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March 2018

The documents that show Ralph Blewitt was arrested, ready to be charged over the Gillard/Wilson Kerr St purchase

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On 8 May 2014 - almost 4 years ago, Ralph Blewitt was arrested, fingerprinted, interviewed by detectives at the Victoria Police Fraud Squad offices and told he would be charged with fraud over the purchase of the Kerr Street property.

POL.ICE: Do you agree that you've been advised you're under arrest on suspicion of obtaining property by deception

BLEWITT: Am I under arrest?

POLICE: Yes.

A few weeks earlier, on 9 April 2014 Commissioner Dyson Heydon AC QC gave the opening address at the first sitting of his Royal Commission of Enquiry into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.

Those who may wish to suppress true evidence or give false evidence or interfere with documents  must  remember this....each of those offences is punishable by imprisonment for terms ranging from six months to five years.

If, despite these heavy criminal sanctions, the conduct prohibited takes place, it is open to draw factual inferences against the persons responsible. That is because, for example, the conduct of giving deliberately false oral evidence, or procuring the giving of deliberately false oral evidence, or failing to give oral evidence, can suggest that the conduct proceeds from a fear based on the consciousness that the truth would be adverse to some position adopted by the person responsible for the conduct.

It can be easy to infer that the consciousness is soundly based. Similarly, the conduct, for example, of falsifying documents, or destroying documents, or concealing documents, can suggest that the conduct proceeds from a fear based on a consciousness that the actual document would be adverse to some position adopted by the person responsible for the conduct. For who knows how much harm a particular piece of evidence can cause better than the person who wants to suppress it or destroy it?

Dyson Heydon's strength is in speeches and fine sentiments.  Action apparently is not his thing.

On the same day as Commissioner Heydon opened the batting - 9 April 2014 - Detective Sergeant Ross Mitchell met with Ralph Blewitt's lawyer Bob Galbally.

Mitchell had two things on his mind - laying charges over the Kerr Street purchase, and gaining Ralph Blewitt's cooperation in testifying against his co-offenders - plural!

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Letter to Ralph Blewitt - April 2014 by Michael Smith on Scribd

 
Detective Sergeant Ross Mitchell was in charge of Victoria Police's Operation Tendement, a broad ranging enquiry into The AWU Scandal.
 
Mitchell had made significant progress during the 16 months his task force of detectives had been investigating Gillard, Wilson, Blewitt and others.  
 
He'd located Gillard's builder Athol James who'd retained reams of paperwork from the months he'd spent renovating Gillard's house.  And Mr James was "certain" - Bruce Wilson provided the money to pay for Gillard's building work, peeling off notes from "great wads of cash".
 
Mitchell had his share of setbacks too.  
 
In May 2013 Mitchell and his team raided Gillard's former law offices at Slater and Gordon.  
 
Ralph Blewitt waived any claim to client legal privilege over the documents Mitchell and his team seized - but Bruce Wilson fought the police tooth and nail.  And thanks to a $4M grant from Labor's then Federal Attorney General Mark Dreyfuss to the Public Interest Legal Clearing House, Bruce Wilson had a team of QCs to help him.
 
In April 2014 the search warrant material was still in legal limbo with Wilson's federally funded team stretching proceedings out.  
 
Mitchell didn't know it then, but he'd struck gold at Slater and Gordon, with the hand-written notes of former Slater and Gordon managing partner and now Federal Court Judge Bernard Murphy:

(Wilson) instructed us to set it up (Workplace Reform Association).

he had then received monies into it improperly.

he spent the monies improperly

he involved us in criminal wrongdoing, re the house (Kerr Street Fitzroy purchase)

Agreed I wld contact John Cain from MB on behalf of Wilson to negotiate a redundancy package + resignation for Wilson in the hope that if he left there wld be no further investigation.

It made sense to wait for the courts to finalise Wilson's claim over legal privilege before interviewing Wilson or Gillard.
 
But Mitchell didn't need to wait to interview Ralph.  Ralph had waived his legal rights and was champing at the bit to cooperate with police - even if it meant incriminating himself.
 
Bob Galbally sent his 11 April letter to Ralph Blewitt by email.  Minutes after he received the note, Ralph was booking flights.  He couldn't wait to get back to Melbourne for his interview with police, even though he'd have no immunity from prosecution.
 
Ralph's wife Ruby packed his Sunday best - and he'd only discover when he put his suit on that Ruby had also packed his pockets.
 
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On 8 May 2014 Detective Sergeant Mitchell arrested Ralph Edwyn Blewitt and placed him in a CIB interview room.
 
Blewitt stayed in that room for a gruelling four and a half hour video and audio recorded interview with Mitchell and another detective.
 
 
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Ralph and the police sat down at 10.37AM.
 
The transcript goes for 167 pages.
 
Detective Sergeant Mitchell spoke first - here are a few direct quotes taken from the transcript, Mitchell speaking:
 

O.K. So the reason you're here is - and it's been widely publicised is in relation to certain things that happen with you, Bruce Wilson and also the ex-Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard. 


And certain things were done, whether in Victoria or Western Australia, but certain things were done in Victoria to - and this is what I want to interview you about......

Now, Ralph, would you agree that the - fundamentally how we came to be here this morning is that via your solicitor, Robert Galbally, I requested to formally interview you in relation to certain allegations of a premises in Kerr Street, Fitzroy, that was purchased, I believe, with funds that were stolen 

And I advised Bob Galbally that subsequently you'll be charged in relation to your - the criminal offences that took place in Victoria and as - the obtaining of the Kerr Street property by deception 

Right at the outset, confirmation that Ralph would be charged over his role in the Kerr Street purchase.  

And so would others.

Mitchell delivered the legal niceties, covering off the caution without which Blewitt's answers might be inadmissible in court:

I wish to talk to you about obtaining property by deception and that is fundamentally the purchase of a premises in Kerr Street, Fitzroy, in your name for the benefit, I believe, of Bruce Wilson, that occurred in the early 90s. Before I do, however, I advise you that you're not obliged to say anything unless you wish to do so and anything you do say or do will be recorded and may be given in evidence. You can answer some questions and not others. Do you understand what I've just said?
 
It was a broad-ranging and very detailed forensic interview.  Mitchell was interested in Gillard's role in the incorporation of the sham Workplace Reform Association - particularly the appeal against the Commissioner for Corporate Affairs in his decision to knock the incorporation back:

You've now gone to Victoria to meet with Julia Gillard, Bruce Wilson is with you and you say Bernard Murphy is there. O.K. Now, you're doing that because you've attempted to incorporate an association called the Workplace Reform Association and it's been rejected by the commissioner on the basis it sounded too much like a union.
That's correct.


