by Walter Olson on May 21, 2009

Maybe we need to create some “super-Don’t” label for when a story like this comes along: “A defense attorney and former federal prosecutor whose clients have included rap stars and a soldier at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was charged Wednesday with arranging the killing of one witness and trying to hire a hit man to kill another.” [AP/1010WINS]


1 Dr. Mary Johnson 05.21.09 at 2:16 pm

Saw it yesterday. Amazing, just damned amazing.

What about prosecutors who do not have their law licenses?

2 Charles Platt 05.21.09 at 3:38 pm

Wondering if the case against him runs into attorney-client privilege. How come the news item already refers to the content of a taped phone call between him and a client?

3 Raymer 05.21.09 at 5:13 pm

Would that be considered excessive or merely a good old fashioned zealous defense. If they can successfully mount such a defense for themselves, they just might get off.

4 Phaedrus 05.22.09 at 12:55 am

I’m not a lawyer, but the attorney-client privilege generally has a number of exceptions. And one of those exceptions covers this situation. If you’re talking to an attorney about how best to handle a crime you’ve already committed, that’s privileged; but if you’re talking to an attorney about how to commit a future crime, that’s not. When last I checked, murder was a crime. So any discussions about how to murder witnesses (or anybody else) would not be privileged.

And at the risk of stating the obvious, no, this is not “merely a good old-fashioned zealous defense”. A lawyer is neither legally nor ethically allowed to commit crimes in order to represent a client.

Of course, the real fun here will be trying to empanel a jury (assuming there’s no guilty plea). I would imagine that many potential jurors would react rather negatively to being told that they were assigned to the trial of someone accused of murdering a participant of a previous trial.

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