Defending Lynn Stewart

Fox News Sr. Judicial Analyst Andrew Napolitano rocks today in his passionately defense of New York defense attorney Lynne Stewart in the New York Times.

Ms. Stewart's constitutional right to speak to the news media about a matter of public interest is absolute and should prevent the government from prosecuting her. And since when does announcing someone else's opinion about a cease-fire - as Ms. Stewart did, saying the sheik no longer supported one that had been observed in Egypt - amount to advocating an act of terrorism?

In truth, the federal government prosecuted Lynne Stewart because it wants to intimidate defense lawyers into either refusing to represent accused terrorists or into providing less than zealous representation. After she was convicted, Ms. Stewart said, "You can't lock up the lawyers, you can't tell the lawyers how to do their jobs."

No doubt the outcome of this case will have a chilling effect on lawyers who might represent unpopular clients. Since 9/11 the federal government's message has been clear: if you defend someone we say is a terrorist, we may declare you to be one of them, and you will lose everything.

The Stewart conviction is a travesty. She faces up to 30 years in prison for speaking gibberish to her client and the truth to the press. It is devastating for lawyers and for any American who may ever need a lawyer. Shouldn't the Justice Department be defending our constitutional freedoms rather than assaulting them?

Civil liberties expert Elaine Cassel says the Stewart verdict stretches the definition of terrorism to new limits.

Now, however, the First and Sixth Amendments have been gutted—at least in terms of the attorney-client relationship. Indeed, as I argued in the first article I wrote about Stewart, the government seems to be conducting an all-out assault on the right to counsel.

Defense attorneys who represent alleged terrorists – or even detainees who are merely suspected of some connection to terrorism—now know that the government may listen in on their attorney-client communications. They also know that this eavesdropping may give rise to evidence that may be used in their own prosecution for terrorism if they cross the imaginary line drawn by the government. How can these attorneys be zealous advocates with this government-inspired fear overshadowing their every word?

They're both right.

< Company Backs Out of Kid Tracking Plan | Perspective: Frank Rich on Jeff Gannon >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Re: Defending Lynn Stewart (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 04:09:46 AM EST
    But he's on FOX! There must be a catch ...

    Re: Defending Lynn Stewart (none / 0) (#2)
    by Andreas on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 05:38:35 AM EST
    The conviction of New York civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart on charges of aiding terrorism is a travesty of justice. It is a major blow against the right of criminal defendants to defend themselves, a right provided by the Sixth Amendment of the US Bill of Rights. ... The trial itself presented numerous echoes of the McCarthyism of more than 50 years ago. Just as Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage on the basis of hysterical and false claims that they were responsible for giving the “secret” of the atom bomb to the Soviet Union, the prosecutors in the current trial demonized Stewart as a traitor and cross-examined her on her political views. Statements by her that violence was sometimes necessary to overthrow oppressive governments were used to argue that she advocated the overthrow of the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak. This was the charge sanctimoniously leveled by a government which boasts of the “regime change” it carried out through unprovoked aggression in Iraq at the cost of tens of thousands of lives.
    New attack on democratic rights in Lynne Stewart case New York civil rights attorney convicted on frame-up terror charges By Peter Daniels, 14 February 2005

    Re: Defending Lynn Stewart (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 06:16:57 AM EST
    And against Mubarak, the poster boy for "democratic regimes"

    Re: Defending Lynn Stewart (none / 0) (#4)
    by cp on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 07:24:19 AM EST
    i have to admit to a bit of confusion. i read the charging documents, and i'm still a little lost on exactly what it is she has purported to have done that would, to any reasonable person, constitute "terrorism", or aiding and abetting terrorism. she did, however, appear to violate the terms of the agreements she signed, multiple times, whereby she agreed to not present his comments, communications, etc. to outside parties, including the press. she also agreed to strictly limit her communications with her client to legal issues. what obvious thing did i miss here? it would seem to be more of a contractual issue, than a criminal issue. she violated the terms of the contract between herself and the government. i can only assume this will be overturned on appeal, and the justice dept. slapped, in the face, by the appelate judges.