But the reason that you've applied for this association is so Thiess can pay the AWU, is that right, for a workplace representative at the Dawesville project?
Yes.

From the policeman's own mouth, the reason for getting the sham incorporated wasn't to set up an election fund, it was so Thiess could make the payments from the Dawesville project.

The Fraud Squad detectives asked lots of open questions.  There's no attempt to lead Blewitt in giving his answers.   And they'd persist until they got what they wanted, like this about the slush fund:

Q. What's another term used for this kind of money?

A. Slush fund.


Q. O.K. It's been bandied around in the media again in relation to the slush fund, O.K., and that term was used, I believe, by Julia Gillard in her exit interview. Have you ever heard about the exit interview she did with Peter Gordon? 

I have heard of it.
O.K. So she used that term. Is this the slush fund you believe she was referring to?

And Mitchell was pointed about where some of the slush fund money went - particularly given what he knew about the strength of builder Athol James's recollections and evidence about Gillard's renovations: 

There's been certain allegations raised about some of the money being used for renovations on Julia Gillard's house. Have you got any comment to make about that? 

I attended the Abbotsford property on arrival in Melbourne, went into the house. Bruce Wilson was there, Gillard was there in the front of the house, I walked past her on the way in, "Oh, Bruce is out the back, Ralph." The whole thing was just open, you know. I walked through. Wilson was in the kitchen area. There were some renovations going on, think the verandah predominantly, but I think some of the kitchen from - but certainly the verandah outside. There were three other persons there, to the best of my recollection. Bruce Wilson said to me, "Have you got that - you bring that money?" And I go, "Yeah, mate." He then asked me to give whoever that tradesperson was - and I can't recall now - $7000. 

Blewitt was extensively quizzed about Kerr Street and the roles Gillard and Wilson played in the purchase.  Overall, Gillard's name was brought up 38 times:

I'd spend Friday night, Saturday night in Melbourne with Wilson and I'd occasionally - and most times I'd stay at Kerr Street. 
On most instances Gillard was there and around. We used to go and have coffee at the Fitz Cafe, or whatever it was, just on the corner.  And breakfast and that, and we were just good mates, you know. 

On and on they went.  And there was no "if or but" during the formalities at the end of the interview - Ralph Edwyn Blewitt was formally advised he would be charged over the Kerr Street fraud

As I said, you're gunna be charged with obtaining property by deception. You do not have to say or do anything unless you wish to do so, but whatever you say or do may be recorded and given in evidence. Do you understand this?
Yes.
Do you wish to say anything in answer to the charge? No.
Do you wish to make a further statement in relation to the matter?
No.
I've got to ask you some questions in relation to your fingerprints. You are believed to have committed the offence of obtaining property by deception. Your fingerprints are required for the purposes of identification. Your fingerprints may be used in evidence in court. If you refuse to give your fingerprints voluntarily a member of the police force may use reasonable force to obtain them.

That was May 2014 - almost 4 years ago.

Police were obliged to wait until Wilson's legal privilege claim was finalised.

That happened in late September 2014.

Just before Dan Andrews and his CFMEU/Labor mates were elected to form the new Government of Victoria.

Police Commissioner Ken Lay lasted a few days under the Andrews regime.

The puppet who replaced him is no Ken Lay.

With its new Labor government, Victoria got a new Solicitor for Public Prosecutions.

John Cain Jr, the same man mentioned in Judge Murphy's confessional notes about Murphy involving Gillard and the Slaters crew in criminal misconduct over the Kerr Street purchase.

Corruption?  You be the judge, it's hard to find good ones these days.

I posed two rhetorical questions to myself in the hope they might clear things up.

Q: What is it with this matter?

A: GILLARD

Q: Why are authorities so reluctant to act?

A: GILLARD

Man up authorities!!!!!

Cain and Ashton's circus decided no charges would be laid in Victoria.

They hospital-passed the files to Western Australia.

WA's DPP said that if Ralph behaved himself and met all the costs, he might be able to arrange to get himself charged with a criminal offence over The AWU Scandal.

Seriously!

 

 

DPP Response - Blewitt by Michael Smith on Scribd

 
And that's how Blewitt came to be before WA's courts.
 
There's no Mark Dreyfus with $4M from federal coffers for Ralph.
 
But he has a pretty good legal team and he knows his rights.
 
It'll be great to watch Bernard "Julia, You Bloody Beauty" Murphy get sworn in to explain his hand-written notes about Wilson and the Thiess secret commissions.
 
Thiess executives Nick Jukes and Joe Trio should pull a court-room crowd too.
 
And it'll be lovely to see John Cain Jr and Ms Gillard jump the box.
 
But why aren't they in the dock?
 
I will shortly file charges against Gillard.  I am proceeding carefully - as I become aware of the existence of new evidence I'm waiting until I've secured possession of that evidence - and done so in such a way as to ensure it can be admissible in court.
 
But seriously - I shouldn't have to do it, and it's most unbecoming to see this unfinished business and to have to ask for your support to keep our little operation limping along in survival mode.
 
Where are the weak-as authorities?
 
The AWU Scandal was just that, scandalous.  But it's the coverup that gets them in the end.
 
And the cover-up in The AWU Scandal is a lot more than just scandalous.
 
It's a serious perversion of the course of justice.
 
And the perverts will be held to account.
 
That's a promise.
 
Every touch leaves its trace.
 
 

Pauline Hanson with questions for Julie Bishop over Australian aid funding for Palestinian terrorists

Great to see Senator Hanson following up last week on Australian aid to Palestinian terrorists.

You might want to read along with Senator Hanson from our post on 26 January!

 

Julie Bishop's $44M PA "Australia seeks to align its support with the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) objectives"

 

I could not believe this when I read it.

But there it is in black and white on the DFAT documents about our $44M per year to these savages:

Our Aid Investment Plan aligns with the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) National Policy Agenda.

Australia  seeks  to align its  support  with the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) objectives

Australian money aligned with the policy agenda and objectives of the Palestinian Authority.

The destruction of Israel?????????

http://dfat.gov.au/about-us/publications/Documents/aid-fact-sheet-palestinian-territories.pdf

http://dfat.gov.au/about-us/publications/Pages/aid-investment-plan-aip-palestinian-territories-2015-2018.aspx

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PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PAID TERRORISTS NEARLY $350 MILLION IN 2017

BY LAHAV HARKOV
 
 JANUARY 9, 2018 16:40
 

Defense Ministry exposes Palestinian terror price list of how much prisoners get on crime scale.

