You Go Girl

Akin Gump 2 Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld Deborah Jeane Palfrey DC Madam Above the Law blog.JPGIn an earlier post about the legal secretary at Akin Gump who worked for the alleged D.C. madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, we described the secretary as “no Miss Popularity.” A source at the firm told us that “[m]ost people don’t like her,” due to her supercilious attitude. Various commenters echoed these views.
But a different source has more positive things to say about the Akin Gump Escort:

She was a secretary (never a paralegal) to partner John Dowd (attorney/author behind the Pete Rose gambling investigation and Rose’s subsequent ban from baseball and the HoF).

[Ed. note: We previously pointed out that fact, as well as the coincidence that Dowd is now representing the fabulous Monica Goodling, back in this post.]

She was a moderately friendly, attractive woman, late 20s/early 30s, with dark blonde hair. I think she lived on a farm in southern Maryland and liked horses.

First, of course she lives in Maryland. Do you think the Akin Gump Escort would be a Virginia gal?
Second, a weakness for horses — how clichéd. Does she enjoy long walks on the beach too?
Earlier: OMG: The Akin Gump Escort Worked For… Monica Goodling’s Lawyer!!!
The D.C. Madam’s Akin Gump Apprentice: She’s No Miss Popularity
Akin Gump: Truly A ‘Full-Service’ Law Firm

No, this has nothing to do with Bill Clinton. We’re talking about the other Monica — former Justice Department lawyer Monica Goodling, one of our favorite personalities here at ATL.
Over the weekend, the New York Times published the best article we’ve read in a long, long time. Check it out (annotations ours):
You Have a Monica Problem Monica Goodling Monica M Goodling.jpg
Now this is the point in the post where we should start highlighting the best parts of Eric Lipton’s article, followed by mildly snarky quips. But the entire piece is so delicious that it would be wrong to pick out excerpts. Please read the whole thing for yourself, by clicking here.
Okay, are you done? Great. Discussion continues after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘Houston, We Have a Monica Problem’”

Free Paris Hilton t-shirt Above the Law blog.jpgOr Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s, actually. From the Los Angeles Times:

Don’t get that jail cell ready for Paris Hilton just yet. Hilton’s defense team has launched a last-ditch effort to keep her out of jail after a Los Angeles traffic court judge made international headlines by sentencing the socialite to 45 days in county jail for repeatedly driving while her license was suspended.

Her attorneys have filed a notice of appeal at the courthouse. Though the document does not lay out the grounds for the appeal, her attorney, Howard L. Weitzman, has said the sentence was far too harsh given Hilton’s misdeeds.

We used to specialize in criminal appeals. But you need neither experience nor expertise to conclude that this argument is a legal loser. Here’s a good quip from a prof at Loyola Law:

“I don’t think the Founding Fathers had Paris Hilton’s driving conviction in mind when they enacted the cruel and unusual punishment provision of the Constitution,” said Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson.

But don’t count Paris out just yet. More discussion, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Paris Hilton: She Begs Your Pardon”


Monica Goodling 6 Monica M Goodling Monica Gooding Alberto Gonzales Above the Law blog.jpgYesterday we received some saddening and disturbing news. A reader emailed this article to us, with the tagline: “Not very diva-like.”
(It was also recently linked to by Wonkette, in a post entitled When Whores Collide.)

A former U.S. Justice Department official and central figure in the firing of eight U.S. attorneys tearfully told a colleague two months ago her government career probably was over as the matter was about to erupt into a political storm, according to closed-door congressional testimony.

Monica Goodling, at the time an aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, sobbed for 45 minutes in the office of career Justice Department official David Margolis on March 8 as she related her fears that she would have to quit, according to congressional aides briefed on Margolis’s private testimony to House and Senate investigators.

