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OLC CHIEF: MEMO FLAP DIDN’T LEAD TO EXIT Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Jack Goldsmith III resigned suddenly last week after just eight months in the post. Goldsmith’s June 17 announcement that he planned to return to teaching at the University of Virginia Law School surprised colleagues and came amid questions about the role of top administration lawyers in drafting legal justifications for the use of torture against suspected terrorists detained overseas. Goldsmith, 41, says he played no role in drafting the controversial memos on torture and that the outcry surrounding them played no part in his decision. He says his July 30 departure is motivated primarily by a desire to spend more time with his two sons — 9-month-old Will and 3-year-old Jack IV. “During my time at OLC, I have spent almost no time whatsoever with my wife and two young sons,” he says. The office — which provides legal advice to the president, attorney general, and executive branch agencies — has come under intense fire for producing a series of opinions in 2002 that held that the Geneva Conventions do not protect al Qaeda and Taliban fighters and that prohibitions against torture do not apply to interrogations conducted under the president’s authority as commander in chief. Goldsmith, a former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, took over the OLC in October 2003 after the leaked memos were drafted. In the months preceding his OLC appointment, he served as an adviser to Defense Department General Counsel William Haynes II. Goldsmith says he had no involvement in a Pentagon memo prepared during his tenure that seemingly endorsed torture. Still, his position that international law does not bind the United States has made Goldsmith few friends among human rights advocates. “Whether or not he had anything to do with the particular memos that were leaked, the views he has expressed, when taken to their logical conclusion, would have led to the same conclusions,” says Elisa Massimino, director of the D.C. office of Human Rights First. Despite disagreeing with his views, Neal Katyal, a Georgetown University law professor who served in the Clinton administration, says Goldsmith “is a scholar and government official of the highest integrity. It’s inconceivable to me, given the way he behaves and engages on issues, that he has been involved in any wrongdoing.” Goldsmith’s heir apparent to lead the elite 23-lawyer office is former Kirkland & Ellis partner Steven Bradbury. Bradbury, a University of Michigan Law School graduate, clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1992 and worked in the OLC during the first Bush administration. Bradbury rejoined the OLC as principal deputy assistant AG in April 2004. — Vanessa Blum JAGGED EDGE Score one for the JAGs. After years of jockeying between the Pentagon’s top civilian and uniformed lawyers over who’s boss, the Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously approved a measure June 15 to increase the authority and independence of the military’s senior uniformed lawyers. If the amendment attached to the Senate’s FY 2005 defense authorization bill is adopted, service judge advocates general would be elevated from two-star to three-star generals and would report directly to military leaders without having to go through a politically appointed civilian general counsel. The proposal — sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a lawyer in the Air Force Reserves — comes amid revelations that JAG concerns related to prisoner interrogation procedures in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay went unheeded. At a recent dinner sponsored by the Judge Advocates Association, Graham said he wanted to ensure that military commanders had access to independent legal advice. Ongoing power struggles between the Pentagon’s uniformed and civilian legal ranks came to a head in 2003, when Air Force Secretary James Roche issued an order requiring the Air Force’s top military lawyer to report to the Air Force general counsel. In response, a group of retired judge advocates general charged that politically appointed civilian attorneys were seeking to usurp the traditional role of military lawyers. Their efforts received little attention until the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib came to light, raising questions about the role of military lawyers. D.C. attorney Eugene Fidell, president of D.C.’s National Institute of Military Justice, says the Abu Ghraib prison scandal illustrates the need to keep military lawyers from being sidelined. “In the past, I thought this was inside baseball. . . . I have to say recent history suggests the [judge advocates general] had a point,” says Fidell, a partner in D.C.’s Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell. — Vanessa Blum ON THE WATCH It’s not about former President Bill Clinton, it’s about taxes. That was the message the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit last week sent government watchdog group Judicial Watch. In a decision enforcing an Internal Revenue Service summons on the tax-exempt nonprofit, the appeals court said an audit, initiated in 1997, was not politically motivated, as Judicial Watch claimed. The group says the Clinton administration and congressional Democrats pressured the IRS to audit Judicial Watch in retaliation for alleging that Clinton had committed impeachable offenses and for having sued the IRS in mid-1998. But the IRS says it simply wants to know whether Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman and his private law practice benefit financially from the nonprofit and whether it earns taxable income. