Last week Congressman Gary Condit threatened to sue the Washington Post for a story alleging that Chandra Levy, the missing intern, had spent the night at his house. In furtherance of this threat, he retained an attorney, Joseph Cotchett, to pry a retraction from the Post. Or at least that's what Condit's people said Cotchett had been retained for. (For the complete Condit rundown click here.)
According to Fox News' David Shuster, Cotchett is an accomplished trial lawyer but "doesn't appear to have ever tried a case involving libel or defamation." (June 8th, 2001, Fox Special Report with Brit Hume)
Was this a two-fer by Condit? An attempt to simultaneously bury the fact that he had hired a defense lawyer and try to bully the Post at the same time? If so, I'll say this, the guy's got brass if nothing else.
Meanwhile, Mort Kondracke and Fred Barnes of the Beltway Boys are vouching for Condit.
KONDRACKE: Condit is denying flatly that any (UNINTELLIGIBLE) such
thing occurred, and frankly, I would find it impossible to believe that Condit
had anything to do with, with her disappearance. I mean, he is one of our
BARNES: Yes, he is, no, I like him, I know him pretty well. It's hard for me
to believe it too. (June 9th, 2001, Beltway Boys)
P.S. Late Update: From a brief review of his website, Joseph Cotchett doesn't seem to specialize in libel or defamation cases. But he also doesn't appear to specialize in criminal work. He's basically a plaintiffs' attorney specializing in suing large financial institutions on behalf of cheated investors. His website does say that he defended Consumers Union in a defamation suit last year.
So where does that leave us? Who knows? Maybe Condit had some bad investments?