Bad Week for Trial Lawyers, Indictmentwise

By August 24, 2007Briefly Legal

First Richard Scruggs charged with criminal contempt in Alabama. Now Michigan trial lawyer and aged-enfant terrible Geoffrey Fieger and his partner, Vernon Johnson, have been indicted for federal campaign violations, making false statements, and obstruction of justice — part of a scheme to funnel illegal contributions to John Edwards 2004 campaign for President. (Edwards’ campaign had no knowledge of the skullduggery.)

The Department of Justice news release has the charges and circumstances. The Detroit Free Press story has lots more.

Famed defense lawyer Gerry Spence, who counts Imelda Marcos among his former clients, is representing Fieger. He wouldn’t comment on the contents of the indictment, but said Fieger will plead not guilty.

“He will absolutely tell the court that he is not guilty,” Spence said this afternoon. “I look forward to the opportunity to see that he gets a fair trial and that he is vindicated. It’s my honor to represent him.”

Spence called Fieger a great man, who has advocated for people against powerful interests for years. That dynamic, of people fighting powerful interests, will be on display in this trial, Spence said.

“I think this is going to be a case that people should watch,” Spence said.

In the same way you watch a car accident, or maybe it’s a circus, the way you watch a circus. Or a car crash at the circus. One of those little cars with the clowns.

The Detroit News has full coverage, starting here. Includes a link to the indictment and a statement by Fieger. Fieger predictably makes claims about Alberto Gonzales and political prosecutions. Looks like deflection.

Still, an indictment is only an indictment. But given Fieger’s past outrageousness, the plaintiff’s bar must be very unhappy — not that crimes may have been committed, but rather that a high-profile case is going to associate the image of “trial lawyer” with “Geoffrey Fieger” in the public’s mind.

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