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    January 13, 2011  
 
Plugging the WikiLeak

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One word sure to spark an opinion from all of us: WikiLeaks. Yesterday, we caught up with McDermott's Abbe Lowell, the criminal defense lawyer who testified at the related Congressional hearing.
 
McDermott's Abbe Lowell, a criminal defense lawyer who testified at the Congressional WikiLeaks hearing.

We snapped Abbe with news clippings from President Clinton’s impeachment proceedings, to which he served as chief minority investigative counsel. Jack Abramoff and Gary Condit also number among his high-profile clients, but it’s two others who make him a standout regarding WikiLeaks. Clients Steven Rosen of AIPAC (the pro-Israel lobby) and State contractor Stephen Kim were prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917, the same act under which AG Holder says Assange and WikiLeaks may be charged. With a civilian accused of trafficking government secrets, Rosen’s case has been cited as the closest parallel to WikiLeaks’. Rosen’s charges were dropped (must have had a good lawyer), and Kim’s case is pending.

 
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McDermott's Abbe Lowell, a criminal defense lawyer who testified at the Congressional WikiLeaks hearing.

With a who's who client list, it’s no surprise Abbe is featured in a slew of political cartoons, which cover one office wall. He tells us the Espionage Act applies more easily to government employees than civilians (eg, Pfc. Manning vs Assange), but its language is broad enough to cover anyone disseminating classified info, including the media. Still, it doesn’t take into account whether this would violate the First Amendment—the statute has never been used to charge a journalist or media organization. (Whether Assange counts as media is a whole different story.) Though Assange’s lawyers have been claiming he may be death penalty-bound if extradited to the U.S., we have on good authority that this penalty has never and could never be used in a leak case.

McDermott's Abbe Lowell, a criminal defense lawyer who testified at the Congressional WikiLeaks hearing.

Abbe tells us an obstacle to the case will be finding whether the Espionage Act applies outside the U.S. In the meantime, Congressional hearings are introducing new legislation to update the statute. With intermediary steps (subpoenaing texts and emails; making the case that WikiLeaks stole info from a government employee; and extraditing Assange), Abbe says it will be as long as two years before the case is tried. Meanwhile, we snapped Abbe hard at work, preparing for his next case: a February federal corruption trial of a Puerto Rico state legislator. (Can you spot the Barbie doll in the background, courtesy of a representative during the Clinton impeachment hearings? It represents one TV talking head who called for the president’s impeachment.) 


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Wise Women of DC
 

At last night’s “Three Wise Women” hosted by the National Organization of Italian American Women, we snapped one of the wise ladies herself, honoree Tina Maiolo, with her two daughters, Miley and Michela. The cozy celebration at Carmine’s honored three prominent female Italian American professionals who’ve advanced in their fields, with awards presented by Rep. Rose DeLauro of CT. (And featuring a buffet of lasagna, grilled shrimp, croquettes, and pasta Bolognese—delizioso!) Back in ‘08, Tina, a Carr Maloney member, was appointed by the Italian Ambassador to the U.S. as sole legal counsel for any claims involving the Italian embassy, something NOIAW president Diana Femia said played a role in her selection. When we asked Tina’s older daughter, Michela, whether a legal career is in the cards, she tells us she’s proud of Mom—but would rather be a professional softball player.


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Helping Howrey
 
Students at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School in Takoma Park working at Howrey as part of their school's work-study program.

If these nicely dressed folks don’t seem old enough to be lawyers, that’s because they’re not. These students filing at Howrey's office are from local high school Don Bosco Cristo Rey. The school’s work-study program partners with large companies to help students, all whom come from low-income families, gain professional experience and pay for up to 60% of their education. Among other firms involved:Akin Gump, Dewey LeBoeuf, and Jones Day. Don Bosco’s proud to say that this fall they expect over 95% of its first graduating class to enter universities including the likes of GU, Penn State, and UMD.

 
New year, new stories! Send transactions, exciting wins, trends (and especially event invites with gourmet food) to DC legal reporter Roksana Slavinsky, roksana@bisnow.com.
 
 
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