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National Lawyer Guild Condemns Lynne Stewart Verdict

The National Lawyers Guild has condemned the verdict in the Lynne Stewart trial and urges defense attorneys to continue representing unpopular clients:

New York. In response to today’s guilty verdict in the Lynne Stewart trial, the National Lawyers Guild condemns the message that the government is sending to defense lawyers who choose to represent
unpopular clients. After deliberating for 13 days, a jury convicted veteran civil rights attorney Stewart, a member of the Guild, on charges of conspiracy, providing material support to terrorists and defrauding the U.S. government. Sentencing is scheduled for July 15. The 65-year-old attorney faces up to 20 years in prison. The jury also convicted Ahmed Abdel Sattar and Arabic interpreter Mohammed Yousry.

Speaking about the prosecution of Ms. Stewart, National Lawyers Guild President Michael Avery said, "The U.S. Department of Justice was resolute from day one in making a symbol out of Lynne Stewart in support of its campaign to deny people charged with crimes of effective legal representation. The government is bent on intimidating attorneys from providing zealous representation to unpopular clients. The National Lawyers Guild strongly urges its own members and other defense lawyers to continue to proudly represent clients who are openly critical of government policies. We will not be intimidated and this prosecution has only strengthened our resolve to oppose the repressive attacks this government has made on the civil liberties of everyone in this country. We will also continue to stand by Lynne Stewart.”

Since Lynne Stewart's April 2002 indictment, the National Lawyers Guild has assisted Lynne Stewart in launching a broad-based, national education campaign about the impact that her indictment would have on
the Sixth Amendment right to an attorney. The government is hoping that lawyers will now think twice before representing clients with unpopular views or related to unpopular causes. Members of the Guild, through its nationwide network of chapters, have also faulted the prosecution of Ms. Stewart based upon violations of the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments. The National Lawyers Guild condemned the
government’s November 2003 federal superceding indictment as a continued attempt to undermine the attorney-client privilege by essentially reinstating the same charges that Judge John Koeltl dismissed as unconstitutionally vague four months earlier.

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    I could guess what the media would say. I could guess what the Guild would say. I am curious to know your thoughts on the matter.

    If she's guilty, she's guilty. Sounds like treason to me...

    Re: National Lawyer Guild Condemns Lynne Stewart V (none / 0) (#3)
    by Andreas on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 05:27:45 AM EST
    Yes, it is an attack on democratic rights. A few older articles about the lawsuit which were published by the WSWS: US government makes closing arguments in frame-up of New York attorney Lynne Stewart By Peter Daniels, 5 January 2005 New York law students honor attorney framed on terrorism charges Dean bans award at graduation ceremony By Peter Daniels, 29 April 2003 US indicts Sheik Rahmanís lawyer, escalating government attack on democratic rights By John Andrews, 11 April 2002

    Re: National Lawyer Guild Condemns Lynne Stewart V (none / 0) (#5)
    by demohypocrates on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 06:37:27 AM EST
    Lawyers have every right to violate agreements with prosecutors and help terrorist clients issue fatwahs calling for the death of U.S. citizens. THAT is the American way.

    Re: National Lawyer Guild Condemns Lynne Stewart V (none / 0) (#6)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 06:46:31 AM EST
    Showing videos of "Osamas greatest hits" at any trial for any charge will lead to a conviction, no bout a doubt it.

    I was reading some of the transcripts (will link if anyone cares) and, if they're accurate, it sure sounds to me like she acted inappropriately. As to whether or not it was illegal, I'm not qualified to opine. My person opinion is that this woman is a communist, an America-hater, and probably smells bad on a sunny day. But, luckily, none of that is illegal in the US. -C

    Just another example of the post 911 paranoia that is allowing for the rapid erosion of even our most basic constitutional rights. This conviction was a foregone conclusion in the minds of most liberals I have spoken with. Certainly I had no doubt of the outcome. Now we can expect a harsh sentence to complete the example to all defence lawyers. Choose your client's well, the life you save may be your own.

    Re: National Lawyer Guild Condemns Lynne Stewart V (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jim Strain on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 08:38:39 AM EST
    There's little doubt that Ms. Stewart acted inappropriately, and deserved some sort of sanction. But the book that was thrown at her by the Ashcroft DOJ was so disproportional that it shocks even those of us who have watched these guys for the last four years. If the agreement she signed was issued by a court, then she should have been charged with contempt and dealt with as appropriate under such a charge. When we see comments asserting that her behavior amounted to "treason" (a charge that always seems to come from the far right), or to see Mr. O'Reilly beating his breast over the fact that Stewart failed to disavow violence under any circumstances (as if those thousands of Iraqi civilians died peacefully of natural causes), well, suddenly it no longer seems so crazy to use words like "fascism."

