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A former Department of Justice ethics attorney who made headlines after she disclosed information to the media relating to the prosecution of “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh has had her reappointment to the District of Columbia Bar’s Legal Ethics Committee rejected. The attorney, Jesselyn A. Radack, asserted this week that her reapplication was rejected because comments in a profile published in The National Law Journal embarrassed the D.C. bar. In that profile, Radack, now of Grayson & Kubli in McLean, Va., was quoted as calling it “poetic justice” that she was appointed to the ethics committee while DOJ’s disciplinary complaint still was pending against her with the D.C. bar. [NLJ, 9-14-06]. The DOJ had referred Radack to the D.C. and Maryland bars in October 2003 because she disclosed the documents relating to Lindh after she had left the department. Radack claims that she was pushed out of her job as general counsel to the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility for not playing along with her superiors after federal law enforcement officials disregarded her advice on handling Lindh after he was captured in Afghanistan. “Lots of people have told me that it’s silly to feel so upset over this,” Radack said. “For me, it’s part of a bigger picture of six years’ worth of retaliation initiated and fanned by the Justice Department, which includes [its] bar referral of me that has been pending before the D.C. bar for nearly four years,” she said. Radack had been serving the remainder of another member’s unexpired term. Cynthia G. Kuhn, spokeswoman for the D.C. bar, said there was no relationship between Radack’s rejection and the profile that ran last September. There were 14 qualified lawyers applying for three seats, she said. After Radack left the Justice Department, she said that she lost her civilian job in the Washington office of New York’s Hawkins Delafield & Wood after she gave a Newsweek reporter copies of legal memorandums that she had written on the Lindh matter once she suspected that they had disappeared from the file. She said that she had disclosed the information at issue in accordance with the Whistleblower Protection Act. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, presiding over the Lindh case, had ordered a three-week investigation into how Newsweek got material that had been filed with the court under seal. Her disclosures led DOJ to place Radack under criminal investigation, help Hawkins Delafield contest the unemployment compensation she sought, and refer her to the state bars where she is licensed. The D.C. bar complaint is still pending. The criminal matter was closed without charges being brought. The Maryland State Bar Association complaint was dismissed in February 2005. She went back to work as an attorney in May 2005 for Grayson & Kubli, a firm that handles government contracts, telecommunications and whistleblower law.

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