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"First, you kill all the lawyers"

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No Exit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 07:02 PM
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"First, you kill all the lawyers"
NOTE: "SAMS", or Special Administrative Measures--imposed by the Justice Department, which was Lynne Stewart's opponent in this case, are NOT standard operating procedure, even in federal criminal prosecutions. The premise in this case apparently was that the attorney's OPPONENT was able to impose restrictions on her representation of her client. Think about that for a moment: imagine yourself in a lawsuit, and your opponent's attorney is allowed to tell YOUR attorney what he/she may or may not do in representing YOU. Does that sound fair?

The Cases of Lynne Stewart, Clive Stafford Smith, and Navy JAG Lawyer Charles Swift
The Bush Administration's Assault on Defense Lawyers

In February 2005, attorney Lynne Stewart was convicted of providing material support to a terrorist conspiracy. The charges arose from her representation of Sheik Abdel-Rahman, convicted in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. The government wanted her to serve 30 years in prison. But this Monday, October 16, Stewart was sentenced to 28 months. The translator who was her codefendant, Mohamed Yousry, was sentenced to 20 months. Stewart is free on bail, pending her appeal.


Upon conviction, Stewart commented, "I hope will be a wake-up call to all the citizens of this country and all the people who live here that you can't lock up the lawyers, you can't tell the lawyers how to do the job, you've got to let them operate." But Stewart was wrong.

Her case, the treatment of Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, a career Navy JAG lawyer; and a possible pending investigation of a civilian attorney (Clive Stafford Swift) for a Guantanamo Bay prisoner, evidence the government's modus operandi to try to control attorneys for terrorism suspects or convicts and, if it cannot control them, to punish them--perhaps even charging them as terrorists themselves, as occurred with Stewart.

The Basis for Stewart's Conviction: Violation of Ashcroft's SAMs

After Stewart's client, Sheik Abdel-Rahman, was convicted, he was sentenced to life in prison. Stewart's visits to him (he is now in a federal prison hospital in Minnesota) were governed by Special Administrative Measures (SAMs)--restrictions that Attorney General John Ashcroft instituted in October 2001, to govern visits by lawyers to clients charged with, or convicted of, terrorist crimes. The SAMs ordered Stewart not to discuss anything with Rahman except post-conviction representation, and not to disclose to the press the content of any meetings. In addition, Stewart was warned that her visits would be subject to surveillance and recording. (However, it turned out that the most damaging evidence against Stewart came, instead, from surveillance of the Sheik in accordance with a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant that had been in effect since at least 2000.)

Stewart Is Not Alone In Facing Government Reprisals For Representing A Terrorist

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