Big girls don’t cry; and neither do divas. Raging against the perfidy of one’s enemies is perfectly acceptable. But wet tears, to say nothing of 45 minutes of them, are a big no-no.
The news of Monica Goodling’s alleged crying fit is deeply troubling. There are some things we wish we had never learned. The possibility that Goodling is a sad, scared, ex-government employee, rather than a magnificent DOJ diva, ranks right up there with the true identity of Santa Claus.
It seems, by the way, that Goodling’s meeting with David Margolis was a veritable slumber party of emotional disclosure:

Margolis testified in private that he tried to console Goodling and listened to her discuss her personal life, a congressional aide said. He recalled telling a colleague that he was concerned about Goodling’s emotional state, the aide said.

Two cups of cocoa — stat.
But look, we’re not giving up on Monica Goodling just yet. As today’s Washington Post notes, now that the Justice Department has signed off on an immunity deal for her, “Goodling is likely to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee on a broad range of questions about the [controversial U.S. Attorney] firings that she helped coordinate.”
So we’ll wait and see how her testimony turns out. If Goodling dries her tears, cleans herself up, and acts like a fire-breathing dragon when she testifies before the House Judiciary Committee, she will be restored to a special place in our heart.
Goodling Shed Tears Before Revelations About Firings [Bloomberg via Dan Froomkin]
When Whores Collide [Wonkette]
Justice Dept. Allows Immunity Deal for Former Gonzales Aide’s Testimony [Washington Post]
Justice Department Clears Way for Goodling Testimony [Roll Call (subscription)]

Paris Hilton mugshot Paris Hilton mug shot pic photo photograph Above the Law blog.JPGHampton Inn is the dumpy and unacceptable no frills, budget-oriented brand within the Hilton Hotel family. But compared to the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, California, where Paris Hilton will be serving out a 45-day sentence for violating the terms of her probation, a Hampton Inn looks like the Waldorf Towers.
At this grim county jail, don’t look for a mint on your pillow. Expect some pubic hair from a “very masculine lesbian[],” and you’re less likely to be disappointed.
From the New York Daily News (which could barely conceal its glee over Hilton’s upcoming jail stint):

Hilton will have to say “goodbye” to dye jobs and cosmetics and “hello” to five-minute showers once a day. Her friends and family will only be able to talk to her through glass and her phone calls will be made on the jail’s closely monitored pay phones.

Purse-pooch, Tinkerbell, will not be allowed to visit. And forget those designer duds she bought on Rodeo Drive. In the big house, Paris will have to make two pairs of socks, one bra, two pairs of panties and two blue jumpsuits last for a week.

Eh, no big deal — Paris prefers romping around in the buff anyway. And she won’t be fazed by the loss of privacy, since all the other inmates have already seen her naked.
More discussion, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Prison Makes Even a Hampton Inn Look Luxurious”

Akin Gump 2 Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld Deborah Jeane Palfrey DC Madam Above the Law blog.JPGHere are two quick updates to our earlier coverage of Akin Gump, the prestigious D.C. law firm, where an assistant to alleged D.C. madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey worked as a legal secretary. The second of these updates is nothing short of mind-blowing.
1. As a commenter pointed out, Tom Goldstein, the head of Akin Gump’s Supreme Court practice, just posted an “opening” for a “special assistant.” This led some to wonder: Could the madam-in-training have worked for the Supreme Court superstar?
It wouldn’t be THAT suprising. The job announcement (PDF) mentions that an appreciation for poker is helpful. And we’re guessing that the secretary-cum-escort has some familiarity with that game — or a certain variant thereof.
Sadly, however, it turns out that there is no relation between these two events. According to a source at the firm, “this opening is completely unrelated to that situation..”
2. We believe our source. We’ve learned that the Akin Gump temptress worked for someone even more senior at the firm — and even more powerful.
We have confirmed, with knowledgeable sources, what was previously rumored in reader comments. The Akin Gump Escort worked for John M. Dowd, the high-powered head of the firm’s criminal litigation group. From his firm bio:

John M Dowd John Dowd Akin Gump Above the Law blog.jpgMr. Dowd has prosecuted and defended significant criminal matters at trial and in parallel proceedings before Congress and regulatory agencies for more than 30 years. His practice focuses on the trial of complex civil and criminal cases.

