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Lynne Stewart Disbarred:

The Associated Press reports that Lynne Stewart has been disbarred for helping one of her clients, Omar Abdel-Rahman, communicate with his fellow terrorists from prison. For these acts, Stewart was convicted of providing material support to terrorists.

A particularly interesting aspect of the story is that a New York court ruled that Stewart had to be disbarred, and could not voluntarily resign from the bar. As I understand the ruling, the Court determined that her disbarment was automatic one Stewart had been convicted of a felony, so any effort to withdraw voluntarily after her conviction would be unsuccessful. I do not know if there is much precedent for this, but it struck me as unusual.

Bob Leibowitz (mail) (www):
"Strong letter to follow..."

Good riddance.
4.25.2007 12:10pm
T-Web (mail):
Does disbarment vs. voluntary resignation carry some more lasting penalties? For instance, since she was disbarred is it more difficult (or impossible) for her to be readmitted to the bar in the future?
4.25.2007 12:18pm
gsmcneal (www):
The government in the Bismullah-Parhat litigation is worried about conduct similar (though not as grave) as that which Stewart was convicted of. Her case highlights some of their legitimate interests as I point out over at the AIDP Blog here. Thanks for posting this.

-GSM
4.25.2007 12:18pm
DDG:
Good. She was a disgrace to our profession.
4.25.2007 12:27pm
Ray Fuller (mail):
The blind cleric is a (convicted) terrorist, who inspired and masterminded the actual deaths of Americans during the first Twin Towers attack (intending of course to commit mass murder if the skyscrapers had fallen as planned). His attorney aided and abetted him in his continuing terrorism plots against America. Spies and saboteurs during wartime, at least, used to be executed. Disbarment is too lenient a penalty, as is imprisonment, for terrorist conspirators. The War Against Islamic Extremists cannot be won in the criminal courts of the American justice system. Both Lincoln and Roosevelt realized that truth during their times, and they resorted to extra-judicial procedures, invoking extra-constitutional powers to protect America from the covert spies and saboteurs of their times.
4.25.2007 12:29pm
Steve P. (mail):
Yes... the President invoking extra-judicial and extra-constitutional powers is just what we need right now.
4.25.2007 12:45pm
Houston Lawyer:
As I recall, she used her position as an attorney to facilitate communications between a convicted terrorist and his followers on the outside. Her punishment has been extremely lenient. I predict Scooter Libby will be sentenced to more jail time.
4.25.2007 1:13pm
ed o:
her heart was in the right place for those on the left-adamantly against her own country and more than happy to support those who would destroy it. in other words, she is a hero.
4.25.2007 1:23pm
Steve:
in other words, she is a hero.

Can we get a hand count of just how many people agree with this idiocy? I expect it will be quite a bit larger than the tally of Lynne Stewart supporters.
4.25.2007 1:26pm
Henri Le Compte (mail):
I don't know what is more unsettling-- the leniency of her treatment, or the fact that some people will actually portray this woman as some sort of hero.

Personally, I am more troubled by the latter. She aided and abetted a fanatic who's primary goal in life was to kill as many American's as violently as possible. How can anyone-- regardless of their politics-- feel the slightest camaradarie with her?

We live in an era of great moral confusion.
4.25.2007 1:34pm
Hattio (mail):
Steve and ed o,
I think you would both be surprised at how low the count would be. I'm a leftie and most of my friends are lefties. I don't hear anybody praising her for being a hero. The only people I hear talking about her (and they are a very, very small minority of my lefty friends) are those who wonder whether or not what she was accused of had anything at all to do with reaching the followers of her client. I haven't followed the case enough to really have an opinion, but my lefty friends make the case seem pretty shaky. I take their opinion with a grain of salt, but would love to hear the case outlined by someone from the other sdie.
I would hope that we can all agree that if she wasn't passing messages, and is merely sympathetic to her client, then she shouldn't have been prosecuted.
4.25.2007 1:36pm
hey (mail):
Should have been shot. But then we should be following the Geneva Conventions and summarily executing all combatants caught not weating a distinct uniform. There's no Gitmo or Abu Ghraib if you don't take prisoners, so let's not take prisoners.

