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Two key mantras in the public relations business: It’s all about timing and Sometimes it’s best to keep your mouth shut. It’s advice that public relations giant Edelman apparently followed in its hire of Charles Bakaly, Kenneth Starr’s former PR man who was charged and acquitted in a leak investigation stemming from the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Bakaly’s been at Edelman’s D.C. office since September, heading up the firm’s litigation communications practice — that is, overseeing image makeovers and media campaigns for companies in trouble. But Edelman didn’t shine a light on its prominent new hire until last week, when it issued a 300-word press release. “We’ve been really busy,” says Bakaly about the belated announcement. “It’s a good problem to have.” Bakaly’s hoping his relationship with his new employer turns out better than his last high-profile gig. Bakaly was forced out as spokesman for then-Independent Counsel Starr in 1999 after being accused of leaking grand jury information to The New York Times. Bakaly was later charged with contempt of court for allegedly lying to a judge and was acquitted in 2000. After the Starr job, Bakaly took a PR job at Revelation, a small Houston legal PR firm. Now back in D.C., Bakaly says that his legal ordeal hasn’t scared him away from aggressive media strategies. “It didn’t make me more conservative, it made me more passionate,” he says. “Our job as communicators is to get more information out there.” Like a three-month-old press release.
Andy Metzger can be contacted at [email protected].

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