State Department

Jonathan Dach

Jonathan Dach

I recently wrote a defense of Jonathan Dach, the Yale Law School graduate and State Department lawyer who was accused of patronizing a Colombian prostitute. Dach has forcefully denied the allegations, and people who know him find the idea of him hiring a prostitute in Colombia to be inconceivable.

Not everyone was persuaded by my defense, however. In conservative quarters, my argument — or at least my “he’s kinda cute” point, made somewhat tongue in cheek — was met with significant skepticism.

New revelations, however, make the case against Jonathan Dach look more shaky than ever — and even conservative outlets are raising questions….

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Jonathan Dach

Jonathan Dach

The past few weeks haven’t been much fun for Jonathan Dach. This promising young lawyer, a Yale College (2008) and Yale Law School (2013) graduate, found himself fingered by the Washington Post as the alleged client of a Colombian prostitute.

Why would anyone care about a young man hiring a prostitute in a jurisdiction — Cartagena, Colombia — where prostitution is legal? This allegedly all went down during the visit by President Obama to Colombia in which a bunch of Secret Service agents got in trouble for patronizing prostitutes, so the claim is that the White House protected one of its own — Dach, a White House volunteer at the time, is the son of a big-time Democratic donor — while hanging the Secret Service agents out to dry. And Dach now works at the State Department on a portfolio of women’s issues, which adds to the awkwardness.

But are the allegations even true? Various folks, both within the Yale community and beyond it, are rallying to Dach’s defense — and forcefully denying the claims against him. What do they have to say?

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* So now, officially, more people have lost their jobs over Benghazi than lost their jobs over 9/11. [New York Times]

* Could we sue the NRA out of existence? [Dissident Voice]

* Nate Silver makes it clear that gun ownership is a great indication of party affiliation. Guess the liberals would get their asses handed to them in a civil war. [Five Thirty Eight / New York Times]

* Should it be harder for a teenager to get his hands on a video game with lots of guns in it, or AN ACTUAL FREAKING GUN? [Huffington Post]

* “Fun” law bloggers interview each other, for fun. [Allison Leotta]

* Wait, McDonald’s restaurants in Europe have waitresses? [Telegraph]

* Former Governor of Florida slams current Governor of Florida while nation wonders why Florida is always such a train wreck. [Blog of the Legal Times]

* Bank robbers hail getaway cab. [Chicago Tribune]

* Look, the quote of the year is Megyn Kelly’s, “Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better?” But here are some other fun ones from 2012. [The Careerist]


* “To do nothing in the face of pending disaster is to be complicit. It’s time to act. It’s time to vote.” What a convenient time to discover that the Department of Justice tabled new gun control proposals in favor of an upcoming election campaign. [New York Times]

* Rumor has it that the president will nominate Senator John Kerry to be secretary of state for his second term. Upon hearing the news, Hillary Clinton updated her Tumblr page before she caught a case of the vapors, fainted, and got herself all concussed. [CNN]

* “If you don’t know, then you have to plan for the worst.” Everyone’s pissed off about the possibility of being pushed off the fiscal cliff, but on the bright side, it’s creating a mountain of billables. [National Law Journal]

* Remember the judge who resigned after he accidentally showed a colleague a picture of the “judicial penis”? He was removed from office by a judicial ethics panel. How very effective. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

* And for the talent portion of the competition, Alicia Guastaferro, the pageant princess who was picked up for prostitution after getting caught with an attorney, will have her hooking charges dropped. [Huffington Post]

* “The people who are paying us say this is what we want.” When it comes to cross-border mergers, law firms aren’t becoming behemoths for the hell of it. The end goal is to be able to edge out the rest of the competition. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* It’s been six weeks since Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast, and “[e]verybody wants to go back downtown,” but some Biglaw firms in New York City — firms like Harris Beach and Cahill Gordon — are still stuck in their temporary offices. [New York Law Journal]

* Following Jeh Johnson’s adieu to the DoD, drone-loving Harold Koh will be packing up his office at the State Department and returning to Yale Law to resume his professorship next month. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal sector is employing 5,800 more people than it was at this time last year. We’d be in good shape if 40,000 people hadn’t graduated law school in May. [Am Law Daily]

* Another day, another wrist slap: Villanova Law has been placed on probation for by the Association of American Law Schools over its grade-inflation scandal. Does that even mean anything? [Philadelphia Inquirer]