Mr. Dowd is noted for his representation of a U.S. district judge, a former U.S. attorney and two U.S. senators. In addition, he represented a U.S. governor in a lengthy, high-profile criminal trial involving 23 counts charging false statements, wire fraud and attempted extortion.

Monica Goodling headshot Monica M Goodling Monica Gooding Alberto Gonzales Above the Law blog.JPGA judge, a U.S. attorney, some senators? YAWN. John Dowd currently represents one of Above the Law’s favorite celebrities: MONICA GOODLING!!!
Does this mean that telephone and/or face-to-face conversations took place between (1) the Magnificent Monica Goodling, of U.S. Attorneygate fame, and (2) the Akin Gump Escort? Presumably Monica Goodling had to interact with the Akin Gump Escort, whenever she called John Dowd on the phone, or came to his office for a meeting.
Please excuse us for a moment. Our head is about to explode, due to fabulosity overload!!!
More discussion, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “OMG: The Akin Gump Escort Worked For… Monica Goodling’s Lawyer!!!”

Monica Goodling 6 Monica M Goodling Monica Gooding Alberto Gonzales Above the Law blog.jpgFormer Justice Department lawyer Monica Goodling has gotten a raw deal.
From the media. From the blogosphere. And now, from the DOJ itself. According to the Washington Post’s Andrew Cohen:

[B]ack at the ranch, the Justice Department managed to tick off former high-ranking official Monica Goodling and her attorneys by going public with allegations against her (allegations that she broke the law by giving out jobs based upon political affiliation) before notifying Team Goodling about the matter as a professional courtesy.

Given how vital Goodling’s testimony will be — she’s been given use immunity and will almost certainly testify before Congress about her role in the U.S. Attorney scandal — the Justice Department’s faux pas is as inexecusable as it is unsurprising. The Department is merely now doing to Goodling what Goodling and Company did to the fired prosecutors (and, for that matter, what the White House did to George Tenet when it was through with him).

We’re glad to see that someone else — namely, Andrew Cohen — realizes that Goodling is being dealt with unfairly. And we will not rest until the Magnificent Monica Goodling stands vindicated in the court of public opinion.
How An Attorney General Should Act (and Monica’s Mad) [Bench Conference / Washington Post]

Monica Goodling 5 Monica M Goodling Monica Gooding Alberto Gonzales Above the Law blog.jpgOur bestest gal pal, Monica M. Goodling, is in the news once again. From the AP (via the Volokh Conspiracy):

The Justice Department is investigating whether its former White House liaison used political affiliation in deciding who to hire as entry-level prosecutors in U.S. attorneys’ offices around the country, The Associated Press has learned.

Doing so is a violation of federal law.

The inquiry involving Monica Goodling, the former counsel and White House liaison for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, raises new concerns that politics might have cast a shadow over the independence of trial prosecutors who enforce U.S. laws.

Justice spokesman Dean Boyd confirmed Wednesday that the department’s inspector general and Office of Professional Responsibility were investigating Goodling’s role in hiring career attorneys — an unusual responsibility for her to take.

Goodling “may have taken prohibited considerations into account during such review,” Boyd told the AP. “Whether or not the allegation is true is currently the subject of the OIG/OPR investigation.”

Back when Monica Goodling first invoked the Fifth Amendment privilege, a wide range of commentators, from Joshua Micah Marshall to Orin Kerr, expressed skepticism towards her claim. Questions were raised as to whether Goodling had a valid basis for declining to testify.
Gentlemen, in light of the latest news, you should be ashamed of yourselves. We think you owe Ms. Goodling an apology.
Moral of the story: Never doubt the Magnificent Monica Goodling!!!
P.S. Our favorite comment over at the VC: “God told her to.”
DOJ probes politics’ role in hiring U.S. attorneys [Associated Press]
Ex-Aide to Gonzales Accused Of Bias [Washington Post]
Monica Goodling and AUSA Hiring [Volokh Conspiracy]

Monica Goodling 5 Monica M Goodling Monica Gooding Alberto Gonzales Above the Law blog.jpgVia the Volokh Conspiracy, we came across this intriguing piece, by Murray Waas for the National Journal, about how Attorney General Alberto Gonzales delegated exceptionally broad powers to his two youthful underlings: D. Kyle Sampson and the Magnificent Monica Goodling.
Here’s the lede:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales signed a highly confidential order in March 2006 delegating to two of his top aides — who have since resigned because of their central roles in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys — extraordinary authority over the hiring and firing of most non-civil-service employees of the Justice Department….

