Questions persist surrounding her representation withholding details — from her.
There was an odd moment during the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford last Thursday, in a storyline that has already been so odd it has become a prime number. I wrote last week about numerous indicators in Ford’s presentation that revealed the orchestration of the Democratic party behind her appearance, and now one of those details looks as if it may be addressed directly by the Senate leadership.
At one point in Thursday’s hearing, Dr. Ford was asked about the offer that the committee leadership had extended regarding the option to have her testimony taken in California by Senate staff members. This had been during the period of a series of delaying tactics behind her inability to make the original hearing date of September 24. A curious and revealing exchange took place due to this question.
Dr. Ford was genuinely perplexed when she was asked about this remote testimony offer. Immediately her counsel, Michael Bromwich, leaned into the mic and declared that she need not answer, due to attorney-client privilege. The oddness of this declaration was that the committee was asking a committee-specific question. It was apparent that the lawyers had never provided Ford with this offer which would have both helped ease many of her concerns AND saved time.
That last detail seems to be the reason her representation never came to her with the choice, and there could be repercussions for Bromwich and Debora Katz as a result of that legal inertia. In a letter from the Senate Committee of the Judiciary, it is noted that the legal team could very well be in violation of the American Bar Association rules which command that lawyers provide their client with all details regarding their client’s desires and any offers they are provided.
It is not a mystery whether the Senate committee made these choices available. Not only was this reported in the media, but Chairman Chuck Grassley extended these offers to Ford’s team on multiple occasions;
- Sept. 19 – Grassley sent a letter to Katz saying they would speak to her at a time and place of her choice.
- Sept 21 – An email from the committee staff is sent to Katz. This gave her the option of open, closed, public, or private testimony choices, and that Grassley even offers to fly female staff to “California or anywhere else”.
- Sept. 21 — Grassley on Twitter states to Ford they would like to speak with her — “I want to hear ur testimony. Come to us or we to u”.
- Sept. 22 – Email from committee staff repeats the offer to meet with Dr. Ford anywhere she chose, even stating it could be “outside of a hearing setting”.
Not only do these repeated requests defy the media narrative at the time that the GOP was attempting to railroad Dr. Ford into a hastened hearing, they display the unwillingness of the lawyers representing her to even entertain the idea. It is blatant that they intended to stretch out the process as long as possible, and there is a high probability this could have had a negative emotional impact on their client.
As stressful and emotionally trying as this could be for Dr. Ford think of how much has been added to her strife as a result of her lawyers not presenting her with a vastly more comfortable setting. As Ford herself stated, she would have welcomed this opportunity: “I was hoping that they would come to me, but then I realized that was an unrealistic request.” In reality, she was never told that it was realistic.
In the letter the Senate committee makes no mistake they feel ethics violations have taken place;
Clearly, Dr. Ford’s attorneys did not tell her that we could protect her privacy and speak to her in California. The ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct require a lawyer to consult with his or her client about the means to be used to accomplish the client’s objectives—including informing the client of settlement offers.
The committee was also notably direct in declaring partisanship was at play, agreeing with my summation last week that this was an orchestrated attempt. They tried to leverage as much political traction as they could get through her testimony, and how it was presented.
It is deeply unfortunate that Dr. Ford’s Democratic-activist lawyers appear to have used Dr. Ford in order to advance their own political agenda. A lot of pain and hardship could have been avoided had Dr. Ford’s attorneys informed her of the committee’s offer to meet her in California to receive her testimony.
It is rather disgraceful how Bromwich and Katz acted once we see the amount of effort made by the committee to assuage Dr. Ford’s concerns. Once we realize how intent they were to keep her unaware of the options, which she clearly would have accepted, an ethics violation seems apparent. Considering she wanted to remain in California they did a disservice — as she said, “It wasn’t clear to me that that was the case”.
The Bar Association should be very interested in this behavior.
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