News & Politics

James Comey Confirms That He's Working with a Powerful Lawyer

It's the same attorney who prosecuted a man the president recently pardoned.

Photo Credit: YouTube Screengrab

Former FBI Director James Comey revealed that he has been working with an attorney since May 2017, the month he was fired by Donald Trump. His attorney isn’t any ol’ run-of-the-mill lawyer, it’s Patrick J. Fitzgerald, former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. Fitzgerald oversaw many high-profile cases on that position, perhaps none more famous than his prosecution of Dick Cheney’s right hand man, Scooter Libby. From NBC News in 2007:

Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was convicted Tuesday of lying and obstructing a leak investigation that reached into the highest levels of the Bush administration.

Libby is the highest-ranking White House official to be convicted of a felony since the Iran-Contra scandal of the mid-1980s. The case brought new attention to the Bush administration's much-criticized handling of weapons of mass destruction intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war.

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The verdict culminated a nearly four-year investigation into how CIA official Valerie Plame's name was leaked to reporters in 2003. The trial revealed that top members of the administration were eager to discredit Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who accused the administration of doctoring prewar intelligence on Iraq.

Fitzgerald is an expert in handling and prosecuting, or in this case possibly defending, the leaking of classified information. [EDIT: Comey did not leak classified information, he did give copies of his own memos to an associate. Those memos were not classified.] If he has been working with James Comey since he leaked the memos that kicked off the investigation into whether Trump committed obstruction of justice, you can bet they got their legal ducks in a row before they ever let those memos see the light of day.

Fitzgerald’s involvement with Comey might be another reason Donald Trump inexplicably pardoned Scooter Libby last week, something even Libby’s former boss, George W. Bush, refused to do before he left office.

 

Bush, whom Trump often derides in caustic terms, could not be persuaded to pardon Libby. He was lobbied aggressively by Cheney, and his refusal was said to have caused a strain in the relationship between the two men.

Trump, who often rails against disclosures to the news media but was a longtime anonymous source himself, appears to have chosen to forgive Libby for his role in the disclosure of CIA agent Valerie Plame’s identification.

The Chicago Tribune reports Fitzgerald isn’t the only former U.S. attorney representing Comey.

Daniel Richman, a Columbia Law School professor, and David Kelley, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, are also on Comey’s legal team, according to a Comey associate.

Here is a throwback to Fitzgerald’s days as the U.S. attorney who prosecuted Scooter Libby.

 

Jen Hayden is a writer for DailyKos.