In the order, Gonzales delegated to his then-chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, and his White House liaison “the authority, with the approval of the Attorney General, to take final action in matters pertaining to the appointment, employment, pay, separation, and general administration” of virtually all non-civil-service employees of the Justice Department, including all of the department’s political appointees who do not require Senate confirmation. Monica Goodling became White House liaison in April 2006, the month after Gonzales signed the order.

Professor Orin Kerr’s take:

Remarkable. And assuming this story checks out, it certainly explains why Gonzales seemed so clueless about the U.S. Attorney firings. It seems that Gonzales had taken himself completely out of the loop of all DOJ political appointee hiring. He had delegated that role completely to two 30-somethings, Kyle Sampson and Monica Goodling; his only role was a formality, required just so that OLC would find the practice constitutional.

We take issue with Professor Kerr’s dismissive reference to the Magnificent Monica Goodling as a mere “30-something.” And now that she has been granted immunity, we can’t wait for Goodling to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.
All mysteries will be revealed, and this entire U.S. Attorney mess will be straightened out, after Monica Goodling appears before the House Judiciary Committee in all her radiance. She will dazzle the Committee, as well as the American people, with her command performance, the likes of which have never been seen on Capitol Hill.
Goodling’s crisp and cogent answers to even the most challenging queries from legislators will cause jaws to drop. Her command of both the facts and the law concerning the U.S. Attorney firings will amaze the nation. It will be just like the final courtroom scene in “Legally Blonde,” in which another plucky, underestimated blonde triumphed against all odds.
At the end of her testimony, Rep. John Conyers will publicly apologize to Monica Goodling for dragging her good name through the mud. Faith in the U.S. Department of Justice will be restored. Truth, justice, and the American way will be vindicated.
And then President Bush will dispatch Monica Goodling to Iraq, as head of a special mission designed to fix the debacle over there. There is nothing that our Monica can’t do!!!
Secret Order By Gonzales Delegated Extraordinary Powers To Aides [National Journal]
Did Sampson and Goodling Have Total Control of DOJ Political Hiring? [Volokh Conspiracy]

shopping bags Above the Law blog.jpgBack in August, we named Judge Deborah Tyner our ATL Judge of the Day. The Honorable Debbie ditched her judicial duties to go shopping, which struck us as absolutely fabulous.
Now Judge Tyner has a kindred spirit. Meet Cynthia Garris, a Virginia defense lawyer. From the Virginian Pilot:

A local lawyer has been disciplined by the Virginia State Bar for telling a judge she had to postpone a case because of a commitment in another court when in fact she went shopping instead.

Defense attorney Cynthia D. Garris received a public reprimand from the State Bar, according to an announcement Friday. The reprimand does not affect her law license.

Garris, whose office is at 132 W. Olney Road, told a Norfolk Circuit Court judge last summer that she had to postpone a case because of a court commitment in Williamsburg.

The judge later found out she had gone on a shopping excursion instead. The judge found Garris in contempt and fined her $250.

The judge may have acted hastily. What was Garris shopping for? If shoes were involved, the contempt finding was unwarranted.
Garris should get her $250 back. That money could buy a decent (but not fabulous) pair of shoes.
P.S. Cynthia, if you’re looking to join a big firm, take a look at Bryan Cave
Norfolk lawyer rebuked for delaying case to go shopping [Virginian Pilot]
Earlier: Above the Law Judge of the Day: Deborah Tyner

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