Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gov. Spitzer, Mr. Eggs and Lawyers

Mr. Eggs

"With women assuming a major presence in other fields of law, it is likely Ms. Kedia will in the not-too-distant future be joined by a fairly substantial sisterhood representing organized-crime clients. Susan Necheles has represented Venero Mangano, an imprisoned mobster known as Benny Eggs."

Susan Necheles now represents Peter "Hatchet Man" Pope, a key player in Governor Spitzer's Dirty Tricks scandal now engulfing his administration. The New York Times reported her mobbed-up client in the 1999 story "Gotti's Newest, Youngest Lawyer: 'An Angel' but Also 'a Lioness.'"

Mr. Eggs is a member of the Genovese Crime Family. He was released from prison in 2006 after serving 15 years for extortion.

In addition to this experience Ms. Necheles also boasts of her "great success in representing individuals charged with sexual misconduct, including rape."

Pope's attorney is not the only private lawyer for Governor Spitzer's senior aides with a colorful background. The attorneys representing Governor Spitzer's chief of staff Richard Baum, his counsel David Nocenti and his former communications director Darren Dopp also have interesting career highlights.

"He specializes in representing clients charged with civil or criminal frauds in a wide range of industries, as well as clients embroiled in complex commercial disputes."

The specialty belongs to Steven Reich, Baum's private counsel.

"In the Matter of William Bonnani: Successfully represented police officer in an extensive arbitration in which the government employer was seeking to terminate his employment."

The "matter" is one of the "significant representations" Michael L. Koenig highlights in his biography. Mr. Koenig represents Dopp. Mr. Bonnani is a controversial Albany police officer suspended for four years, with pay, for beating a college student.

"New York's Personal Injury Lawyer" is how Peter Moschetti describes himself. Mr. Moschetti is the attorney for Counselor Nocenti. Yes, the Governor's lawyer has a lawyer. And he's an ambulance chaser.

So if you're a wise guy on the verge of being charged or a pedestrian who slipped on the ice in front of a small business or a police officer facing a brutality complaint, Governor Spitzer's top aides can give you a referral.

No, I don't want to repeal the Sixth Amendment or Miranda rights. The accused or soon-to-be-accused must have competent and qualified defense counsel.

I'm talking about a higher standard. The standard Governor Spitzer promised. In his Inaugural he said:

"I have no doubt that we can move on to better things in this state - that we will find ourselves on the winning side of history once more. But to be number one again, we must be one New York again. And so in order to return to policies of opportunity and prosperity, we must change the ethics of Albany and end the politics of cynicism and division in our state."

I was inspired by Governor Spitzer's campaign, his energy, his Inaugural and many other traits I believed he possessed that would finally begin New York's return to greatness. Despite a few doubts, I even told one of the aides mentioned in this post that I'd work for his boss in the same capacity as I once did for Governor Pataki.

Governor Spitzer certainly did "change the ethics of Albany." He single-handedly made it worse. Much worse. It's a stunning personal and political collapse for a man who showed so much promise and threw it all away.

Ax Murderers Have Constitutional Rights, Too

Terence L. Kindlon, counsel to a convicted ax murderer and former counsel to a senior aide to Governor Spitzer.

Kudos to Joe Mahoney of The Daily News for assembling a more comprehensive list of the private sector lawyers representing Governor Spitzer's collection of Haldemans and Ehrlichmans. It includes the notorious Terence L. Kindlon. Mr. Kindlon defended convicted ax murderer Christopher Porco.

The Silence Of R. Milhouse Spitzer

This is Michael L. Koenig. He is the private attorney representing Darren Dopp, Governor Spitzer's former communications director.

Richard Baum, the Governor's chief of staff, has retained a Steven F. Reich to represent him.

Peter ("Over the years, Pope has earned a reputation as Spitzer's hatchet-man") Pope, Governor Spitzer's policy director, has hired one Susan Necheles to represent him.

These three men are Governor Spitzer's new generation of Haldemans and Ehrlichmans at the heart of the Dirty Tricks attempt to destroy the career of Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno. They've hired their own lawyers with good reason. But New Yorkers don't know if their boss also has hired a lawyer.

Yesterday at an Albany news conference Governor Spitzer was asked if he had retained private counsel. He refused to answer the question.

Why can Dopp, Baum and Pope disclose who they've retained, but Governor Spitzer not even confirm he also has an attorney?

If there is any indication that this scandal will continue to grow in severity, it's yesterday's news conference. Governor Spitzer's Nixonian attempts to ignore it, downplay it or pretend it never happened are increasingly pathetic. A Saturday Night Massacre sometime soon won't be a surprise.

R. Milhouse Spitzer's Attorney

N.Y. Daily News: Gov. Spitzer, Aides, Mum On Private Lawyer Hire

Governor Spitzer's lawyer can be seen here.

David Soares Crusades Like Thomas E. Dewey

The David Soares Investigative Sleep Mask

Rick Karlin of the Times Union reports the latest from Mike Nifong David Soares:

"The travel records scandal that has enveloped Gov. Eliot Spitzer and some of his top staff members is far from over, as the governor on Monday confirmed that his office has received yet another subpoena from Albany County District Attorney David Soares.

"This comes as Soares is hiring a chief for his Public Integrity Unit, which subpoenaed the governor; and as the state Public Integrity Commission is about to call Spitzer in to testify next month . . .

(and now the best part of Karlin's story)

"Heading the Public Integrity Unit is Bruce Lennard, who left the office this summer for a post at the Commission on Judicial Conduct, said Soares spokeswoman Heather Orth, who explained that he was rehired last week. Orth said the hiring was not linked to the travel records affair, saying there was an open position to run the bureau for some time. 'We were just looking for the right person,' she said."

Rehired last week? There was an open position to run his Public Integrity Unit? Soares was looking for the right person? While he's charged with investigating an ethics scandal that has crippled state government?

This is too good. What a complete bunch of incompetents in the Albany County District Attorney's office.