Bush Considers Hiring Private Criminal Defense Lawyer

by Brendan Lalor

In a new column for FindLaw, John Dean, former counsel to President Nixon, assesses why George W. Bush is considering hiring private criminal defense lawyer James E. Sharp in connection with “the current grand jury investigation of the leak revealing the identity of Valerie Plame as a CIA covert operative.” Dean calls this a “stunning and extraordinary development” because it suggests Bush “knows much more about this leak than he has stated publicly.”

Due to Ken Starr’s “decimat[ion of] the attorney-client privilege for government lawyers and their clients” as part of his war on Clinton, Bush “has almost certainly been told that the only way he can discuss his potential testimony with a lawyer is by hiring one outside the government.” Expert opinion is “baffled by Bush’s move – unless Bush has knowledge of the leak.” A lawyer Dean consulted opined, “If he does have knowledge about the leak and does not plan to disclose it, the only good legal advice would be to take the Fifth, rather than lie.” This will be interesting to watch unfold.

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