3 minute read. 
 
 
An IDF soldier stands next to a blindfolded Palestinian prisoner
 
 
 

An IDF soldier stands next to a blindfolded Palestinian prisoner. (photo credit: REUTERS/IDF HANDOUT)

The Palestinian Authority paid terrorists and their families over $347 million last year, according to its own records, the Defense Ministry reported to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.

The average income of a Palestinian is $580 per month, which is what the PA pays terrorists who are sentenced to three to five years in prison

The PA pays terrorists who are sentenced to 20 years or more in prison – in other words, those who committed more severe crimes, and likely were involved in killing Israelis – five times that each month for the rest of their lives.

Terrorists who are Israeli citizens receive a $145 bonus, which, when added to the amount PA pays for the most severe crimes, comes to over $2,900 a month, more than the average Israeli income of around $2,700. There are also increases in pay for being married and for each child a terrorist has.

409167
Palestinian terrorists' income per month. (JPOST STAFF)


Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said, “The PA pays over a billion shekels a year to terrorists and their families, thus encouraging and perpetuating terrorism.

“The minute the amount of the payment is decided according to the severity of the crime and the length of the sentence – in other words, whoever murders and is sentenced to life in prison gets much more – that is funding terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. There is nothing that better illustrates the PA’s support for terrorism. We must stop this,” he said.

Liberman presented the data to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday, along with his bill to deduct the equivalent amount to what the PA pays terrorists and their families, from taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the PA.

The bill is based on a proposal by Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern, which in turn was inspired by the US Taylor Force Act, legislation written by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) that would stop all US aid to the Palestinians as long as they pay salaries to terrorists and their families. The bill, named after an American victim of Palestinian terrorism, passed the House of Representatives in December and is awaiting Senate approval.

The Defense Ministry version of the bill will likely go to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation in three weeks, with a first reading in the Knesset in the ensuing days.

The bill explains the mechanism by which the money will be deducted. The deduction will be monthly, and will be one-twelfth of the amount that the PA paid terrorists and their families in the previous year.

A “terrorist” is defined in the bill as anyone who committed a security offense, whether or not he or she was convicted by a court or is still living.

Each year, the defense minister will bring the Ministerial Committee for National Security a report on how much the PA paid terrorists, directly or indirectly. The report will be classified, but the defense minister will be allowed to publicize a summary consisting of non-classified information from the report.

The ministers will then decide whether or not to deduct the amount paid to terrorists from the taxes and tariffs collected by the Israeli government for the PA. They can decide to deduct a smaller sum than what the PA had paid the terrorists.

The ministers can also decide not to deduct the funds, “for special reasons of national security and international relations.”

Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter (Likud) said he finds it problematic that the Defense Ministry version of the bill can allow the ministers to not deduct the funds, which he said “negates the most significant part of the bill.”

“If the Palestinian Authority has budgetary problems, it shouldn’t be the State of Israel’s problem,” Dichter said. “Government ministries have to take into consideration this situation: A terrorist’s entry card to become a [PA] state employee is to commit an act of terrorism.

It’s not amorphous. It’s precisely defined. Seven percent of the money we transfer to the PA goes to terrorists. We cannot let this be.”

You migh

 


Slater and Gordon - the last payee on the Workplace Reform Association's cheque for $67,000 - Ralph Blewitt's amazing windfall!

Many thanks to SteveJ and Marmion for their substantial contributions to this post.

On the afternoon of 19 July 1996 Bill Ludwig's lawyer Brian Kilmartin (from Sciacca and Co) phoned Susan Grant of Slater and Gordon's finance department.

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Two days later on 24 July 1996 Peter Gordon spoke with Kilmartin.

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On 30 July, Geoff Shaw attended a conference with a solicitor from Victorian legal practitioners professional indemnity insurance provider - Geoff Masel of Phillips Fox.

This list describes the Kerr Street related receipts, ledgers and cheque details that Shaw took to the meeting.

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On that same day, Shaw spoke to Kilmartin.

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On 5 August Shaw sent the Slater and Gordon financial ledgers for the Blewitt conveyance and mortgage to Kilmartin.

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That same day, Kilmartin wrote to Shaw effecting service of a Subpoena for the Blewitt conveyance and mortgage files.




1110- Subpoena for Production LUGWIG v HARRISON & ORS 95-1296 by Michael Smith on Scribd

And here's the issue that both SteveJ and Marmion raised with me in separate emails over the past few days.

It relates to this handwritten note.

Screen Shot 2018-03-26 at 1.52.17 pm

Trust Receipt last payee.

I'll let StevenJ take it from here.

The thought occurred to me that it would be unusual for a solicitor from Brisbane to be ringing someone in the accounts department of a solicitor in Melbourne.

That wouldn’t normally occur unless it related to a current matter and involved some fund transfers.

The call was obviously about the Kerr St transaction and in particular the $67k. Something that had happened 3½ years previously and in which Sciacca’s had only one involvement we know of.

How did he have the name “Susan Grant”.

Could this have been the person to whom the fax was addressed?

Any chance of tracking her down?

Also it looks to me like the handwritten note says “trust receipt last payee” with last crossed out.

Looks like this list is what Gordon wants a subpoena from Kilmartin about.

A payee is of course the person to whom payment is directed.

A trust receipt would evidence a payment directed to S&G trust a/c. It is a receipt to the payer not the payee.

The note seems to indicate some understanding that there was a chain of payees before it hit the S&G trust a/c.

I have said before that the Sciacca’s fax must have been along the lines of “the WRA owed Blewitt and paid him by cheque which he then endorsed to S&G trust a/c and arranged a direct deposit”.

Again it has always really been about how did Sciaccas get involved and who instructed them. It has to have come from Wilson and how did he get the name of the person in accounts that it had to be directed to.

Can only have been JEG or NOB.

ENDS

Marmion was on the same page as Steve.

It was unprofessional for Kilmartin to ring Susan Grant directly without the prior agreement of SGA partners. Shows Ludwig was throwing his weight around.
 
How did Kilmartin know of Grant?
 
Maybe, Ludwig had first rung Gillard asking who was Slater's accountant that he should ring?
 
Since this was only weeks after Madgwick's judgment that Blewitt repay his redundancy, I suspect Ludwig was chasing down any funds Blewitt had received from the AWU-WRA Inc.
 
