A group calling itself Velvet Revolution in May filed a dozen bar complaints against former and current government lawyers who had some role in signing off on detainee interrogation tactics that critics say amount to torture.
Velvet Revolution didn’t use a press release to announce the filing of three more ethics complaints, including one against CIA Acting General Counsel John Rizzo. In front of TV cameras and a room full of journalists, Velvet Revolution made its pitch at the National Press Club.
Civil rights lawyer, singer and poet Shahid Buttar, one of three speakers today, said the “court of public opinion” is the target audience considering the inactivity on the part of the Obama administration and Congress to punish government lawyers who reviewed harsh interrogation tactics.
Bruce Fein, a former Justice Department lawyer under the Reagan administration, urged Congress to “step up to the plate” and pursue full and open hearings regarding the so-called torture memos. The Justice Department Office of Professional Responsibility is preparing to release its own report on the memos. Fein, a former associate deputy attorney general, said the executive branch should not be allowed to investigate itself and have that be the final word.
Velvet Revolution filed ethics complaints with the D.C. Bar against Rizzo and Jonathan Fredman, former associate general counsel at the Central Intelligence Agency who has been assigned to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Click here for the complaints. A third complaint, against former CIA General Counsel Scott Muller, is expected to be filed Tuesday. Muller is now a partner in the New York offices of Davis Polk & Wardwell, where he practices in the litigation and global compliance groups.
The complaints allege Rizzo, Fredman and Muller advocated “immoral and unethical ‘extended’ or ‘enhanced’ interrogation techniques … that resulted in clear violations of U.S. and international law. “ Rizzo, admitted to the D.C. Bar in 1973, has no record of disciplinary history. Rizzo was not immediately reached for comment today. Fredman, a member of the D.C. Bar since 1988, declined to comment. Fredman has no prior record of disciplinary action.