It is far past time to bring actual treason trials. Jane Fonda still needs to pay for adhesion to the enemy in time of war, but she gets the same pass as Ted Kennedy does for murder.
4.25.2007 2:10pm
Barry P. (mail):
If only the CIA hadn't sprung Abdel-Rahman from an Egyptian jail and brought him to America (for his services as a money and arms conduit between the Company and the Mujahadeen) then maybe the first WTC bombing never would have happened. Yet I don't see Ray Fuller or Ed O. calling for Bill Webster's "extrajudicial" execution.
4.25.2007 2:12pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Lynne Stewart's colleague Stanley Cohen bears watching. Like Stewart Cohen represents terrorist groups including Hamas and Syria. He says, "If I don't like the politics of political clients, I don't take the case." He has represented members of the Peruvian terrorist group Shining Path, as well as people like Mousa Abu Marzook who stood accused of torching a New York synagogue, and who now heads the political wing of Hamas in Syria. You can get more details here. By his own words we have to assume that Cohen identifies with the goals of groups and people dedicated to harming the United States. Of course he can't be disbarred solely on the basis of whom he represents. But the legal profession should shun him.
4.25.2007 2:26pm
EH:
Do we even know the nature of the "communication" and the "aiding" enough to make a value judgement as to the severity of their crime (and thus, apparently, to cast moral aspersions)?
4.25.2007 2:29pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
her heart was in the right place for those on the left-adamantly against her own country and more than happy to support those who would destroy it. in other words, she is a hero.


I think it was more that she was held up as a martyr by many on the Left as "yet another example of how the Bush administration is shredding the Constitution" -- in this case by going after an attorney that was suspected (rightfully) of aiding an abetting her terrorist client. There was even an episode of Law &Order "Open Season" which was based on her case which did everything it could to make her seem sympathetic and even suggested that the Bar Association would name an award after her for what she'd done.
4.25.2007 2:41pm
ed o:
she was feted in law schools after indictment. she was defended by the Center for Constitutional Rights, the organization which is coordinating the defense of Gitmo terrorists by the "pro bono" efforts of large law firms. despite this, I am still supposed to be so credulous as to believe those involved in these activities, on a pro bono basis of course, are just patriotic americans who love this country as opposed to america hating terrorist sympathizers.
4.25.2007 3:01pm
Steve:
she was feted in law schools after indictment.

Heh, I knew the "innocent until proven guilty" hangover from the Duke lacrosse case wouldn't last long.

Some people believed Stewart was being wrongly persecuted by the government for defending an unpopular client. In fact, she turned out to be guilty, so they were wrong. But smearing people as America-haters because they gave her the benefit of the doubt in advance of her conviction is, in fact, an attitude demonstrably at odds with the values expressed in our Constitution.
4.25.2007 3:22pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Jane Fonda still needs to pay for adhesion to the enemy in time of war, but she gets the same pass as Ted Kennedy does for murder."

Ted Kennedy's crime was more like manslaughter than murder. He was certainly guilty of leaving the scene of an accident, yet he never received any criminal sanction. Jane Fonda seems as guilty as Axis Sally (Mildred Gillars) except Gillars had sworn an oath of allegiance to The Third Reich. While she was charged on 8 counts of treason, the jury convicted her on only one: her part in the Nazi play, Vision of Invasion broadcast to the US troops. This play was designed to frighten the Normandy invasion troops. The jury deliberated for a long time indicating they came close to an acquittal. This shows that convicting Fonda of treason would have been more of an uphill battle than Gillars. The Vietnam War was an unpopular undeclared war, and while her activities in Vietnam were certainly used as propaganda, I suspect it would have difficult to prove she deliberately wanted to demoralize American troops.

Nevertheless it's unfortunate that Fonda never really had to suffer for her anti-Americanism. She should have been shunned by society. Unfortunately American society is now divided against itself, which the real shame.
4.25.2007 3:27pm
Observer (mail):
It is common in NY for the courts to disbar felonious attornies rather than permit them to resign. I recently read an article in the New York Law Journal about an attorney who had resigned several years ago, and the courts retroactively rescinded his resignation and disbarred him for lying to the court in the past about his reason for resignation (he failed to disclose that he was under investigation by the US Atty for some financial crime).

The reason for the practice is to prevent the lawyer from concealing his misdeeds from other states where he may also be admitted. If the lawyer resigns voluntarily, no disclosure to other state bars may be required, but all state bars require disclosure if an attorney has been disbarred anywhere.

So Miss Stewart was treated just like anyone else in this regard.
4.25.2007 3:52pm
Houston Lawyer:
Like many others, I didn't give the Duke Lacrosse players the benefit of the doubt until I heard more of the facts. I strongly suspect that those who feted her is law schools were among those still insisting that Alger Hiss was innocent as were the Rosenbergs. For some people, America is always wrong.
4.25.2007 3:54pm
gem (mail):
President Richard Nixon attempted to resign from the New York bar following the Watergate scandal but his attempt was not accepted and he was disbarred. See In re Nixon, 53 A.D. 2d 178, 385 N.Y.S.2d 305 (A.D.1 1976).
4.25.2007 4:06pm
NickM (mail) (www):
Insofar as the "left" is the Cindy Sheehan crowd, many of them do regard Stewart as a hero - Sheehan herself publicly compared Stewart to Atticus Finch (the exact words apparently were "Lynne is my human Atticus Finch.") - AFTER Stewart's conviction.