As I noted in my online comment, Kilmartin was acting on Ludwig's instructions, so his enquiries of SNG actually reveal a lot of Ludwig's knowledge and involvement.
 
And this is Marmion's brilliant comment from a previous post touching on this matter.
 
Solicitors act only on the instructions of their client.

Brian Kilmartin acted for Bill Ludwig, when he sought information directly from Slater & Gordon’s accountant rather than approaching the partners first.

Then, his subsequent conversations with Peter Gordon and Geoff Shaw show much of Bill Ludwig’s knowledge of the matter including:

1. The odd incorporation of the AWU-WRA Inc under non-industrial legislation;
2. The receipt by the AWU-WRA Inc of payments from Theiss;
3. The payment on 18th March 1993 of an AWU-WRA Inc cheque for $67,722.32 to Slater & Gordon’s Trust Account;
4. Something about the nature of the Trust Receipt issued by Slater & Gordon for this payment NOT showing the AWU-WRA Inc as the drawer of the cheque, but perhaps showing instead the name of “the last payee” – whatever that means;

So, why would Bill Ludwig have such knowledge to give these instructions to Brian Kilmartin?

What WAS his role in the matter?

 
More soon on the extent of Slater and Gordon's file-filleting before the subpoena was returned.

We used to be a nation that played cricket

I first published this editorial in January 2013 - 5 years ago.

Back then I would never have thought "whatever it takes" syndrome would infect Australian cricket.

Sadly the past 5 year have brought a steady decline in our country's standards and our national character.

Reading the piece again today I'm just as fired up now as I was 5 years ago.

I promised you then that we'd see this thing through - and we will.

 

 

 

 

In August, 2011 I was very sure of myself, my country and our future.

I'd just interviewed Craig Thomson MP and he disclosed the he authorized HSU money being used to pay for a series of brothel bills.   Some months later Victoria Police took a statement from me, incorporating the record of interview with Thomson and other evidence.   I was told that police intended to charge Thomson.   Fair Work Australia has adduced substantial evidence against him, he made certain admissions to me, I've seen the credit card, licence, mobile phone and other evidence led against him in Supreme Court defamation proceedings - what could be clearer I thought?  Pull him in, interview, fingerprint, photograph, charge, bail.

I'm in the unique position of being a witness in the Thomson matter, thus police who have called me as their witness have some obligation to stay in touch.   I ask the same questions that you ask, what on earth is taking so long?   How can such a weight of evidence, a deficiency in the financial accounts, the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars with a named offender not result in an interview and charges?   What's the delay?

I'm told that Victoria Police is producing a brief of evidence that will withstand the vigourous defence we've been led to expect.   But there is more to it than that.   I cannot imagine a divisional manager in a business in the private sector, accused of the same crimes as Thomson, being able to throw at police such delaying tactics in the investigation stage as has Thomson.   It is beyond the resources of one man to produce sufficient substantive reasons for delay, re-work, re-taking of witness statements and the like as has been the case with Thomson.

Thomson has at his side the Prime Minister.   From my earliest days in broadcasting assertions about him - that he was a liar and a thief - Ms Gillard was effusive and complete in her support.  "He's doing a great job and I fully support him."  Even after he admitted using HSU money - she continued the support.   See, this is the nub of the problem we face.

We used to be a nation that played cricket.   A gentleman's game.   We walked if we were out.   A man's reputation was central.   Even our highest institution, the Parliament, operated with uncodified traditions of gentlemanly behaviour and ministerial responsibility.   We didn't need laminated bullet point codes of conduct in a frame on the wall.   We learnt right and wrong and we acted on it and our mates pulled us into line if we needed it.

The Thomson matter is the most clear cut example of the Gillard/Conroy/Shorten/Roxon/Emerson/Swan/O'Connor et al disease that's blighting us.   It's not what's right, it's what you can get away with.  It's not what happened, it's what can be proved to have happened.   And the content of your character is immaterial, of no account whatsoever.

You are a mouthpiece.  A blank canvas.   You can announce the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar, the start of a carbon tax, a promise there will be no carbon tax, your unconditional support for Craig Thomson, your withdrawal of support for Craig Thomson and make it all sound the same.   You can say it's all on the public record.   I did nothing wrong.  Then when new things come out, bit by bit, you shape your focus-grouped answers subtly to suit the changing disclosures.  Where am I, oh yes, today's truth.

Better still, don't get drawn into a discussion on the truth.  Target a well-intentioned, self-examining person with a conscience who makes admissions about his weaknesses.   Turn his honesty against him.   Hammer, beat, slash, grind, scratch him - make him the issue.

But he's not the issue, whether his name is Tony Abbott, Ralph Blewitt or Bob Kernohan.   You are.   What you did to get to where you are is the issue.   What you did to cover it up.   What you did and continue to do to genuine people, real people with feelings, families and a normal, non-sociopathic capacity to absorb psychological trauma.   You are cruel and vicious and you have regard only for yourself, not the wives and families of the men you routinely seek out, not even your own inconvenient child.   Only you.

That's the issue.   You take the centre-stage position.    You conjure up the gallery, light the lights, open up the microphones, cue the theme - listen to me.   This is important.   This is the way it is now. Craig did no wrong.   It's a smear, it's sexist, it's misogynist.   I'll shape the agenda.   But the good guys didn't go away with Craig.   They didn't give up.  And slowly, the community woke up.   This is bullshit, this story doesn't make sense, this bloke is having us on.   First it was just the HSU members who Craig had extracted his play money from.   But the word spread, slowly, surely, amongst good people. And then when the focus groups said so, when the line on an issues management chart had been crossed, Craig was cut free in the most painless way possible, to sit as an "independent".

He'll be charged.   It will happen.   You can keep the delaying tactics up if you are Bill Shorten, the HSU, the Labor Party and its associated networks, but only for so long.

And as happened when we came to understand what Craig is alleged to have been up to - so will we all come to understand what you were up to with Bruce and the slush fund.   And you'll pay.   It will take time because you'll make sure it will take time.   Every step will be painful because you'll make it painful.   You lie, you conceal, you make no admissions in the face of overwhelming evidence.   But we are made of sterner stuff and we care,  my God we care.   And we won't stop.   Never, ever.   We won't put up with you changing our understanding of morality - we know right from wrong and we try to do right.

But you have something missing. 

Something stinks in contemporary Labor.   They've attracted a bunch of misfits, crooks, shysters and cheats who don't fit in to normal social structures.   Labor has to fix itself - its medicine can't be prescribed from outside the organisation.

