Michael Vick's Pick For Legal-Team Captain

Billy Martin
Billy Martin will defend Michael Vick in his dog-fighting case. (Robert A. Reeder -- The Washington Post)
By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Billy Martin's profile is about to get even higher: The highly regarded criminal defense lawyer has been tapped by Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick to represent him against felony charges of running a dog-fighting business.

Martin -- who regularly lands on lists of Washington's top lawyers -- is the go-to guy for athletes in serious trouble. The 57-year-old former federal prosecutor is best known for defending former New Jersey Nets player Jayson Williams, who was acquitted of first-degree manslaughter in the shooting of his chauffeur. Martin has also represented Allen Iverson, Rod Strickland , Juwan Howard and Riddick Bowe. Other notable clients include former Atlanta mayor Bill Campbell, Monica Lewinsky's mother and Chandra Levy's parents.

Vick and his advisers interviewed several lawyers and selected Martin -- who joined D.C.'s Sutherland Asbill & Brennan this spring to head the firm's white-collar criminal defense team -- because of his experience with federal cases, ESPN reported yesterday.

"He's the consummate professional: always well prepared and extremely good on his feet," said Alan Milstein, who just served as co-counsel with Martin representing Iverson and his bodyguard Jason Kane in the recent Eyebar brawl lawsuit. "He's also a good and decent person, which I think helps in communicating with juries and in dealing with co-counsel and opposing counsel."

The Howard alum, who has two older daughters from a previous marriage, is wed to journalist Michel Martin, host of NPR's "Tell Me More"; they have 3-year-old twins. In his spare time, Martin "pretends to be a golfer," said Milstein.

Martin did not return calls seeking comment, but is expected to be at Vick's side at Thursday's arraignment in Richmond.

Letting Out the Prize Pants -- But Only Under Guard

Security guard William Roberts keeps an eye on the famed sued-over trousers.
Security guard William Roberts keeps an eye on the famed sued-over trousers.(Amy Argetsinger - The Washington Post)
Jin and Soo Chung were the guests of honor and beneficiaries of last night's legal-defense fundraiser at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (co-hosted by the American Tort Reform Association), but the real star of the show? The $54 million pants. The gray suit trousers at the center of Roy Pearson's infamous lawsuit against the Chungs' dry-cleaning business were hoisted as a symbol of litigation run amok. The security guard, they insist, wasn't just part of a photo-op gimmick: The pants remain a key bit of evidence in the case, and no one wanted them to walk away.

THIS JUST IN . . .

· A ceremony scheduled for tonight to dedicate the Capitol's Room H-139 as the Henry J. Hyde Room has been postponed because the 83-year-old guest of honor is recovering from an emergency heart bypass Saturday. The longtime GOP rep from Illinois left Congress after 32 years last year; in December his colleagues voted to name the Foreign Affairs Committee's reception room for him, and throngs of former staffers and pals were expected to turn out tonight. Friends say he is recovering well from surgery in a suburban Chicago hospital.

· Britney Spears had yet another meltdown, this time in a photo shoot with OK! magazine. Not clear exactly what happened, but it was bad; editor Sarah Ivens called it "an emotional cry for help that will leave you shocked and sad." Friday's issue will include an account of the incident but no photos, for legal reasons. Calls to Spears's rep were not returned.

QUOTE

"There's nothing worse than a reformed smoker or Twinkie eater. They all become scolds, don't they?"

-- Michael Moore responding to former fellow chubby dude/GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who said overweight folks like Moore are part of the reason for the health-care crisis detailed in "Sicko." Later in Monday's "Hardball" interview with Chris Matthews, Moore said he's trying to eat better and exercise; he's lost 30 pounds in three months.


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