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton says the group had begun cooperating with the IRS before the decision, adding, however, that the “court got the facts wrong. We strongly believe the evidence that the IRS had inappropriately targeted us.” — Lily Henning TAKING THE STAND New York defense attorney Lynne Stewart‘s trial for providing material aid to a terrorist group begins before a federal jury in Manhattan June 22. Stewart, 64, says she believes that her own testimony will convince a jury that prosecutors overreacted when they accused her of aiding the government-designated foreign terror organization Islamic Group in a conspiracy to commit murder and kidnapping. Her aid to the terrorists came as she allegedly helped her client, Islamic Group spiritual leader Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, pass messages to the group in defiance of prison restrictions. Stewart said in an interview June 16 that federal prosecutors will try to prove the charges against her through “blinding the eyes of reason” by invoking the Sept. 11 attacks and the war on terror. The government, she said, “is overreaching, and they’ll try to get those jurors on board as terror fighters without much critical analysis.” Prosecutors have maintained that Stewart abandoned the right to invoke the attorney-client relationship when she crossed the line and aided and abetted Islamic Group. David Kelley, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, declined to comment. — Mark Hamblett, New York Law Journal BAR SEATS John Cruden, deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division, beat out fellow DOJ lawyer Jonathan Rusch, special counsel for fraud prevention, to become president-elect of the D.C. Bar for the 2004-05 term. Cruden, who next year would become the first government lawyer to serve as president of the D.C. Bar, won 57.4 percent of the 8,078 votes cast. Cruden will succeed Hogan & Hartson partner John Keeney Jr. as president-elect on June 23, and will become bar president next summer. Cruden was out of the office on Friday and could not be reached for comment. Bar members also elected five new members to three-year terms on the bar’s Board of Governors: Rita Bank of Ain & Bank, Nathalie Gilfoyle of the American Psychological Association, White & Case counsel Ellen Jakovic, Charles Lowery of the Center for Responsible Lending and the Center for Community Self-Help, and William Ng of the Environmental Protection Agency. Nicholas Karambelas of Sfikas & Karambelas was elected secretary, and Laura Possessky of Lichtman, Trister & Ross was elected treasurer. — Marie Beaudette INSIDE OUT Larry Gondelman of D.C.’s Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville chalked up a win June 1 when a federal jury in Chicago cleared Cell Pathways director Thomas Gibson, 77, of insider trading charges after a four-day trial. In 2002, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused Gibson of tipping a friend and Cell Pathways shareholder, Harry Krause, in 2000 that the Food and Drug Administration had rejected his pharmaceutical company’s new cancer drug, Aptosyn. Krause, who has since died, sold his Cell Pathways stock the next day, avoiding losses the SEC says would have amounted to $400,000 — the sum it sought from Gibson. Shortly after the FDA made a public announcement about the drug, Cell Pathways’ stock plummeted to two-thirds of its previous value. Gondelman says he is satisfied with the jury’s decision, but added that the SEC should not have brought the suit against his client. — Lily Henning NOVA NEWBIE Hogan & Hartson litigation partner Emily Yinger took the reins of the firm’s 53-lawyer Northern Virginia outpost on May 24. “It’s an exciting time to be here,” she says. “There’s an unprecedented level of activity.” Yinger took over management of the office in McLean, Va., after real estate partner and office managing partner Dennis Moyer joined the D.C. office of Boston-based Goulston & Storrs last month. Yinger, 41, has been at Hogan since she earned her J.D. from the University of California Los Angeles School of Law in 1987. After spending 12 years in the firm’s D.C. office, she joined the McLean office in 1999 to start its litigation practice. As managing partner, Yinger hopes to grow the office, specifically the litigation, corporate securities, and real estate practices. — Marie Beaudette GHOST OF A CHANCE The San Francisco Bay area legal community has been buzzing about the expected defection of the West Coast securities litigation group of the British legal giant Clifford Chance to another firm. London-based Clifford Chance entered the California market with much fanfare in June 2002, hiring former Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison chairman Tower Snow Jr., who brought along 16 Brobeck partners and 30 associates. Since then, the firm has been unable to recruit a single lateral partner on the West Coast, and partners began leaving last month. In recent weeks, one antitrust partner left to join Palo Alto, Calif.-based Cooley Godward, and three securities litigation partners went to Fenwick & West, also based in Palo Alto. While the securities litigation group has reportedly talked to several Bay area firms, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe appears to be the lead suitor. Former colleagues of the group’s lawyers say they have heard that Orrick is negotiating to acquire the entire office. Clifford Chance is adamant that it intends to keep all of its offices in California open. — Anthony Lin, New York Law Journal; Brenda Sandburg and Adrienne Sanders, The Recorder

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