But until it does, we have a crew of soulless, empty talking-heads who manipulate the Labor indulgence and patronage system to ensure they are voted into the parliament by that solid rusted-on reliable Labor vote.   And they are changing our country.

Don't let them.   Get active.   Tell your friends.  It will happen if you make it happen.   You get what you put up with.

So I am up for the truth this year.   And I hope you are too.


Dan Andrews was playing from the Bill Shorten copybook in election rorts - here's the sworn evidence

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Fiona Ward with Shorten.

UPDATE

My apologies first up to Brisbane's Fiona Ward.  I mistakenly published a photo of the wrong Ms Ward yesterday, and thanks to John Ward for pointing my error out.

ENDS

Fiona Ward worked full time to get Bill Shorten elected.

Only Bill Shorten didn't pay her.

Fiona was paid by miners, cleaners and mushroom farmers.

The problem for Bill, Fiona and the mushroom people - just like Dan Andrews Victorian taxpayers - is that Bill never thought to tell them.

Here's Fiona's secret evidence to the Trade Union Royal Commission.

WardMFI 1 FionaWard Private Hearing by Michael Smith on Scribd

 

Here's the incomparable Seeker of Truth putting it all in perspective.

 

Ward was working for a Victorian politician who was about to retire so she needed to find another job. It was Bill Shorten who personally approached her and offered her the job of campaign officer. Ward was involved in the right faction of the party. Shorten then had an employment contract prepared for her by an AWU staff member. Her job description was "tasks as directed by the National Secretary and focus on community and political campaigning as per National Executive decisions." Her role never involved working at the AWU office; at all times she was based at Shorten's campaign office in Moonee Ponds along with his dodgy campaign manager Lance Wilson. She worked on the "Labor for Maribyrnong" campaign. She admits that she did not see herself working for the AWU; she just worked for Bill Shorten in connection with his campaign and part of her job was recruiting volunteers. Ward admitted that her role did not encompass any services for the Union.

After completing her work as Shorten's campaign officer, Fiona Ward then scored a job with Federal Minister Nicola Roxon as a media adviser. Upon Roxon's retirement, she worked for Roxon's replacement in the seat of Gellibrand. She then moved across to work for Wade Noonan as the State member for Williamstown. Upon his early retirement, Ward nominated for pre-selection for that seat and later another State seat but was unsuccessful. She has now been rewarded for her services to Vic ALP with a job as Senior Government Relations Adviser (Regional Rail Revival) - ‎Melbourne Metro Rail Authority (MMRA). Sounds a bit like Gillard's girlfriend Robyn McLeod.

It is a pity that Fiona Ward's evidence to TURC was taken in private session. The media never had the opportunity to read it at the time. It proves that it was Shorten who had instigated and controlled this rort with AWU members' money; it was no internal error by AWU staff.


Valorous French policeman who offered himself for a woman hostage shot and killed by Islamist terrorist

THE gendarmerie officer who volunteered himself as a hostage in exchange for civilians during an Islamic State terror attack in southern France has been shot and killed.

Colonel Arnaud Baltrame, 45, was one of the first policemen to arrive where ISIS-linked terrorist Redouane Lakdim, 25, opened fire on shoppers and staff before taking them hostage.

Beltrame too was gunned down during the attack, after he had offered to swap places with a female hostage.

“He volunteered to take the place of the other hostages and has been very seriously wounded,” President Emmanuel Macron said in a televised address.

“He saved lives and did honour to his corps and his country,” Macron added after a meeting with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and security officials.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb confirmed his death, saying: “Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame has passed away. He died for his country. France will never forget his heroism,” the minister wrote on his Twitter account.

Arnaud Beltrame, the officer who offered to be swapped for a female hostage. Picture: Ouest France via AP

Collomb praised Beltrame for his “courage” and “act of heroism”.

“They managed to get some of the people out,” he said.

Lakdim kept one female hostage to use as a human shield. Beltrame then offered to take her place.

He knew what he was getting into when he arrived on the scene of the attack because he had been to a terror training scenario of a mass killing in a supermarket in nearby Carcassonne just four months ago.

Beltrame also “left his telephone on the table”, to allow police to hear what was going on inisde the store, Collomb said.

“When we heard shots the GIGN (France’s elite police force) intervened,” Collomb said, adding that the policeman was “seriously injured”.

ENDS

Why is there any debate about how we should deal with Islamic State supporters, particularly those who've gone overseas to fight with them?

Supporting our country's enemy is treason, a capital offence in our system (although the death penalty is off the table).

We in the West have lost so much of our confidence and strength.

Consider the parallels between William Joyce - better known as Lord Haw Haw - and Jihadis.

 
Before World War Two Joyce was politically active in Britain as a fascist. 
 
In late August 1939, shortly before war was declared, Joyce and his wife Margaret fled to Germany. Joyce had been tipped off that the British authorities intended to detain him under Defence Regulation 18B. Joyce became a naturalised German citizen in 1940.
 
To draw the comparisons with contemporary Islamists who say they believe in their cause, Joyce:
 
  • had sincerely held beliefs in fascism and the Nazism
  • abandoned his life in the UK,
  • moved his family to Germany (before war was declared)
  • renounced his citizenship
  • became a naturalised German citizen
 
None of that saved him from the consequences of his treachery.
 
He was hanged by the neck until he was dead.
 
We did that because we were clear about our principles.
 
The Islamic State is comparable to the Nazi regime.
 
We remain at war with it.
 
Why aren't Australians who fight for it - like Haw Haw - charged with treason and made to take their medicine?

Brilliant interview with our friend & new Trump legal team pick Joe diGenova

This is 5 years old - it'd have taken quite the imagination to see Joe and President Trump working together back then!

But what a life!

Corruption busting in Congress, a long term assignment investigating US union corruption - and a youth surrounded by opera, artists and the classics!

I'll bet he cooks a mean pasta too!

Screen Shot 2018-03-25 at 4.18.05 am

A Conversation With Joseph diGenova

From Washington Lawyer, February 2013

By Kathryn Alfisi

Joseph diGenova’s notable legal career in the District of Columbia has taken him from Capitol Hill to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia to private practice, while his visible media presence has made him known far outside the Beltway. For the past seven years, diGenova and his wife, Victoria Toensing, have headed diGenova & Toensing, LLP where diGenova handles white collar criminal defense cases and represents individuals and organizations in congressional investigations.

