This panel focused on the implications of leaks and the law. The discussion touched on the role of whistle blowers, journalists and the attornys that defend them. Using modern day examples such as Wiki-Leaks and other DOJ filed suits, the panel disected the legal process gone through from the time a leak is discovered to exoneration or conviction.
Photo: Panelists discuss Leaks and the Law
Scott Shane, The New York Times; Thomas Drake; Baruch Weiss, Arnold & Porter
Justin Shur, MoloLamken; Judge Reggie Walton, US District Court for DC; Eric Lieberman, The Washington Post
Abbe Lowell, Chadbourne & Parke, LLP
Ronald Abramson, NYU Trustee
Panelists discuss Leaks and the Law
Thomas Andrews Drake is a former senior executive of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and a decorated United States Air Force and United States Navy veteran. He has experience with computer software, linguistics, management, and leadership. He is also a whistleblower. In 2010 the government alleged that he 'mishandled' documents, one of the few such Espionage Act cases in U.S. history. His defenders claim that he was instead being persecuted for challenging the Trailblazer Project. He is the 2011 recipient of the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling and co-recipient of the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII) award.
On June 9, 2011, all 10 original charges against him were dropped. He rejected several deals because he refused to "plea bargain with the truth". He eventually pleaded to one misdemeanor count for exceeding authorized use of a computer; Jesselyn Radack of theGovernment Accountability Project, who helped represent him, called it an act of "Civil Disobedience."
Eric Lieberman is the General Counsel for The Washington Post. He has worked for The Post since 1998. In addition to reviewing Post articles prior to publication, Lieberman has focused on helping journalists gain access to public records. He also makes sure that Post reporters maintained the promises of confidentiality made to their sources and avoided a confrontation with the federal courts and the special prosecutor. He works with other media organizations to press Congress for a “shield law” that would provide reporters with a qualified right not toidentify confidential sources in federal court proceedings. Before joining The Post, Lieberman was an associate at Williams & Connolly where he represented clients in both civil and criminal matters. He graduated from Harvard College and Duke Law School, where he was the Administrative Editor of Law & Contemporary Problems. Following law school, he clerked forChief Judge James L. Oakes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.Lieberman has also served on the boards of the of the Maryland‐Delaware‐District of Columbia Press Association, the Virginia Press Association, the Council for Court Excellence, the D.C. Legal Aid Society and the Court‐Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program of Montgomery County, MD.
Abbe David Lowell is the head of Chadbourne's Litigation Department and chair of the Firm's White Collar Defense, Regulatory Investigations and Litigation Group.
Mr. Lowell is one of the nation's leading white collar defense and trial attorneys. His practice focuses on litigation, special investigations and regulatory enforcement. In his extensive career, Mr. Lowell has represented numerous high-profile clients and provided counsel in matters of national and international importance. He has successfully tried numerous complex civil and criminal cases throughout the United States, and has briefed and argued dozens of appeals before federal and state appeals courts and before the Supreme Court of the United States.
In addition to trying cases and arguing appeals, Mr. Lowell advises clients in their dealings with U.S. Congress and its committees, other legislative bodies and numerous federal and state regulatory agencies. He also works with clients on internal investigations, voluntary disclosure decisions and developing compliance programs to prevent issues from arising with law enforcement agencies.
In criminal matters, Mr. Lowell has successfully avoided charges or defended clients against a wide array of charges, including conspiracy, election law violations, bank fraud, insurance fraud, bankruptcy fraud, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations, mail and wire fraud, securities fraud, money laundering, public corruption, honest services fraud, false claims act, obstruction of justice and false information charges and violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). In civil cases, he has helped clients win in cases of breach of contract and fiduciary duty, FCPA violations, civil rights violations, conspiracy, employment discrimination, negligence, RICO violations, securities fraud, tortious interference with business and unfair trade practices. He has conducted internal investigations responding to government, whistleblower or other allegations of FCPA, money laundering, securities and other law violations.
Mr. Lowell has been counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives twice, most recently when he was Chief Minority Counsel during impeachment proceedings against President Clinton and before that as special ethics counsel to the House Committee of Standards of Official Conduct (Ethics Committee).
From 1994 to 1996, he was appointed as Special Counselor to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the investigation and prosecution of human rights violations, war crimes and other human rights projects in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. Mr. Lowell has also served at the U.S. Department of Justice from 1977 to 1981 as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, Special Assistant to the Deputy Attorney General and Special Assistant to the Attorney General.
