Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is getting a lift from top defense attorney Ted Wells as she navigates a congressional demand to testify in a closed-door session before the House Judiciary Committee.
The news, confirmed by Lynch’s spokesman, comes after the panel’s Republicans subpoenaed her to appear for a closed-door deposition as part of their inquiry into federal law enforcement’s handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, subpoenaed both Lynch and former F.B.I. Director James Comey last week. The subpoenas call for Comey to appear in a private deposition on Dec. 3 and for Lynch to testify Dec. 4.
It’s not clear how Lynch will respond to Republicans’ request to testify. Lynch’s spokesman and Wells did not comment on the subpoena.
Lynch, who has often been targeted by Republicans over her involvement in the Clinton email inquiry, has previously been interviewed by congressional investigators. She reportedly met with the House and Senate intelligence committees in October as part of their investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
But with Wells, Lynch is being backed by an attorney who has boasted high-profile clients, including former government officials. Wells, a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, is perhaps best known for representing Scooter Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.
Wells also counted two former New York governors as clients: Eliot Spitzer during his prostitution ring scandal and David Paterson as he faced possible ethics violations. Wells also successfully represented former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy—who on Tuesday lost his bid as a U.S. Senate candidate in Mississippi—in a 1998 corruption trial, winning his client a jury acquittal on all counts.
The National Football League has also turned to Paul Weiss and Wells, who co-chairs the firm’s litigation department, to lead investigations into various teams. Wells wrote reports on the New England Patriots’ “Deflategate” and on allegations of bullying within the Miami Dolphins.
Comey, who is represented by Dechert partner David Kelley, is calling for a public hearing, rather than a private session. He tweeted last week that he would “resist” House Republicans’ demand, portending a possible court fight over Goodlatte’s subpoena.
Kelley, in a statement last week, said: “While the authority for Congressional subpoenas is broad, it does not cover the right to misuse closed hearings as a political stunt to promote political as opposed to legislative agendas.”
“Mr. Comey embraces and welcomes a hearing open to the public, but the subpoena issued yesterday represents an abuse of process, a divergence from House rules and its presumption of transparency. Accordingly, Mr. Comey will resist in Court this abuse of process,” he added.