Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Gerald B. Lefcourt addressing the verdict in the Lynne Stewart case

On The Majority Report Monday (February 14, 2005), one of the guest was Gerald Lefcourt. There's much to listen to in this interview addressing the verdict in the Lynne Stewart case (and Rebecca has a summary on her blog entry today at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude) but this is what stood out to me:

Gerald Lefcour: It’s really scary, you know, I mean, I don’t like an atmosphere where when you say what they like, like Ann Coulter, you’re great and anything that they don’t like, you know, you’re in danger. And that’s the atmosphere that is sort of being generated in this country.

Janeane Garofalo: I would say that the Lynne Stewart case is largely symbolic, in that the government would prefer that you are frightened, as an attorney, from defending unpopular clients.

Gerald Lefcour: No question about it. And, not withstanding the fact that I would be the first on the soap box to urge my brothers and sisters to continue representing unpopular clients, I know in my heart of hearts that anybody who has a family and something to protect . . . You know freedom is nothing left to lose, but if you have something to lose, you’re a little nervous about being aggressive and zealous in representing unpopular clients and that is the message. You’re absolutely right, Janeane.
. . .
It is a scary time and I, as an attorney, am worried about people getting the representation that they need if they oppose government activity. It’s a . . . You’re either on their side by saying things that they like, or you’re an enemy and it’s just, as you both know, I haven’t said anything that we haven’t witnessed depending upon who’s speaking.

Want to hear the interview? Go to Air America Place and check out their archive.
Also note, the above is my transcription so probably it contains multiple errors.

You can find out information about Gerald Lefcourt by visiting the NACDL. An excerpt from their biography of him online:

Gerald B. Lefcourt is a past President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and a founder of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. A past President of the New York Criminal Bar Association and one of the nation's best trial lawyers, he is head of a four-lawyer firm in New York City, Gerald B. Lefcourt, P.C., specializing in the defense of criminal cases. Long considered one of the defense bar's leading spokesmen and most passionate advocates, he has defended clients as diverse as the Black Panthers, Abbie Hoffman, Harry Helmsley, Michael Milken’s co-defendant and former New York assembly Speaker Mel Miller.