    Re: Defending Lynn Stewart (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 07:34:32 AM EST
    She didn't do anything and she has been attacked for political reasons. The government must keep up its propaganda for its own programs of total destructive political ideals.

    Re: Defending Lynn Stewart (none / 0) (#6)
    by Kitt on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 08:33:14 AM EST
    I'm beginning to think Andrew Napolitano is schizophrenic. One day he's your typical Fox commentator; the next, defending the Lynn Stewarts of the world. I did like this: "And since when does announcing someone else's opinion about a cease-fire - as Ms. Stewart did, saying the sheik no longer supported one that had been observed in Egypt - amount to advocating an act of terrorism?" If Napolitano weren't so eager to side with the likes of Sean Hammity and Puffy Colmes (that's the correct team, isn't it?)or other of Fox's crews, then perhaps I'd be more inclined to at least listen to him. Elaine Cassel is certainly much more credible and consistent.

    Re: Defending Lynn Stewart (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 11:54:17 AM EST
    Re: Defending Lynn Stewart (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 01:06:04 PM EST
    They came for Lynn Stewart... They came for the 'radicals'... Then they came for me and there was nobody left to defend me. How do we support Lynn Stewart and thank those like Andrew Napolitano and Elaine Cassel who have done so publicly?

    Re: Defending Lynn Stewart (none / 0) (#9)
    by Aaron on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 09:33:46 PM EST
    I want to take issue with the continued misrepresentation of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg's conviction. AFAIK they were legitimately convicted on their accomplices testimony of passing nuclear weapon secrets to the russians. nuclear weapon secrets. could there have been anything worse??? To be clear Ethel was not an active participant but was present when it happpened. Jeez Nuclear Weapon secrets. Anyway theres plenty of injustice in the world. Pick another one to complain about injustice. And btway- pointing to a pair of 'commie traitors' when the left is under attack for being 'traitors' is kinda assinine.

    Re: Defending Lynn Stewart (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Feb 18, 2005 at 09:45:37 AM EST
    "She didn't do anything" Right, she did nothing. Didn't serve as a terrorist messenger or anthing.

    Re: Defending Lynn Stewart (none / 0) (#11)
    by cp on Fri Feb 18, 2005 at 05:44:17 PM EST
    "Right, she did nothing. Didn't serve as a terrorist messenger or anthing." if, by "terrorist messenger" you mean someone who passes information directly between terrorists, or terrorist groups, then no, that wouldn't appear to be the case. if, on the other hand, you mean someone who speaks to the press, about her client's case, then i guess she is. of course, by that definition, so is gw, since he speaks to the press about osama bin laden, et al, all the time. so, when can we expect to see gw tried for these crimes?

    Re: Defending Lynn Stewart (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Feb 20, 2005 at 02:55:45 PM EST
    I'd take issue with the comment above that Judge Napolitano's defense of Lynne Stewart is somehow suspect or "schizophrenic." In his book "Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws" he discussed the Lynne Stewart case at length, blasting the Justice Department for prosecuting her for doing her job as part of his lengthy attack on the Bush Administration's overzealous response to 9/11 and its contempt for civil liberties since it began its war on terror. I'd also note Hannity & Colmes is the ONLY Fox News show that has not allowed Judge Napolitano on the program to discuss his book. He hasn't been on with Hannity in years, probably because Hannity is too partisan and thin-skinned to allow someone smart on his program who might disagree with him. Anyway, as I posted in another thread, I'd recommend Napolitano's book. It takes the government to task for its crushing of civil liberties and human freedom and is far from what you would expect from your average Fox news guy.

    Re: Defending Lynn Stewart (none / 0) (#13)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Feb 23, 2005 at 03:57:48 PM EST
    Justise is served "Prosecutors said Stewart crossed the line between advocacy and helping her client. The jury agreed, convicting Stewart of providing and concealing material support to terrorists, conspiracy and making false statements after 13 days of deliberation." She had a defense attorney, she had a jury, and she had her day in court. The evidence was presented and the jury decided she was one bad ass. Where is the problem?