Opening Arguments: A Young Lawyer's First Case, United Statues v. Oliver North

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9780140167702: Opening Arguments: A Young Lawyer's First Case, United Statues v. Oliver North

Review by Scott Turow, March3, 1991 for the LA Times: Like some comet crossing the sky with its tail of flame, this book by a junior member of the special prosecutor's team involved in the investigation and trial of Lt. Col. Oliver North comes to us trailing the fire of ongoing controversy concerning its creation. When Jeffrey Toobin, a recent graduate of Harvard Law School now a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, submitted his manuscript for clearance to his former superiors, the Office of Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh responded with threats that Toobin would face legal jeopardy for revealing secret materials. Toobin and his publisher, Viking, then launched a preemptive lawsuit in New York City, and Federal Judge John Keenan ruled that virtually all of the hard information in "Opening Arguments" had already come to public light and was not, therefore, a legally protectable secret. Toobin's victory, however, was not total. Walsh has appealed; Judge Keenan left open the question of whether Toobin's writings violated legal ethics, and an editorial writer in the New York Times, where zeal for the First Amendment generally knows no bounds, blasted Toobin as "opportunistic," noting that "lawyers often write self-praising books, but they don't usually betray clients and bosses or spill secrets that aren't theirs to sell."

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