They're a small percentage of the country, but they make a lot of noise.

Nick
4.25.2007 4:14pm
Tyrone Slothrop (mail) (www):

In fact, she turned out to be guilty, so they were wrong.

Could someone link to an objective and concrete explanation of what she did?
4.25.2007 4:29pm
ed o:
those who regard her as a hero are also the folks who are coordinating the defenses of the Gitmo terrorists. somehow, if there are terrorists around, they seem to be there enabling them and defending them for some reason. is it the love of this country or some pro bono ideal that drives them-nope, we know that is nonsense. people like Stewart hate this country, would gladly see it destroyed and there are tons of lawyers from prominent law firms out there assisting in the process on a "pro bono" basis.
4.25.2007 4:53pm
PersonFromPorlock:

Both Lincoln and Roosevelt...invok[ed] extra-constitutional powers to protect America from the covert spies and saboteurs of their times.

Um. Under the doctrine of delegated powers, the technical term for "extra-constitutional powers" is 'oxymoron'.
4.25.2007 5:21pm
Yankev (mail):
The ABA Journal wrote a sympathetic article when she was first indicted. One defense lawyer said that the indictment made her (the lawyer being quoted) fearful of incurring prosecution, and threw all the standards into doubt. I wrote an article to the Journal replying that when in doubt, don't pass along murder orders from your imprisoned client to his followers -- one of the things that Stewart was in essence accused of. The orders involved ending a truce with the Egyptian government and resuming attacks on Egyptian troops, if I recall.
4.25.2007 5:43pm
Yankev (mail):
I sense that Duke is going to be invoked ad nauseam.

Here's a clue -- unlike the Duke defendants, Stewart received due process, there is reasonable ground to believe that a crime was committed and that she committed it, and no one is putting up wanted posters all over her neighborhood holding her accountable for every crime ever committed against the United States.
4.25.2007 5:46pm
Steve:
Huh? Stewart has now been properly convicted. That has nothing to do with the absurd claim that people must be America-haters if they doubted her guilt before a conviction was entered.
4.25.2007 6:08pm
HLSer:
Stewart spoke at Harvard Law School not long ago, sponsored by the ACLU. She certainly seemed to consider herself a martyr, and the vast majority of the audience seemed happy to agree with that assessment. It was pretty disgusting.

4.25.2007 6:20pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
I previously summarized the charges made against Stewart at StubbornFacts. One of the charges for which she was convicted involved passing on a statement by the Abdel-Raman that he no longer supported a cease fire being observed by his followers and supporters in Egypt. She also distracted guards so he could slip messages to others visiting with them.

Not only did she contribute to the terrorism actions which Abdel-Raman signaled through her from prison, she dealt a massive set-back to those who advocate for criminal defense lawyers to be made available to terrorist suspects. By betraying her oaths and exceeding the scope of proper zealous representation, she gave ample ammunition to critics who argue against such representation.
4.25.2007 6:30pm
ed o:
she is an america hater. her conviction has nothing to do with it-it is, quite simply, a fact based on her ideals. I am afraid that those who associate with her are of a like mind with the woman's evil. of course, I think you know that but the misdirection is a little too obvious. are those from the "Center for Constitutional Rights" any different from her as to the goals they espouse-no. is it a surprise that where you find terrorists and america haters, you find them. not really.
4.25.2007 6:56pm
John Herbison (mail):
What became of the present aspect of the clear and present danger test? Has Lynn Stewart's communication in fact killed more or fewer people than Laura Bush's car?
4.25.2007 7:18pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Steve,

What you're ignoring is the difference between the benefit of the doubt and praise. It would be one thing if people had said, "Let's not jump to conclusions on Stewart" before her conviction. (*) What actually happened was that some schools and leftist individuals were honoring her while she was under indictment.



(*) Except that the difference between Duke and Stewart was that from the beginning there was a lot of evidence of innocence and prosecutorial misconduct in the former case, and a lot of evidence of guilt in the latter.
4.25.2007 7:49pm
anonVCfan:
I think the difficulty that some people may have with this turns on the evidence against Stewart and not on the supposition that criminal defense lawyers should generally be able to help criminals commit crimes while they're defending them.