For four years diGenova served as U.S. attorney for the District, during which time he supervised federal criminal and civil matters involving international drug smuggling, public corruption, espionage, insider trading, tax fraud, extradition, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, export control, and international terrorism. He worked on the case involving Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard and the TWA Flight 847 hijacking case, and conducted a corruption probe in the D.C. government that led to the conviction of two deputy mayors.

In 1997 diGenova was named special counsel to investigate the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and, as a result, he now sits on the Independent Review Board that oversees the Teamsters.

In addition, diGenova has experience on Capitol Hill. He was chief counsel and staff director of the Senate Rules Committee and counsel to the Senate Judiciary, Governmental Affairs, and Select Intelligence committees. He also served as administrative assistant and legislative director to U.S. Senator Charles Mathias.

Washington Lawyer recently talked with diGenova about his varied career, his wife and law partner, and his prominent media presence.

Where were you born?
I was born in Wilmington, Delaware, on February 22, 1945.

What was your childhood like? Were there any lawyers in your family, or did you have any interest in the law when you were young?
My childhood was pretty spectacular. My father was an opera singer and I was raised around what I call “circus” people; the people in American operatic theater are quite remarkable. Our family lived music, art, and literature; it was wonderful.

There were some politically active judges and lawyers who were friends of the family, but I had no interest in the law early on in life. I became interested in politics when I was around 10 or 12 years old, and I got a subscription to The New York Times as a birthday present when I was about 14. Politics was something that just interested me. I was fascinated by the political process.

For high school, I went to a private boys’ school called Salesianum, run by the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, that was pretty strict. We took Latin and Greek, studied the classics, and had philosophy and cosmology classes. When you’re at a place like that, you tend to develop rather eclectic tastes. At a place where learning is so important, you don’t feel like you’re limited. I developed a great interest in the American political system through the study of the classics and American history and government.

The Kennedy election also was a great driver of my interest in politics, and as a Catholic, it seemed very important to me that there was a Catholic running for president. My family was friends with some priests from our parish who were very politically astute, and while some really wanted a Catholic to be president, others didn’t because they were afraid that Catholics would be blamed for everything under the sun.

When did you decide to go to law school?
In high school I knew I wanted to study political science, but when I went to college, it became readily apparent that you couldn’t do anything with a political science degree except teach, which I wasn’t interested in at the time. I decided that the best way to make use of my political science knowledge was to get a law degree. I didn’t have any desire to be a trial attorney or a government official; I just thought that since I didn’t want to teach, a law degree would be a good next step for improving myself and giving me some options.

I went to Georgetown [University Law Center] and enjoyed it immensely. I could have gone to the University of Pennsylvania or Fordham University, but I wanted to be at the seat of government in Washington, D.C. At the time, Georgetown Law was located on Fifth and E streets, in what was a ramshackle old building. It was at the height of the Vietnam War, and during my senior year, all classes were eventually canceled because of the invasion of Cambodia. Every day there seemed to be a riot in the city, which could make it difficult to conduct business, but I loved being there at that time. I really loved being here at the center of power and politics.

Did you know what you wanted to do with your law degree once you graduated?
No, I actually didn’t know. After I graduated, I did a clerkship with Judge George R. Gallagher of the D.C. Court of Appeals. He was an amazing mentor for me, and my clerkship may have been the single most important legal experience of my life in terms of getting me to understand more of what the law could do and what it was about. Also, he was such a fabulous judge, so distinguished and honorable, and that had a profound influence on me.

After the clerkship, I decided I needed some time to figure out what I should do next, so I went to Cincinnati and worked on this political/legal project at the University of Cincinnati for a year. Then I decided that I needed to get some litigation experience, so I went back to Washington and spoke with Judge Gallagher, who called a friend at the U.S. Justice Department and got me an interview with the U.S. Attorney at the time, Harold Titus. In those days, they didn’t have hiring committees; you got references and then went before the U.S. attorneys for an interview, and the next day you found out if you were hired. I was hired as an assistant U.S. attorney and had the time of my life.

What did you like about the experience?
It was exciting. In those days, you would learn how to try cases by being thrown into D.C. Superior Court. It was the best possible training to learn litigation and to learn about how to put a case together and about judges and juries. It was a fantastic experience. I was there for about three and a half years before I got a chance to work up on the Hill for Senators John Tower and Howard Baker on the “Church Committee,” which was investigating the alleged misdeeds of the American intelligence community. [The Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities was informally known as the Church Committee after its chair, Sen. Frank Church.] That proved to be a wonderful decision on my part because I got to meet some great lawyers and a number of U.S. senators, including Charles Mathias of Maryland, whom I ended up working for.

How did you get to work on the Church Committee?
I was playing in a softball game on the Mall and the guy playing second base was named Mike Madigan, a great lawyer, and although we had never met before, he had heard of me from some of the guys in his office when he was asking for people who might want to go work on an investigation of the intelligence community. I slid into second base and he tagged me, and while we were standing there he asked if I would come to the Hill to be on this committee. I said I would think about it. Later, I went and and talked to him about the committee, and I was offered a job as counsel to one of the senators.

I knew with every bone in my body that this was the right thing to do. Every day was more interesting than the next; it was a changing experience for me because I got to see the inside of a Senate committee and everything that goes along with it—the good, the bad, and the ugly. I got to see how a committee functions and how personalities are so important in what happens.

As a result of the committee job, I was asked to work for Attorney General Edward Levi, who, at that point, had been appointed [by the Ford administration] to lead a committee to deal with the disclosures about FBI domestic spying operations. Then I got a call from someone who I had worked with on the Church Committee and who was then Senator Mathias’ chief of staff asking me if I wanted to work for the senator. I went and talked to them and I got an opportunity to be counsel to the Senate D.C. Committee.

This proved to be another phenomenal experience because Senator Mathias was an elegant, thoughtful, and brilliant senator. I got a chance to be on the Judiciary Committee, to do work on the Foreign Relations Committee, and, of course, the D.C. Committee overseeing what was going on in the District. Eventually, I came to be Senator Mathias’ chief of staff and run his campaign, which he won. In 1981 the Republicans took over the Senate, and Senator Mathias became chair of the Rules Committee; I became staff director and chief counsel. I learned a lot, had a great time, and made some friends who I have to this day.

You seemed to always be ready when a new opportunity presented itself. Weren’t you ever nervous or hesitant?
I’ve been very lucky and had some great opportunities. As for being nervous, once you’ve tried cases, pretty much anything else is child’s play. Besides, I’ve always had a keen interest in politics, so everything I’ve done has seemed kind of natural to me.

