobacco companies a few years earlier.
1.15.2007 12:42pm