Snowden lawyer: Famous for espionage clients … and Monica Lewinsky


Edward Snowden in Hong Kong in June. (The Guardian via AP)

Edward Snowden has retained a new attorney who is well-versed in the world of espionage, but Plato Cacheris is also well known for being a stealth legal navigator for those who find themselves suddenly notorious. In some instances, like Snowden, the two go hand-in-hand.

But a New York Times story published Tuesday morning about Cacheris taking on Snowden’s case leaves out perhaps the lawyer’s most famous clients: Monica Lewinsky, President Bill Clinton’s mistress; and Fawn Hall, of the Iran-Contra scandal. Cacheris helped Lewinsky receive immunity from prosecution, freeing her to testify about her sexual relationship with Clinton. He also got immunity for Hall, who was secretary to Oliver North, so she could speak freely.

A veteran D.C. legal warrior, Cacheris, born just before the Great Depression, brings Snowden’s case a level of credibility, which is precisely what The Washington Post wrote when Lewinsky retained him as her lawyer. From a June 4, 1998 story:

Cacheris, who started his career as a federal prosecutor but has three decades of experience as a defense lawyer, has worked out plea bargains in recent years for many of his high-profile clients. “He is known for keeping people out of trouble, and one way to do that is by keeping them from going to trial,” said Mark Hulkower, who prosecuted one of Cacheris’s best-known clients, Soviet spy Aldrich H. Ames.

The mega-lawyer has been the go-to defense lawyer for most D.C. scandals since representing Attorney General John Mitchell during the Watergate crisis. Now Cacheris, who declined to comment to the Times on his involvement in the Snowden case, has the formidable task of getting the former National Security Agency contractor a deal that would allow him to return to the United States.

Better call Plato.

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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Colby Itkowitz · April 28