Almost six months after Manatt, Phelps & Phillips first came under fire over the firm’s alleged role in an extradition dispute between Jamaica and the United States over accused drug lord Christopher Coke, newly disclosed e-mails are again throwing the firm’s role into question as to whether it sought to lobby U.S. officials on behalf of the Jamaican government to block Coke’s extradition.
Coke was captured in June and extradited to the U.S. less than a month after running gun battles between his supporters and Jamaican security forces killed more than 70 people in Kingston. Opposition political figures in Jamaica have accused Manatt of aiding Prime Minister Bruce Golding and his ruling Jamaica Labour Party in their initial objections to Coke’s extradition, an unusual role for a private law firm advising a foreign government. Manatt, meanwhile, has maintained that it was not specifically retained to fight the extradition. In May, Golding claimed it was the JLP that hired the firm for help with the extradition dispute, not the government.
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