I don't think anyone thinks that mob lawyers should help imprisoned mob bosses order hits, or that Stewart should be allowed to help Abdel-Rahman commit more terrorism from prison. As PatHMV sets out, the crimes of which Stewart was convicted are quite serious.

So... I suspect that the people who support Stewart either (1) aren't familiar with the specific facts and think that Stewart was tarred for telling Abdel-Rahman's kids that he loves them or something like that, or (2) suspect that the evidence against Stewart was weak and that she was essentially someone who stepped up in defense of an unpopular cause and was retaliated against for it.

I know nothing of the evidence against Stewart, I assume that the jury did its job properly, and until I learn further information, I'm happy that she's disbarred.
4.25.2007 8:04pm
neurodoc:
So long after her conviction, she's still out on the street, making public appearances and speaking to the faithful? When is she going to start serving the time she so richly deserves to do?
4.26.2007 12:43am
LM (mail):
Heh, I knew the "innocent until proven guilty" hangover from the Duke lacrosse case wouldn't last long.

Some people believed Stewart was being wrongly persecuted by the government for defending an unpopular client. In fact, she turned out to be guilty, so they were wrong. But smearing people as America-haters because they gave her the benefit of the doubt in advance of her conviction is, in fact, an attitude demonstrably at odds with the values expressed in our Constitution.


Agreed. I'm not ready to associate myself with ed o's view, which throws out a whole lot of decent, if often misguided babies with a small, but intolerably fetid puddle of bath water.

That said, the correct punishment for Stewart was firing squad, then disbarment.
4.26.2007 3:31am
scooby (mail):
Heh, I knew the "innocent until proven guilty" hangover from the Duke lacrosse case wouldn't last long.

Oh, shut up. The Duke case wasn't about "innocent until proven guilty," it was "they've been proven innocent, and the prosecution's been hiding the evidence." There's no similarity here.
4.26.2007 10:10am
Ofc. Krupke (mail) (www):
In the interests of irony, I present this quote from Ms. Stewart herself, which appeared in Monthly Review, November 22, 2004:
I'm such a strange amalgam of old-line things and new-line things. I don't have any problem with Mao or Stalin or the Vietnamese leaders or certainly Fidel locking up people they see as dangerous. Because so often, dissidence has been used by the greater powers to undermine a people's revolution. The CIA pays a thousand people and cuts them loose, and they will undermine any revolution in the name of freedom of speech.

Now there's a believer in Constitutional principle.
4.26.2007 11:33am
LM (mail):
Heh, I knew the "innocent until proven guilty" hangover from the Duke lacrosse case wouldn't last long.

"Oh, shut up. The Duke case wasn't about "innocent until proven guilty," it was "they've been proven innocent, and the prosecution's been hiding the evidence." There's no similarity here."

Does that mean you don't think the Duke students were entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty?

And please forgive me for not shutting up. I didn't realize I had wandered into the Bizarro World of Constitutional principles.
4.26.2007 3:05pm
ed o:
no, just the bizarro world of making analogies that make no sense. Lynne Stewart was a bad person before indictment, committed a crime and continues to be a bad person who hates and would gladly see this country destroyed. she allies herself with the worst terrorists and mass murderers the world over yet is a hero to the left, being feted in law schools with fellow travellers of hers continuing to somehow hold the high ground while defending terrorists at Gitmo. what, in your bizarro world, makes that in any way analagous to the Duke case?
4.26.2007 3:40pm
LM (mail):
It wasn't my analogy; it was an incidental piece of a larger comment with which I agreed. I don't feel strongly one way or the other about the analogy, and probably would have cut it out of my response, but I thought it was kind of funny. Anyway, for clarity's sake (if that's still possible), I'll just repeat what I actually said, quoting the other comment that contained the analogy. That seems especially appropriate since I mentioned you by (screen)name:

"Heh, I knew the "innocent until proven guilty" hangover from the Duke lacrosse case wouldn't last long.

Some people believed Stewart was being wrongly persecuted by the government for defending an unpopular client. In fact, she turned out to be guilty, so they were wrong. But smearing people as America-haters because they gave her the benefit of the doubt in advance of her conviction is, in fact, an attitude demonstrably at odds with the values expressed in our Constitution."

Agreed. I'm not ready to associate myself with ed o's view, which throws out a whole lot of decent, if often misguided babies with a small, but intolerably fetid puddle of bath water.

That said, the correct punishment for Stewart was firing squad, then disbarment.
4.26.2007 4:05pm