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Los vinos de la guerra “Everyone got a chuckle out of it, even my more liberal guests,” says lawyer-oenophile Andrew W. Heger, who hosted a May 10 wine-tasting restricted to Spanish wines. Using a guest list that drew heavily from Heger’s old firm-Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker-his invitations noted “Le Gouter de Vin de Guerre,” and its German alternative, “Das Schmeckend von Weinen des Krieges,” just didn’t seem right these days. So tasters were invited in four-member squads to come to CENTCOM in Pasadena, Calif., at 1600 hours bringing two bottles of Spanish vintage. A “shock and awe” phase was planned for later in the evening. Heger says he hasn’t gone whole hog, i.e., he isn’t dumping French wines down the drain. But he does like being quoted on the “disingenuousness” and “duplicity” of French President Jacques Chirac, and he reports buying fewer French imports these days. Appropriately enough, even though technically there was a Coalition of the Willing that contributed wines, as instigator Heger pretty much ran the show by providing the ones that ranked first, second and third: Capcanes Cabrida 2000, Cims de Porrera Classic 1999 and Numanthia 1998. Thanks to Paul Hastings employment law partner Ethan Lipsig, fourth place went to a Cervoles 1999. Pundit to advocate During months of cable TV talk rehashing the Laci Peterson case, celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos was front and center. When he stopped being a pundit and became Scott Peterson’s defense attorney in late April, eyebrows went up. The buzz-reinforced by NBC legal commentator Dan Abrams, among others-was that Geragos helped whip up a media feeding frenzy against Scott Peterson, then took a 180-degree turn as his new job hove into view. But a close reading of the transcripts suggests demographics, rather than chronology, had more to do with it. Here’s Geragos telling CNN viewers what he thinks about Scott Peterson: “He could be stone-cold innocent”-Jan. 29; “There’s going to be pundits who are going to have to apologize for convicting this guy”-Feb. 10; “Before we condemn this guy completely and go out and publicly hang him, you know, there are seemingly good explanations for what he’s been saying”-Feb. 10; “There’s a lynch mob mentality out there for him”-April 24. Meanwhile, here’s what Fox News Network’s more right-leaning viewers were hearing from Geragos: “He’s No.1 pariah, I think, by anyone’s estimation”- Jan. 24. “This guy is a felony lawbreaker, if stupidity and inconsistent statements, as we say, were a violation”-Jan. 31. All smiles There are some lines from opposing counsel that you just don’t forget. Just ask John L. Watson, who for 14 years has been defending Cotter Corp. against allegations that toxic runoff from its uranium mill in south central Colorado poisoned local residents. When a Denver jury awarded $43 million against the mill in July 2001, winning plaintiff’s attorney Suzelle M. Smith crowed, “This will wipe the smile off Cotter’s face.” Reading that made him “very frustrated, very angry,” recalls the loser of the day, Watson. On April 22, the federal appellate court unanimously reversed and remanded, based on the trial judge’s inadequate screening of expert witnesses. So Watson followed up with an e-mail to us and the suggestion “10th Circuit Restores Smile.” But be forewarned that Smith, who has been on this case since she was a new graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, told the Washington Post, “If we have to go to the Supreme Court, that’s what we’ll do.”

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