I was never interested in making a lot of money. I could have practiced law with my wife and son at a big firm and made a lot more money, but that wasn’t interesting to me because you can’t do the same things as when you have your own firm. Big firms don’t want their lawyers to represent the kind of people that we represent from time to time, and we’ve had some wonderful experiences representing people from inside and outside the country.

Speaking of your wife, Victoria Toensing, where did you meet her?
I met her at the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit. My boss, Senator Mathias, was chair of the Maryland delegation to the convention, and we were among the few members of Congress interested in keeping the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the Republican platform. The senator and I went to an ERA march, and at this square in downtown Detroit, there was this beautiful woman in a Susan B. Anthony outfit selling pins that had elephants on them and read “ERA-GOP.” I asked her how much they were, and she said they cost $3 a piece. And then I asked her how many she had, and she said she had 30, and then I said, “I’ll take them all.” And when I paid for them, I also got her name and phone number. Unbeknownst to me at the time, she came to Washington regularly because she was an assistant U.S. attorney in Detroit and used to teach at what was then called the Attorney General’s Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C., where they taught people to try cases. She was one of the premier drug-case prosecutors in the country, so she lectured about that. We got married in June 1981, about a year after we met.

When we got married, she moved here and went to work for Barry Goldwater. Goldwater had become chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and had hired Fred Thompson, who was a good friend of mine, as counsel. One day, Thompson called me and asked if I knew anybody who could conduct an investigation, and I told him I had just the person for him, my wife. He interviewed her for about 15 minutes and hired her; she was then working up on the Hill at the same time I was. Then I was asked by U.S. Attorney [for the District of Columbia] Stan Harris to be his principal assistant U.S. attorney, while at the same time my wife was asked to be deputy assistant attorney general in the Criminal Division at the Department of Justice, so we also wound up working at the department at the same time.

How did you feel about returning to the U.S. Attorney’s Office?
It felt natural to be back. Many of the senior people in the office were people who had been there when I was there years before, so it was more like a homecoming. I think it made people at the office comfortable to have someone working with them who they knew and who understood the office. I was principal assistant for about a year before Stan became a federal judge, and I was nominated by President Reagan to be U.S. attorney. It was a phenomenal experience and I’ll always be grateful to President Reagan for giving me the opportunity.

You dealt with corruption quite a bit while you were U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
It was hard to miss; it was everywhere in the District at the time, but it had been pretty much neglected. It was an area where the FBI just didn’t want to get involved; we were able to convince the bureau that it was important. The city was a mess at that point. Corruption was rampant in every department—there was contract fraud and everything else you could think of. Congress didn’t want to deal with it because the politics of it was very ugly.

We just sat there and waited for things to happen, which didn’t take long. These special units we created to deal with political corruption proved to be very effective. Everything was just there, just needing to be investigated, and eventually people in government who were appalled by what they were seeing started coming forward and cooperating. Nothing is perfect, but I think we were able to have a good effect over the long haul; it certainly woke people up. Eventually, Congress began to focus more on the District; it set up a financial control board because the fiscal management of the city was a nightmare. Congress also began to conduct its oversight mechanism more readily, which was very important.

Those corruption investigations included a look at then–D.C. Mayor Marion Barry.
My office had the first investigation of him and a local drug dealer. There were no charges filed, but we convicted several of his deputy mayors of fraud and other things. When I left the office, he thought everything was going to be okay, so he dropped his guard and, of course, subsequently he was arrested at the Vista International Hotel. The truth is that we had set in motion a whole series of investigations that continued after I left the office. Barry didn’t understand that law enforcement is a continuum, and that there are a lot of people who care about corruption. But ultimately it didn’t hurt him as he got reelected as mayor and was elected to the D.C. Council.

Another case your office worked on involved Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.
I think that was the most interesting case I ever worked on as U.S. attorney. I got a call one afternoon from John Martin, who was head of the internal security section at the Department of Justice. He told me that there was about to be an arrest at the Israeli embassy of an American civilian government worker who they suspected had been spying for Israel. He said this thing was going to move pretty quickly, so we put a team together that afternoon. Pollard was arrested and became a fascinating bit of American history; it was the first time since the [Julius and Ethel] Rosenberg case that there had been a major focus on spying by an American citizen.

It proved to be a complex, interesting case. We went to Israel twice. The first time we arrived, Thomas Pickering, who was the U.S. ambassador to Israel at that time, said to us, “I want to be very clear about my feelings. The Israelis don’t want you here, and neither do I.” Notwithstanding his unfriendly reception to a group of American officials, we did our job and did what we needed to get done, and eventually convicted Pollard and his wife. Later, we found out about a broader spying conspiracy that led to the indictment of a very famous Israeli Air Force colonel.

Also, while I was U.S. attorney, terrorism cases were located in the District, which is what happened with the TWA Flight 847 hijacking and murder of passenger and U.S. Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem. The eventual pursuit of Stethem’s murderer, Mohammed Ali Hammadi, crossed continents and ended up with an accidental arrest of him in Frankfort, Germany. My office had set in motion a series of things that would be done if he were arrested. A bunch of us went from New York to Frankfurt to conduct a lineup for the people who had been on the TWA flight, including Uli Derickson, the famous flight attendant who was so brave and saved the lives of many people on that plane through her negotiating skills.

For the lineup, the Germans went to the American airbase and got people who were the same size as Hammadi and made them up to all look like him, and then lined them all up in an interesting way. Numbers one through six would be marched out, and then their numbers would be mixed up and the same men would march out again. Then their numbers would be changed yet again, and each man would come out individually. This went on for about two hours. We had, I believe, 12 witnesses who we had flown to Germany, and every single one of them identified Hammadi even though they were in the lineup room at different times. When I asked the witnesses afterward what was it that helped to identify him, they all said, “His eyes.” He had these piercing black eyes that were so penetrating you felt like they were going through your body. The witnesses said those were eyes they would never forget.

Pollard was fascinating because of the legal and political problems with Israel and the huge damage he caused, but the Hammadi case was a fascinating adventure in international law enforcement, and it was exhilarating to watch these Americans willingly participate in an amazing effort to bring to justice someone who was a horrific murderer. To me, that was a great moment. It was also a triumph of the terrorism efforts the Justice Department had put it place.

