Friday, March 21, 2014

Lawrence E. Walsh, the...

...prosecutor in the Iran-contra scandal, died at age 102. From his obit in the Times (my emphasis):

In the end he won convictions, but many were overturned, and six defendants were pardoned by Mr. Reagan’s successor, George Bush, who was vice president during the events of Iran-contra. Mr. Walsh belatedly tried to confront his critics. Abandoning his earlier reserve, he called many Reagan administration officials brazenly deceptive. In a 1997 memoir, “Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-Up,” he concluded that Mr. Reagan must have known of the basic details of the Iran-contra operation and that the president’s advisers had tried to shield him by concealing records and personal notes. That shield — a firewall, as Mr. Walsh described it — was only reinforced by Mr. Bush’s pardons.

Remind you of a certain governor of New Jersey?

“What set Iran-contra apart from previous political scandals,” he wrote, “was that a cover-up engineered in the White House of one president and completed by his successor prevented the rule of law being applied to perpetrators of criminal activity of constitutional dimension.”

That's depressing.

But then there's this piece of irony:

Few American lawyers have had as long and varied a career in both the public and private spheres as Mr. Walsh. Besides sitting on the federal bench, he was a prosecutor, corporate litigator, counsel to Gov. Thomas E. Dewey of New York, deputy attorney general under President Dwight D. Eisenhower and a negotiator at the Paris peace talks during the Vietnam War.

Mr. Walsh said that he had been chosen for the job with Dewey in part because of the governor's desire for staff diversity; Dewey had hired the office’s first black prosecutor and then sought Republican Catholics. “The joke was that in one week he hired Jim O’Malley, Florence Kelley and me, and we were all Protestant,” Mr. Walsh said. 

No comments: