Time is running out for lawyers and law enthusiasts to hear some of Connecticut’s top legal minds discuss the most-talked-about legal subject of the year.
On Monday, Oct. 15, at 6:30 p.m., the University of St. Joseph will host former U.S. attorneys Deirdre Daly and Kevin O’Connor for a discussion of the special counsel investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Recently appointed State’s Attorney Margaret Kelley will introduce the two former prosecutors for a forum in the college’s Mercy Hall surrounding the investigation led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller.
In an interview this week, Daly said she does not have any bombshells to drop, but she does anticipate a thorough investigation by Mueller. “I can’t anticipate when the case will be resolved, but I do have a significant amount of confidence that Mr. Mueller himself and his team are highly experienced and competent, and whatever criminal cases exist here, they will bring them against whoever may be responsible for criminal activity,” she said.
As Mueller investigates possible links between the campaign of then-candidate and now President Donald Trump, the oft-repeated phrase from the president has been that there was “no collusion.” Daly acknowledged the term “collusion” does not connote a crime in itself, but “I think it’s become a shorthand that people have learned to assign to the Russia investigation,” she said. “It’s a shorthand way of saying ‘I did not engage in any activity with the Russian government.’”
The closest thing to an allegation of a crime, under the circumstances, would be conspiracy, Daly continued. “I think the word that’s likely to be most accurate is conspiracy,” she said, noting that such crimes require intent and taking steps to conspire, even if the conspiracy is not successfully executed. “You have to knowingly intend to commit a violation of the law. And you also have to take an overt step toward the objectives of the conspiracy.”
Daly, who joined Stamford’s Finn Dixon & Herling this year, is a member of the firm’s government and internal investigations and litigation practice groups. She was the state’s 51st U.S. attorney and the first woman to be presidentially appointed to lead the office. Earlier in her career, she served for 12 years as a prosecutor and supervisor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
O’Connor is chief legal officer for Point72, a Stamford-based hedge fund, and a former partner and chairman of the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani. He served as U.S. attorney for Connecticut from 2002-08 and as U.S. associate attorney general from 2008-09.
The attorneys will share perspectives on the Russia investigation covering topics such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants, the recusal of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s appointment of former FBI Director and U.S. Attorney Robert Mueller as special counsel. They will also take questions from the audience. “We welcome the Greater Hartford community to join us as we learn more from two legal experts about the current federal investigation regarding the 2016 presidential election,” said USJ President Rhona Free.
Daly said it’s too early to make any predictions as to when Mueller will bring the next action related to the Russia investigation. “I’m not speculating either way,” she said, but her perspective should offer insights for those interested in the investigative process.