Why did you decide to leave the U.S. Attorney’s Office?
I could have stayed longer, but I already had spent a lot of time in government and I wanted to do something else. Also, I wanted some more freedom, which you don’t have in government. I went to work for a modest-size firm here in Washington called Bishop, Cook, Purcell & Reynolds, and they were just wonderful people. I did litigation, and eventually picked up some lobbying clients. Then the firm merged with Winston & Strawn LLP out of Chicago. I was representing a cable association and another partner from Chicago was representing a rival cable association, and the firm wanted me to drop my client. I said the business of law is getting clients, not giving them up. It was a fairly hefty retainer and a pretty big-time client, so I just decided I wasn’t going to do it.

I spent the next three months trying to decide what to do while I was set up in a temporary law firm made for those of us not going with the merger. Then in 1991 or 1992, my wife and I joined the D.C. office of the Los Angeles firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. While I was working there, I got a call from Judge David Sentelle, who, at that time, wasn’t yet chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, but was the chief judge of the independent counsel panel that was set up to look at the Clinton passport case. He asked if I would like to take the assignment of independent counsel, and I told him I would. Soon I had an interview with Judge Sentelle and the other two judges on the panel. They were deadly serious about the significance of what was about to occur. One judge said to me that he had looked at my record and I seemed to be a fairly substantial person who has dealt with complex cases and politically sensitive cases, but he wondered if I’d be able to bring charges in a case like this that involved a sitting president [George H. W. Bush]. I told him I would, and then another judge asked me whether I would be able to not bring charges, and I told him I absolutely would, which is what wound up happening.

What is your view of independent counsels?
I became very concerned about the Independent Counsel Statute after I watched what had been done after the Iran–Contra Affair, which I thought was just outrageous. The concept of an independent counsel is a bad thing. It’s like what Justice [Antonin] Scalia said in Morrison v. Olson, which is that nothing good is going to come from giving a lawyer a case, an unlimited budget, and a single target. And nothing good did come from it. There were a series of independent counsels for the dumbest things that would have been thrown out of most U.S. attorneys’ offices in a New York minute once they got a look at the merits. The only reason these counsels existed was because the triggering mechanism in the statute was so low. They were costly to the government and to the citizens who became ensnared in them. All those people on Capitol Hill who were so excited about independent counsels when Republican presidents were being victimized by them had second thoughts when they saw Bill Clinton being ensnared. It was a very healthy thing for them to see how bad this law was.

The point of the statute was to “take politically sensitive material out of the Justice Department,” but my point of view has always been that if the Justice Department couldn’t do this job, then we were in a lot of trouble. Also, the idea of an independent counsel was to investigate a president for some constitutional offense, yet in reality these were peanut cases for every member of the cabinet and subcabinet. There were hundreds of people who were covered by this statute. When you go back and look at the structure of this statute, you have to ask yourself what were they thinking up on Capitol Hill, and the answer is they weren’t. People forget that this was Jimmy Carter’s idea as part of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 that was a reaction to Watergate. It was bad public policy, it ruined a lot of peoples’ lives, it cost people inordinate sums of money, and it served no useful public purpose other than to wreak havoc for sitting presidents.

How did you get involved with the Teamsters union?
We left Manatt Phelps at the end of 1995 and started our firm in January of 1996, and I think my wife and I got involved in the Teamsters investigation right after that. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich called to tell me that the House was going to have a serious investigation into the Teamsters, and he asked if Victoria and I would lead the investigation for a member named Pete Hoekstra, who was a congressman from Michigan. When we went and sat down with Pete, it was quite obvious that he did not want to be speaking with us and that he had been made to do so by the Speaker Gingrich. The first thing he said was, “Why should I hire you?” It was a rather inauspicious beginning, but then he started asking questions and we started chatting. We spent a couple of days talking to him about what a real investigation looked like and that it could get very ugly and very partisan.

It proved to be about a year’s worth of investigation that was very fruitful. By the end, the Teamsters president was thrown out of the union, there were a number of investigations and indictments, and the Teamsters was put on a course that it has stayed on. I was asked by new Teamsters president James P. Hoffa to be the union’s representative on the Independent Review Board, which under a consent decree oversees the union. I’m still on the board, along with Benjamin Civiletti, who served as attorney general under President Carter, and former FBI and Central Intelligence Agency director William Webster. This is another one of those little things that happen when you’re involved in the process and people get to know you, trust you, and have some faith in your ability.

Why did you and your wife start your own firm?
We took a look at what we had been doing, what we were bringing in, and the overhead of what law firms required, and while what we were being paid was generous, we agreed we could do better. We also wanted to have more control over our lives and take clients we couldn’t otherwise take. So we started our own firm and we’ve never looked back. We were lucky in that we already had a bunch of regular clients when we started our firm. It was a success right away, and it proved to be a very wise decision for us because we didn’t realize how limiting being at a big law firm could be. Once we were out from under that, we could do whatever we wanted and it made life more interesting and fun.

You and your wife have had quite a media presence over the years. Have you ever worried that your television appearances might hurt your credibility?
We never looked at it that way, but we’ve just enjoyed being involved in the fray. What’s fascinating is that lawyers would ask us what our other law partners thought about our television appearances because at their firms, those in charge wanted their people to be invisible. Our view was that in addition to being lawyers, we were public policy people and we’re involved in politics. We decided this was part of the practice of law, and we enjoyed it. Also, during the O. J. Simpson murder trial we saw a lot of people on television who were just legally inaccurate and it made us mad.

We have never had a press person or a public relations person, but we were always invited to be on shows. Often people would contact us after reading something we’d written and ask us to come on television and talk about a particular issue, and we always accepted. Also, with the O.J. Simpson case, we were on TV every day and every night and that created a lot of exposure. It was around this time that big law firms started hiring public relations firms to get their people on television. It certainly was a source of business for us. If you’re good on television and you say intelligent things, you distinguish yourself, and that’s a good thing. It’s also a good thing for the American people to know that there are some lawyers who are not dishonest and who are good lawyers.

What’s next for you? Do you have any plans to retire from the practice of law?
I have no intention of retiring. My wife and I enjoy the practice of law and, again, when you have this kind of control over your career, you don’t have to have things on full throttle all the time. We travel a lot, for example. We just got back from southwestern France where our daughter, Amy Toensing, who is a great photographer, was given an international award for the study of the Aborigines in Australia.

Reach D.C. Bar staff writer Kathryn Alfisi at kalfisi@dcbar.org.

Periodically Washington Lawyer features a conversation with a senior member of the District of Columbia Bar reflecting on his or her career as a lawyer. The “Legends in the Law” are selected by the District of Columbia Bar’s Publications Committee on the basis of their prominence in their profession and their individual impact on the law and the legal profession in the District of Columbia. For past interviews, visit www.dcbar.org/legends.