Friday, November 16, 2007
The first thing to do when your conduct is the subject of a government investigation is to hire counsel to advise you, and that's what former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales did shortly after leaving office in September. As discussed in an earlier post (here), Gonzales retained former Deputy Attorney General George Terwilliger in connection with an investigation by the Inspector General at the Department of Justice concerning the truthfulness of Gonzales' testimony before Congress about the terrorist surveillance program -- including the famous meeting with then Attorney General Ashcroft in the ICU -- and the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys. That earlier post said "[d]on't be surprised to see a legal defense fund organized soon to help out with the legal costs, if it hasn't begun already." Well, the Alberto R. Gonzales Legal Defense Trust has now come into existence, as detailed in a Washington Post article (here). According to an e-mail sent by an organizer of the fund, ""In the hyper-politicized atmosphere that has descended on Washington, an innocent man cannot simply trust that the truth will out . . . He must engage highly competent legal counsel to represent him. That costs money, money that Al Gonzales doesn't have."
Legal defense funds are common in cases involving the prosecution of current and former public officials, including former Vice-Presidential aide I. Lewis Libby (scooterlilbby.com), former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik (keriklegaltrust.com), and Representatives Tom DeLay (tomdelay.com) and Jim McDermott (mcdermottlegaltrust.com). I have not been able to locate a website for the new Gonzales legal defense trust, but I suspect one is on the way. (ph)