"Defenders of the Unpopular Feel Less Popular"

This is not a good thing for America, regardless of the court arguments.

Lynne Stewart, whom the NYTimes accurately describes as "an outspoken lawyer known for representing a long list of unpopular defendants," has been found guilty of all charges levelled against her by Justice Department prosecutors. The headline on the Times site for a story dealing with reaction within the legal defense community to her conviction is shown above. It's a little cute, but the reality is definitely not.

"I don't think that there's a political lawyer in this country who doesn't believe that the government has a plan to target the lawyers who do what we do and to silence us," said Stanley L. Cohen, one of the country's best-known defenders of militants, terror suspects and other unpopular clients.

. . .

Roger L. Stavis, who worked alongside Ms. Stewart representing another defendant in the case that led to Mr. Abdel Rahman's conviction [it was the lawyer/client relationship of Stewart and Rahman which was the subject of the government's ire - Ed.], said it was regrettable that a lawyer could be convicted of a crime "for her zealous representation of a particularly odious client."

But wait, good people, maybe this isn't such a big problem after all. This regime just sweeps up any number of folks around the earth whom it brands as terrorists, throws them into concentration camps, again anywhere in this Pax America world, and possibly for life, by the admission of its own spokespersons. There they are never charged with any crime, yet they are routinely tortured and denied access to legal counsel. We don't even know who they are or where they are; no list is ever furnished; and the gang in Washington may itself not know about the existence of most of them or the nature of their alleged wrongdoing. The victims' friends and family are normally no better informed about their disappearance than the rest of us.

In the current scheme of things, concerns about legal representation for an accused terrorist may have become irrelevant. Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman was seized and tried long before 9/11, when we are told "everything changed." There have been virtually no trials for real terrorism since, and zero convictions. This government doesn't believe in trials when they can get away with avoiding public airings of its incompetence and evil purposes.

Lynne F. Stewart's trial mave have been the exception which proves the rule.

"Lynne Stewart never ever thought she could blow off the rules that apply to everyone else. She never thought she was above the law. She never supported or endorsed terrorism. Nor did she ever intend to provide material support to terrorists."

Lynne Stewart rightfully deserves the decision by the jury. It remains without doubt that Stewart's intentions were to aid terrorists by confirming to waiting Egyptian terrorists what her client wanted them to know and, further, to joke with her client in prision about their efforts to subvert her own agreement with the authorities which confirms that her actions were willful.

"Lynne Stewart rightfully deserves the decision by the jury."

I vehemently disagree with this statement. Indeed, it is a politically motivated conviction and modern day witch-hunt.

The charges themselves were dropped by a judge in July 2003.

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Published on February 11, 2005 12:16 AM.

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