His high-profile clients have included public officials (Governor Jim Gibbons, Senators Robert Torricelli, John Ensign and John Edwards, Reps. Gary Condit, Charlie Wilson, Walter Fauntroy, Harold Ford, Bill Boner, Jim Weaver, Austin Murphy and Joe McDade, N.Y. Majority Leader Joe Bruno and Puerto Rico Senator Hector Martinez), international organizations (U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights), state and local governments (City of Alexandria, Virginia), government lobbyists (Jack Abramoff; former AIPAC official Steve Rosen), businessmen (Gene Phillips and Sam Waksal), actors (Steven Seagal, Sean Combs) and others.
Abbe has been recognized by various publications ranging from The National Law Journal to Chambers, as one of the most influential and most successful attorneys in the United States. Abbe’s writings on legal issues and current political events have been widely published. He has written op-ed pieces for newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today and Roll Call, as well as articles for legal publications and websites, such as Business Crimes Bulletin, American Criminal Law Review, Law.com, The National Law Journal and Legal Times. He also wrote the chapter, “The Penal System Is Broken” for Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, a book edited by Larry King.
Scott Shane is a reporter in the Washington bureau of The New York Times, where he writes about national security and a range of other subjects. In this role, Mr. Shane has written about the nature of the terrorist threat, the reorganization of intelligence agencies, the government’s secret effort to reclassify historical documents, the explosion in federal contracting and the Justice Department’s secret legal opinions approving harsh interrogation techniques. He joined The Times in October 2004.
Justin V. Shur is a highly regarded trial lawyer, having successfully tried dozens of cases before juries and judges across the country. Drawing on his extensive experience in private practice and as a former federal prosecutor, Mr. Shur represents companies and individuals in high stakes civil litigation, as well as complex white collar criminal, regulatory, and compliance matters. He is also called upon to conduct corporate internal investigations and to respond to sensitive inquiries by government agencies on behalf of clients in the United States and abroad. Mr. Shur’s practice has involved a wide variety of legal issues, including securities and accounting fraud, antitrust, health care fraud, campaign finance, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Prior to joining MoloLamken LLP, Mr. Shur served as Deputy Chief of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division, where he investigated and prosecuted white collar crime on a national level. In this role, he supervised more than 30 federal prosecutors and oversaw some of the nation’s most significant fraud and corruption investigations and prosecutions. Mr. Shur also served as lead trial counsel in several important and high-profile cases, including the successful prosecution of a senior White House official for obstruction of justice in connection with the Jack Abramoff investigation. Earlier in his career, Mr. Shur was a principal with Kobre & Kim LLP, and an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan.
Outside the courtroom, Mr. Shur frequently speaks and writes on a variety of topics relating to corporate criminal liability and risk management. He has lectured at the American Bar Association, the D.C. Bar, the Department of Justice, and other organizations, and regularly teaches trial advocacy to practicing lawyers and law students around the country. Mr. Shur has provided commentary and insight on legal issues for The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, Financial Times, The Washington Post, and other national news outlets. He currently co-chairs the American Bar Association's White Collar Crime Subcommittee on Public Corruption and serves on the Board of Directors of the Council for Court Excellence.
Judge Reggie B. Walton assumed his position as a United States District Judge for the District of Columbia on October 29, 2001, after being nominated to the position by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate. In May 2007, Chief Justice John Roberts appointed Judge Walton to serve as a Judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which is a 7-year appointment. Judge Walton was also appointed by President Bush in June of 2004 to serve as the Chairperson of the National Prison Rape Reduction Commission, a two-year commission created by the United States Congress that is tasked with the mission of identifying methods to curb the incidents of prison rape. Former Chief Justice Rehnquist appointed Judge Walton to the federal judiciary's Criminal Law Committee, effective October 1, 2005. Judge Walton previously served as an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia from 1981 to 1989 and 1991 to 2001, having been appointed to that position by Presidents Ronald Reagan in 1981 and George H. W. Bush in 1991. While serving on the Superior Court, Judge Walton was the court's Presiding Judge of the Family Division, Presiding Judge of the Domestic Violence Unit and Deputy Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division. Between 1989 and 1991, Judge Walton served as President George H. W. Bush's Associate Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the Executive Office of the President and as President Bush's Senior White House Advisor for Crime.
