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_ New Legal Team Brings Credibility (Washington Post, June 4)

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_ Key Player: William H. Ginsburg


I Didn't Get 'Dumped'

By William H. Ginsburg
Thursday, June 4, 1998; Page A23

I was originally contacted by the Lewinsky family to help deal with the outflow from the Paula Jones civil suit against the president. I was able, with others, to stop Monica from having to give a deposition in that case; and ultimately through the efforts of others who were themselves maligned about their performance until they won, that entire case was dismissed.

My reaction is that a person apparently needs a passport to get into Washington, and that the city is one where even the natives eat their young. It is a disgrace that our governmental city is so insular and out of touch with the people of the country they govern. I am not a Washington insider but a hell of a trial lawyer, with an innate sense of right and wrong and up for any fight, even with an anti-constitutional monster.

I find it interesting that the latest rumor is that Mr. Starr may attempt to indict Monica in Virginia instead of the District. In addition to that being against the law, as I see it, it reflects Mr. Starr's thinking -- if the rumor is true -- that a D.C. jury doesn't have the intelligence to understand his brand of justice. Well I have every confidence in the D.C. jury pool and believe that D.C. residents are very intelligent and understand Mr. Starr and his cronies precisely!

Everyone knew from the outset of my representation of Monica Lewinsky that I was not a criminal attorney. I selected and worked with experienced Washington criminal counsel Nathaniel Speights in dealing with Mr. Starr and Monica's problems. Unfortunately, a mutually satisfactory arrangement for immunity could not be reached with Mr. Starr. Mr. Speights was always on the team and provided me with guidance as an experienced Washington insider.

In light of the recent status of the matter, without resolution either in the form of immunity or a promise not to prosecute, reneging on an extant agreement and other improprieties, as well as the strained nature of my dealings with Mr. Starr, and my strong feelings about the impropriety of Starr's approach to this matter, both the client and I mutually felt that it would be in her best interests if a change was made. I initiated the suggestion of a change approximately seven to 10 days before the change was made with Monica and her family.

A good lawyer has the obligation to work in his client's best interests. I believe I have done that all along, including my suggestion that she seek a change of counsel. I am sorry that I will miss the "fight," but I want her to be exonerated and have every confidence in her new team.

I have kept Monica out of the grand jury and away from indictment for nearly six months. I have accomplished part of my goal. It is now up to her new defense team to get her out of the vise of this independent counsel who is squeezing her to a high degree, unfairly and without justification.

To my detractors and the naysayers out there, otherwise known as "talking heads," or "kibitzers," I say, bah humbug! You are commenting on a situation without knowledge of the facts, the circumstances or the situation itself and demonstrating that the "clubby tribalism" that is Washington actually exists. It is of interest that the main detractors and naysayers have never handled a high-pressure, high-profile case, and to them I say: Get into the arena; know the sweat, blood and tears that go into the process of winning and losing; don't remain on the sideline, cold, timid souls who never understand the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat! After you have handled a few high-profile, high-pressure jury matters, then come back and comment. Until then, curb your tongues and your criticism!

I am happy to cooperate in any way that I can in the transition to the well-respected criminal defense team selected, and am already working to that end. My former client is now represented by that new counsel, and while I will remain a spirit, not a ghost, they must go forward and represent her as they know best how to do.

A good lawyer always does what is in his client's bests interests, and indeed, I have mutually agreed with Monica that her best interest is served by this change.

The press's role in this matter has varied from excellent to very poor. The reporting of The Post of my replacement as an "unceremonious dumping" reflects the worst kind of journalism, uncorroborated and designed to get sensational reactions. The mutuality of agreement and the fact that I suggested a change be made more than 10 days before it was made was not reported, and the statement of the family as well as my own statement, largely paralleling this article, were ignored in favor of "spin" designed to titillate rather than report the news. But that seems to be the rule rather than the exception, perhaps fomented by the need to compete within the news industry. By and large the reporting has been fair, but always sprinkled with the surreal and the unreasonable. It is my hope that some sanity will be pulled from this latest firestorm and that lessons will be learned.

As I have stated, I continue to be concerned about the concept of an office of independent counsel and especially about this independent counsel. A saying I am paraphrasing from the stone face of a famous Washington building says it all: "Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it!" Have you no shame, Mr. Starr?

The writer is Monica Lewinsky's former attorney.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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