Friday, February 08, 2008

More on Ben

Some interesting points --

1. The Southern District of Florida U.S. Attorney's Office did not sign the indictment. It recused.

2. Ben's legal team has already filed a motion to ask for an early status conference to address "unprecedented" issues.

3. Lots of coverage around the blogosphere and the press. TalkLeft, AbovetheLaw, Discourse, WSJ.

4. Did Ben's politics have something to do with it? Some have contended that because Ben is a liberal Democrat, he may have been targeted. Others disagree. What do you all think?

I note here that I previously posted quotes from Jeff Weiner, a nationally respected criminal defense lawyer who is actively defending Ben publicly and privately. Jeff had one quote in the DBR about his perception about the prosecutor in this case. It did not occur to me that someone -- especially anyone that knew Jeff -- could misread the quote as defending the prosecutor or the prosecution. Apparently, some people did misinterpret Jeff's quote. For that I am sorry, and I wanted to clear this up -- Jeff believes that Ben is innocent and that the prosecution is unjust. He also believes that Ben is being prosecuted because he is a prominent criminal defense lawyer, not a prominent Democrat. The quote from the DBR unfortunately only had this last part and may have left the reader with the wrong impression. I hope this update clears that up.


Anonymous said...

The local US Attorney's office, and those who lead it, have shown their true colors - they are both hypocritical and timid.

Sure Mr. Acosta can march into a press conference and announce the indictment of true criminals, reaping the "glory" from the act.

But, when it came time to tell justice that what they were alleging was totally out of character to Mr. Kuehne, and that any benefit of doubt should be given to his benefit, where were Mr. Acosta and other prosecutors to say that every thing they know about the man and his reputation lend to a different conclusion than indictment?

The office took the easiest path and "flew below the radar" both trying to avoid having to stand up to DOJ to make sure justice is done; and, tried to escape the blame of those in our community who rightfully question the total lack in judgment in indicting Ben.

Sure, the US Attorney for the SD of Fla's name may not be on the indictment, but he is just as guilty for this unfolding travesty as those whose name is on the indictment.

If this not be the case, if there were back room discussions in which the SD office truly tried to avert this injustice, then I hope those facts come to light. I would prefer to believe our public officials have good moral fiber.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Kuehne is not the honorable fellow so many defense lawyers think he is.

Anonymous said...

Or, maybe government lawyers are just jealous of good defense lawyers who beat them.

I can imagine it would be tiring working in that kind of bureaucracy -- taking orders from people dumber than you who rise to the top because they have the one valuable instinct that helps in that situation -- the "I don't care, I can lay low" instinct.

It must be hard working all day for little reward, little recognition, with the only pleasure left at the end of a long day to come when you get home and kick your dog.

Anonymous said...

As a former AUSA - all I have to say to this thread, as well as many other threads that talk about DOJ "retaliation" of one sort or another, is that anyone who makes those types of accusations clearly gives way too much credit to the organizational abilities of DOJ. DOJ just does not operate in an organized or cohesive manner to the degree that would be necessary for AFMLS in DC to put together an indictment against a lawyer in Miami purely for revenge.

Anonymous said...

Did you kick your dog?

Anonymous said...

Those of us who work in the criminal justice system know that the most common tragedy, but a tragedy nonetheless, is when an individual who otherwise might have led a law-abiding and admirable life, succumbs to bad judgment or greed. Let's wait for the evidence to come out. While many are focusing on the fact that BK's fee was small, that ignores the many other ways that BK could have received a "kickback" for his services such as referral of cases etc. That said he BK is innocent till proven guilty and he'll have his day in court.

Anonymous said...

In response to 9:53, where's the love for your colleagues on the other side of the aisle? The overwhelming number of AUSAs (and AFPDs) are ethical, smart lawyers who try their best to do the right thing. You give the defense bar too much credit when you suggest that their occasional victories inspire hate and jealousy in AUSAs. The fact is they go home at the end of the day and move on to the next case. While many defense lawyers would love to go back to old days of free flowing, illegally tainted money, the simple fact is that defendants should not be allowed to benefit from their misconduct in that fashion. Those who facilitate that (and I'm not saying that BK did; we'll wait and see), should be held accountable.

Anonymous said...

5:02, you have calmed me down. Please forgive my transgression earlier and put a stop on the subpoena.

Seriously, I think what you said is true with the State prosecutors, but the AUSAs really seem to take things personal. Don't forget the State has money laundering laws too, and individual State Attorneys have a hellova lot more power than individual AUSAs (one man/woman grand jury). How many times have you seen State ASAs investigating lawyers -- specifically as a result of a case they tried against the ASAs office?

Anonymous said...

5:19, this is 5:02 again. I will definitely admit that it looks bad. But, and I know many people view this as a distinction without meaning, the indictment suggests that the case was handled out of Main Justice. In any event, can we agree as a matter of intellectual honesty, that if information surfaces that a defense lawyer (hell, any lawyer) has aided money laundering, that they should be investigated? I think those who value the reputation of the defense bar for principled and zealous advocacy would understand that. As a former AUSA, I know many of them and, obviously, the USAO is a very large office and we can't say that none of them take things personally. But the overwhelming number of them--in my experience-- don't pull anything underhanded and when they lose they'll be the first to offer their hand in congratulations. I have nothing but the upmost respect for lawyers like Al Krieger, Mel Black, et al. who not only were excellent adversaries, but gentlemen as well. I would even go so far as to say that it was a learning experience.

Anonymous said...

I guess people never do anything 'out of character' though I read all the news online everyday and there are people everywhere across this great nation of ours that do things out of character... so how can that even be any defense at all?