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LYNNE STEWART TESTIFIES IN OWN DEFENSE Placing in her own hands the fight to clear herself of charges that she aided a terrorist group and lied to the government, veteran attorney Lynne Stewart took the witness stand last week in a New York federal court. Speaking in a relaxed, informal manner before the jury, Stewart said she knew that her client, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, advocated violence when she chose to represent him at his 1995 trial for seditious conspiracy against the United States, but that she did not share his views. “No, I’m my own person,” Stewart said during the first of four days of testimony last week. “I have my own politics.” Stewart has been on trial since June on charges she helped the sheikh pass messages to his followers from behind bars, where he is serving a life sentence. He was convicted of seditious conspiracy in a plot to bomb bridges, tunnels, and other New York landmarks. Some of his followers were convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Chief among Stewart’s offenses, the government alleges, is that she helped send a message to the extremist Islamic Group in Egypt, in which the sheikh withdrew his support for a cessation on terror attacks against the Egyptian government, and that she lied to the government when she promised to abide by special prison orders forbidding the sheikh from communicating with people beyond the prison’s walls. Also charged in the case is interpreter Mohammed Yousry, who accompanied Stewart on her prison visits to the sheikh and is accused of providing material support to a terror group. A third defendant, Ahmed Abdel Sattar, the sheikh’s spokesman, is charged with conspiring to kidnap and kill people in a foreign country. Defense attorney Michael Tigar has presented Stewart as a zealous advocate who never endorsed terrorism to further the goals of the sheikh. He has argued that Stewart is the victim of government overreaching and that she’s being penalized for fulfilling her duties as an attorney. Stewart said she was advised by colleagues not to represent the sheikh when she was approached in 1994. “People felt it would hurt my career and I should stay with home-grown politics,” she said. “But under the rules of ethics, we are bound to accept cases � even for those who are hated by the general public.” When Tigar asked her about the sheikh’s advocacy of violence, Stewart insisted it is a lawyer’s job to represent clients while not necessarily sharing their beliefs. That is an important issue, since prosecutors, led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Morvillo, claim she supports at least some of the goals and methods of Islamic Group. “I knew that was part of [the sheikh's] background,” she said. “But you know, I’ve represented many people, and you take them as they are.” Stewart is expected to end her testimony this week, at which time she’ll face cross-examination. � Mark Hamblett, New York Law Journal KUNIN’S FINAL EXAM After 34 years toiling for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Stephen Kunin has joined intellectual property boutique Oblon, Spivak, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt. This week, Kunin, the PTO’s former deputy commissioner for patent examination policy, starts his new career as of counsel at the Alexandria, Va., firm after many years shaping patent policy, revising practice rules for patent lawyers, and creating patent examination guidelines. “It’s a great opportunity for the firm to acquire him because he knows the rules of patent procedures better than anyone,” says Oblon managing partner Marvin Spivak. Kunin’s co-workers at the PTO, including the agency’s director, Jon Dudas, gave him a warm send-off last week at his retirement luncheon. “It was sort of a roast and toast,” Kunin says. He will literally remain close to his friends at the PTO. His new office is right next door. � Christine Hines SIXTH TIME THE CHARM? The 20-year fight for John Stanton to be reinstated to the D.C. Bar continues. On Oct. 28, the D.C. Court of Appeals denied his fifth and most recent petition. Stanton lost his license in 1983 for refusing to help clients accept plea bargains. Stanton has said he believes helping clients plead guilty is unconstitutional. While Stanton says he would like to practice law again, it is the principle behind the fight that he says is more important. “My feeling is that it is not legal, it is political,” he says of the denials. “They are just trying to keep me out.” His prior reinstatement attempts failed largely because the court found Stanton refused to acknowledge the seriousness of his misconduct and because he failed to demonstrate that he had “sufficiently changed his position.” Yet the court handed Stanton a minor victory this time when it refused the board’s request to declare Stanton’s future reinstatement attempts invalid on their face unless he offers specific evidence requested by the board. Stanton vows to try again. � Bethany Broida JUDGING JACKSON Drug defendant Darin Tucker caught a break last year when Senior Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson of D.C.’s federal court gave him probation instead of jail time for cocaine distribution. Unfortunately for Tucker, the court’s mercy was short-lived. Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit vacated Tucker’s sentence, finding that Jackson defied federal sentencing guidelines. Under the guidelines, Tucker, who had prior convictions, was to receive a minimum of four to five years in prison. Jackson, a vocal opponent of the guidelines, retired from the bench eight weeks ago and joined D.C.’s Jackson & Campbell as counsel. At a July 2003 pre-sentence hearing, Jackson said prison time for Tucker would be counterproductive to his rehabilitation, adding he was “not going to be the instrument of the injustice in this case.” In ordering Tucker to be resentenced, D.C. Circuit Judge John Roberts wrote, “So long as these Guidelines are the law of the land, we � and the district courts � are obligated to apply them.” When asked for comment on the Oct. 26 decision, Jackson said, “One of the things I do not miss is the sentencing guidelines.” � Tom Schoenberg PAYING BACK BANKS Arthur Freeman, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to stealing $300,000 from the estate of D.C. resident Nettie Banks, was sentenced to four years’ probation and ordered to pay more than $45,000 in restitution to Banks’ heirs. D.C. Superior Court Judge Erik Christian sentenced the 84-year-old Freeman on Sept. 30. Banks, who had an estate valued at more than $800,000, died in 1997 at the age of 94. Her will designated Freeman, a former vice president at D.C.’s Industrial Bank, to manage her estate. Over the next four years, Freeman failed to inventory the estate’s assets, pay the bills on three of Banks’ homes, file tax returns, or disburse any assets to the heirs. Rather, Freeman withdrew more than $300,000 from the estate’s accounts and invested some of that money in various business ventures. According to court papers filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Carlin, that money was never returned. Deborah Banks Lange, who tried for more than two years to get Freeman removed from the probate case, credits Judge Christian with helping get some of her grandmother’s money back. Bowie, Md., lawyer Bruce Johnson Jr., who represented Freeman, did not return a call seeking comment. � Tom Schoenberg G-MEN Foley & Lardner has added two lawyers with high-level government experience to its D.C. office. William Clements, a former Clinton administration official at the National Security Council, joins the firm’s white-collar defense and corporate compliance practice as a partner. Clements, who most recently was corporate trade counsel for international trade regulation at General Electric, says that he spent six years looking for just the right firm and couldn’t find it. “So when Foley said they wanted to build up [the trade control part] of the practice, I jumped at the chance,” he says. Clements has worked for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as well. Also joining Foley is Donald Griffith, former senior counsel and branch chief for the Division of Enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Griffith, who was counsel at LRN, a legal education company in California, joined the securities litigation, enforcement, and regulatory practice as senior counsel. A former SEC colleague lured him to the firm, he says, where he hopes to focus not just on enforcement but also on helping clients avoid problems in the first place. � Bethany Broida COYNE’S COLLECTION The estate of late hotel developer Marshall Coyne won a $1 million verdict against Aon Risk Services Inc. after a D.C. jury found that the insurance brokerage company failed to notify Coyne that his accidental death plan was outdated. The 89-year-old Coyne, who owned the Madison Hotel, died in 2000, six and a half months after breaking his hip during a fall. The estate filed a claim with policyholder AIG Life Insurance, noting that Coyne had a $1 million accidental death policy originally purchased in 1984. The claim was denied because Coyne’s coverage had a 180-day limitation period between accident and death. At the time of Coyne’s death, the industry standard time limitation had been expanded to 365 days, says Wallace Christensen of D.C.’s Ross, Dixon & Bell, who represents the estate. In its complaint, the estate claimed that Aon did not tell Coyne that his plan could be expanded at little or no additional cost when it renewed the policy in 1999. The Oct. 21 verdict came after a two-week trial in D.C. Superior Court. Aon’s lawyer, Charles Wayne of Piper Rudnick, says his client will appeal. � Tom Schoenberg LEADING WOMBLE Real estate attorney Pamela Rothenberg has been named co-managing partner of the D.C. office of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice. Rothenberg will share the leadership responsibilities with Paul Kaplan, who has served as managing partner since 1998. The move makes her the first woman to serve as managing partner of the firm’s D.C. office and marks the first time the firm has turned to dual managing partners. “I am completely supported [by the firm] as a woman and an attorney,” she says. Her goals for the office: increased growth, diversity, and high-value work. “I am delighted to be in this position,” she says. “I have tons of energy, and just get out of my way.” � Bethany Broida PRIVATE PARTY The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia is considering the passage of amendments to local rules that would require the court to exclude or partially redact personal identifiers like Social Security numbers and home addresses from documents filed publicly with the court. The rules, which would take effect on Feb. 15, 2005, are intended to help the court comply with the E-Government Act of 2002. Removing or redacting the information will ensure that personal information of those doing business with the court will remain private, while ensuring that court records are accessible to the public. The court will accept public comments on the proposed changes until Dec. 31. � Bethany Broida

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