* The Lanier Law Firm, known for its spectacular Christmas parties, hosted some country superstars at this year’s event. Guess we know where Faith Hill and Tim McGraw go for legal assistance. [Houston Chronicle]

* A slim majority of American adults think that federal government employees should just sit back, relax, and smoke a bowl instead of enforcing federal laws against marijuana use. [FiveThirtyEight / New York Times]

* “I’m sorry they are confused in the White House.” Puerto Rico’s statehood referendum received a majority of votes, but lawmakers say the results of the two-part plebiscite are too confusing to add a 51st state. [CNN]

Brett McGurk

Let me begin by making one thing clear: I support the nomination of Brett H. McGurk to serve as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Iraq. He is eminently qualified for this post, in light of his extensive experience, under both Republican and Democratic administrations, dealing with the complex and sensitive issues that exist between the United States and Iraq.

Brett McGurk’s brilliance lies beyond dispute — he’s a member of the Elect, after all — and the same is true of his heroism and commitment to public service. In the late 1990s, while he was a summer associate at Cravath, he and a fellow summer rescued two drowning women during a beach outing gone awry. After graduating from Columbia Law School, he devoted his legal career to government service — clerking for Judge Dennis Jacobs (2d Cir.) and the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, working as a legal advisor to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, serving on the National Security Council, and counseling two past ambassadors to Iraq, Ryan Crocker and Christopher Hill. McGurk possesses vast expertise about Iraq, acquired through the many years he has spent advancing U.S. interests in the region — at considerable personal risk to himself.

If you are a high-minded individual, you can stop reading here. If you are less high-minded, keep reading to learn about the sexy email messages that Brett McGurk allegedly exchanged with a prominent (and attractive) journalist….

Please note the UPDATES added at the end of this post.

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One of [my handlers during my confirmation process] said, ‘You know, you might want to apologize for some of the things you wrote.’ I said to him, ‘Can we get one thing straight? I am not apologizing.’

I’ve lived the life I’ve wanted to live. I’ve said the things I’ve wanted to say. If you really want me to say I’m sorry, I’ll say, ‘I’m sorry that my life’s work has been misunderstood.’

Harold Koh, current Legal Adviser to the State Department and former Dean of Yale Law School, in recent remarks he delivered at the American Constitution Society’s annual convention. (In the same speech, Koh voiced support for Yale Law graduate Goodwin Liu, whose Ninth Circuit nomination was successfully filibustered.)

Who is the real spy? Ilan Grapel (left) or Austin Powers?

As we mentioned yesterday, a student at Emory Law School by the name of Ilan Chaim Grapel was arrested in Egypt on Sunday, and ordered held for 15 days. The Egyptians allege that Grapel is a “highly trained” spy, working for the state of Israel.

Ilan Grapel is a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen. And he did serve in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) prior to law school, as a paratrooper (which sounds pretty awesome bad-ass).

But does that make Ilan Grapel a spy? Some observers, including classmates of Ilan’s from Emory Law, find the allegation highly dubious….

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Is this law student a spy?

At this year’s Emory Law School commencement, Professor Sara Stadler urged graduates to think outside the box with respect to their career options: “You might not be able to land that [top-choice] job…. You might have to move to Nebraska.… You might have to join a small firm where they don’t make the big bucks.”

Or you might have to… become a spy in the Middle East? Emory law student Ilan Grapel has been detained in Egypt, by authorities who allege that he is a “highly trained” spy working for Israel.

Ilan Grapel is… pretty cute. Is he a spy?

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WikiLeaks worships at the shrine of rabid transparency. And it does not just sacrifice government documents to the transparency gods; founder Julian Assange tells my Forbes colleague Andy Greenberg that corporate America is the site’s next big target. A big bank is going down, says Assange.

Greenberg thinks it might be Bank of America. Dealbreaker has some additional theories. Most likely some bank somewhere is going to have a big project for its lawyers pretty soon.

Meanwhile, after the most recent State Department cable leak, government lawyers are trying to figure out how to prosecute Assange.  There’s talk of invoking the Espionage Act of 1917, regardless of the fact that Assange is an Australian citizen and spends his time country-hopping. G’day and g’luck, mate.

So, what about those juicy diplomatic cables? What did State Department legal adviser Harold Koh not want the world to see?

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