Rahm Emanuel has looked to Washington for defense counsel in the scandal surrounding Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Valerie Jarrett went with someone in Chicago.
The two top aides to President-elect Barack Obama retained lawyers for interviews last week with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago and with Gregory Craig, the incoming White House counsel and partner at Williams & Connolly. Prosecutors have not accused either Emanuel or Jarrett of wrongdoing.
Obama’s transition team tells Legal Times that Emanuel, the incoming White House chief of staff, has hired W. Neil Eggleston, a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton. Eggleston and Emanuel briefly served together in the Clinton administration in the early 1990s, when Eggleston was associate counsel to the president and Emanuel was a senior adviser.
Eggleston specializes in securities litigation, white-collar defense, and internal investigations. He has represented President George W. Bush’s former political director, Sara M. Taylor, in the investigation of U.S. attorney firings. He also represented former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, and he helped President Bill Clinton during Kenneth Starr’s investigation.
Jarrett, set to be a senior adviser in the Obama White House, has hired Vincent Connelly, a partner in Mayer Brown’s Chicago Office, according to the transition team. Connelly is a former prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago. According to his online biography, “His criminal trial experience includes cases involving securities, antitrust, government contract and program cases, RICO, commercial and financial frauds, FCPA, and public corruption.”
Emanuel and Jarrett are both prominent Chicago Democrats. Emanuel has represented a Chicago congressional district since 2003. Jarrett, a lawyer and businesswoman, is a longtime friend of the Obama family who sought to succeed Obama in the Senate.