"warning sign"> by oskay on flickr

"warning sign" by oskay on flickr

The Sunday edition of a dead tree newspaper is the most important edition of the week. Some people only read the Sunday paper, drawn in by the magazine section and the comics. When the editor decides to make a particular story front page of the Sunday edition, that editor is looking for maximum eyeballs on the story.

Yesterday’s New York Post, the flagship of Rupert Murdoch’s American fleet of media outlets, had a full page, front page, article with huge photo, of a heretofore unfamous Assistant Attorney General working for New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

It exposed intimate details of her private life and did so in a way clearly intended to hold her up to scorn and embarrassment. It is clearly meant to harass and terrorize her and by example terrorize everyone in the AG’s Office, the NY County DA’s Office and the US Attorney’s Offices that might be looking into the misdeeds of the banking industry or even might be thinking of maybe looking into the crimes of the banksters.

You see, she worked on the Bank of America case brought by the NYS AG’s office while Andy Cuomo was AG. The message could not be any more crystal clear: if you mess with the banksters, they or their friends will come after you, your family, your friends, your cat.

I was a big fan of Elliot Spitzer’s tenure as AG. He was the canary in the coal mine trying to warn the American people of the reckless and criminal activities of the banksters. He used every bit of legal leverage he had to try to fight back, basically all alone.

For that, he was stalked until they found him to be, ahem, ”associated” with a skank for hire calling herself Ashley Dupree. And that betrayal of his marriage vows, which should have been a private matter between Spitzer and his family, became front page news.

I read somewhere that his wife wanted him to fight back. I wish he had, because had he done so, perhaps this tactic would have been discouraged, if not consigned to the rubbish heap. Instead, it is now back and more virulent than ever, being aimed at non public figures.

I can only guess at the horrible morale that will be wafting through the halls at 120 Broadway, at Hogan Place, or at One St. Andrews Plaza. No longer does the boss stand as a shield and defense against these kinds of attacks, taking the heat so the staff attorneys are free to do their jobs courageously. Nope, the bad guys are doing an end run around the boss, just to show him how powerless he is to protect his people from these terror tactics.

Unless . . .

Unless, you fight back. I disagree with Yves Smith. I think this young woman should sue Murdoch to within an inch of his trust fund if so much as one semi colon of that front page piece is incorrect. She may be a public employee, but that does not make her a public figure, and she does not have to prove malice under New York’s defamation law.

Spitzer should have fought back and exposed his stalkers. This AAG should fight back, and for that matter every prosecutor’s office with plausible jurisdiction should be investigating the circumstances of this “outing.” Because if they don’t, none of the staff attorneys or investigators in those offices will feel safe doing their jobs.

Cynthia Kouril

Cynthia Kouril

Cynthia Kouril is a former Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York under several different U.S. Attorneys, former counsel to the Inspector General for the N.Y.C. Department of Environmental Protection where she investigated threats to the New York City water supply and other environmental crimes, as well as public corruption and fraud against the government, former Examining Attorney at the N.Y.C. Department of Investigation and former Capital Construction Counsel at New York City Parks and Recreation.
She is now in private practice with a colleague whom she met while at the USA Attorney's Office. Ms. Kouril is a member of the Steering Committee, National Committeewoman and Regional Coordinator for the New York Democratic Lawyers Council, a member of the Program Committee of the Federal Bar Council and a member of the Election Law Committee at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. She is active in several other Bar Associations.
Most important of all, she is a soccer mom.