Before his appointment to the Superior Court bench in 1981, Judge Walton served as the Executive Assistant United States Attorney in the Office of the United States Attorney in Washington, D.C., from June, 1980 to July, 1981, and he was an Assistant United States Attorney in that Office from March, 1976 to June, 1980. From June, 1979 to June, 1980, Judge Walton was also the Chief of the Career Criminal Unit in the United States Attorney's Office. Before joining the United States Attorney's Office, Judge Walton was a staff attorney in the Defender Association of Philadelphia from August, 1974 to February, 1976.
Judge Walton was born in Donora, Pennsylvania on February 8, 1949. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from West Virginia State College in 1971 and received his Juris Doctorate degree from The American University, Washington College of Law, in 1974.
Judge Walton has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including his inclusion in the 2001 edition of The Marquis Who's Who in America, the 2000 edition of The Marquis Who's Who in the World, the 2000 North Star Award, presented by The American University, Washington College of Law; the 1999 Distinguished Alumni Award presented by The American University, Washington College of Law; the 1997 Honorable Robert A. Shuker Memorial Award, presented by the Assistant United States Attorneys' Association; the 1993 William H. Hastie Award, presented by the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association; the 1990 County Spotlight Award, presented by the National Association of Counties; the 1990 James R. Waddy Meritorious Service Award, presented by the West Virginia State College National Alumni Association; the Secretary's Award, presented by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1990; the 1989 H. Carl Moultrie Award, presented by the District of Columbia Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; the Bar Association of the District of Columbia's Young Lawyers Section 1989 Award for Distinguished Service to the Community and the Nation; the 1989 Dean's Award for Distinguished Service to The American University, Washington College of Law; and the United States Department of Justice's Directors Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney in 1980. In addition, April 9, 1991, was declared as Judge Reggie B. Walton Day in the State of Louisiana by the Governor for his contribution to the War on Drugs. Judge Walton was also commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel by Governor Wallace G. Wilkinson in 1990 and 1991, which is the highest civilian honor awarded by the state of Kentucky. Numerous mayors in cities throughout the country have bestowed similar honors on Judge Walton.
Judge Walton was one of 14 judges profiled in a 1994 book entitled "Black Judges On Justice: Perspectives From The Bench." The book is the first effort to assess the judicial perspectives of prominent African-American judges in the United States.
Judge Walton traveled to Irkutsk, Russia in May 1996 to provide instruction to Russian judges on criminal law subjects in a program funded by the United States Department of Justice and the American Bar Association's Central and East European Law Initiative Reform Project. Judge Walton is also an instructor in the Harvard University Law School's Advocacy Workshop and a faculty member at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada.
Judge Walton has been active in working with the youth of the Washington, D.C. area and throughout the nation. He has served as a Big Brother and frequently speaks at schools throughout the Washington Metropolitan area concerning drugs, crime and personal responsibility.
Judge Walton and his wife are the parents of one daughter.
Baruch Weiss is a trial attorney focusing on white collar and complex civil litigation. His practice includes securities fraud cases (both criminal and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigations), off-label investigations of the pharmaceutical industry, homeland and national security investigations including Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) enforcement, public corruption, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigations, administrative and criminal immigration enforcement actions against employers, and tax evasion. He has also handled complex civil antitrust litigation on behalf of a major pharmaceutical client. In addition, Mr. Weiss has extensive experience handling criminal appeals.
From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Weiss worked at the Department of Homeland Security serving as Acting Deputy General Counsel overseeing all the department's 1400 attorneys, and as Associate General Counsel. He supervised the chief counsels of Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Customs and Border Protection; Transportation Security Administration; and Citizenship and Immigration Services. His areas of responsibility included criminal law, immigration enforcement, immigration services, customs enforcement, customs trade, aviation security, transportation security, and Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
From 2002 to 2003, Mr. Weiss served as Assistant General Counsel for Enforcement at the Department of the Treasury. There, he managed the legal work of more than 250 attorneys, including the chief counsels of Customs; Secret Service; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. He oversaw legal matters relating to customs enforcement, customs trade, criminal law, and national security; supervised the drafting of USA PATRIOT Act regulations governing financial institutions; and worked extensively on issues of money laundering and terrorist financing. He also worked closely with OFAC.
Mr. Weiss spent 18 years with the United States Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York as Senior Trial Counsel, Deputy Chief Appellate Attorney, Acting Chief of Major Crimes, and Chief of General Crimes. As Senior Trial Counsel, he had extensive experience in a wide range of cases (securities fraud, bank fraud, wire and mail fraud, government contract and healthcare fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, and public corruption), as well as terrorism and international criminal matters.