Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Official apologizes for remarks on law firms

January 17, 2007|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — A Pentagon official who criticized American law firms for defending detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay apologized in a letter to the editor published in the Washington Post today.

Charles Stimson, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for detainee affairs, said last week in a radio interview that he found it "shocking" that major U.S. law firms would represent Guantanamo detainees pro bono.

He suggested the firms would suffer financially when corporate clients learned of their involvement in Guantanamo cases.

"Regrettably, my comments left the impression that I question the integrity of those engaged in the zealous defense of detainees in Guantanamo. I do not," Stimson wrote in response to the furor. "I apologize for what I said and to those lawyers and law firms who are representing clients at Guantanamo," he wrote.

Stimson, himself a lawyer, said he supported pro bono work and believed the legal system worked best when both sides had competent legal counsel.

The apology followed condemnation in the legal community and a call Tuesday for his ouster. Four law organizations said in a letter to President Bush that Stimson should be fired for remarks that were aimed at "chilling the willingness" of lawyers to represent the detainees.

"The threats by Mr. Stimson are not subtle. They imply these pro bono lawyers are terrorists," read the letter signed by the American Assn. of Jurists, the International Assn. of Democratic Lawyers, the National Lawyers Guild and the Society of American Law Teachers.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|