    "Just another example of the post 911 paranoia that is allowing for the rapid erosion of even our most basic constitutional rights. This conviction was a foregone conclusion in the minds of most liberals I have spoken with. Certainly I had no doubt of the outcome. Now we can expect a harsh sentence to complete the example to all defence lawyers. Choose your client's well, the life you save may be your own." This is balony. She is not ONLY representing her client. She is helping him to communicate terrorists. And the prosecutor has been able to convince 12 jurors, beyond a reasonable doubt, that she has done that. I think it is time to tell the lawyers that they have to play by the rules too. I hope she gets the max sentence possible.

    Well, it sucks that a good lawyer who was willing to take on the toughest cases has been disbarred. But I really don't get why Jeralyn or Chris think she's not guilty. I admit - I have not followed the case closely. But I haven't seen anyone here dispute the contention that she pledged not to pass communications to or from her client and anyone else. She breached that pledge. Maybe she thought it was no big deal, maybe she thought it didn't really bind her, but she couldn't have believed that what she did accorded with what she agreed to, could she? P.S. to the many trolls who inhabit these parts - please remain quiet until the adults have finished having their conversation.

    "Just another example of the post 911 paranoia that is allowing for the rapid erosion of even our most basic constitutional rights." Our most basic human right to assist in issuing fatwahs calling for the death of U.S. citizens, gone like that. What is happening in this country? It's out of control.

    Re: National Lawyer Guild Condemns Lynne Stewart V (none / 0) (#13)
    by Che's Lounge on Fri Feb 11, 2005 at 02:01:30 PM EST
    Since it's apparently open season on lawyers this week, where are all these commenting breast beaters when we find prosecutors have illegally put innocent people in prison on fabrications, extortion and evidence tampering, or witholding evidence? I haven't read the transcripts and am not qualified to give an opinion on the case. What I do know is that the comment by Pat White above was completely subjective and told no facts of the case. Bubbles are pretty but what evidence is there? And how was it obtained? Is there a synopsis somewhere that lists the facts and spares the bellicosity?

    I don't know if the lefties hereabouts are really interested in Stewart's guilt. They're interested in making sure she gets to continue doing what she was convicted of doing. In other words, she did it and lefties are glad.

    text of article deleted, this space is for comments.

    In response to the previous request for a synopsis etc.: TalkLeft's previous coverage is here; The website devoted to the defense of Lynne Stewart is here. It is a good resource for ongoing information about the case, including court transcripts.

    [Sorry for omitted name--I posted those links in response to the request for a "synopsis" etc.] Wonderful tributes to the great Arthur Miller (1915-2005), who died last night of heart failure, are focusing today in part on his fight against Senator McCarthy and McCarthyism, as allegorized in his play The Crucible, and his life-long service to human and civil rights. In his honor, let us not ignore prescient comparisons being made between McCarthyism in the 50s and current government forces fueling such "witch hunts" against Lynne Stewart and other defense lawyers whose "calling" is to defend "unpopular" clients. E.g., check out "Civil Liberties and the New McCarthyism" here.

    But it is simply not the case that there are afoot "'witch hunts' against Lynne Stewart and other defense lawyers whose "calling" is to defend "unpopular" clients" - there are indeed hundreds of attorneys doing just that all the time today, and while they are not popular with everyone, they get to keep doing their jobs without being put in jail. The sky isn't falling because this attorney is found guilty of the charges against her - which were not, we recall, representing a Muslim radical, but assisting him in violating the rules of his detainment, and doing so, as she freely admits, for political reasons (to keep his name in the press, because it was all a political frameup, etc.). There has to be a difference between being an actually progressive person and being a quack (e.g., Ramsey Clark, one of the witnesses called on her behalf).

    Stewart was delivering orders to terrorists from their leader. She was in effect an active member of a terrorist conspiracy. Next you'll be saying that a Mafia don who orders a hit is protected by free speech laws. Of interest here is the fact that prominent lefties are so mired in hatred of the Western democracies that they are willing to defend blatant terrorist conspirators. This says a lot about the depths to which the Left has sunk.