On Feb. 19, the private defense attorney representing one of the police officials in the Pershing Park mass arrest cases filed his latest motion for fees and costs from the District of Columbia. As usual, it was a consent motion, meaning there was no challenge from the D.C. Attorney General’s Office. The total requested: $50,427.
Since then, the BLT has surveyed the requests for fees and costs made by the lawyers for former Metropolitan Police Chief Charles Ramsey and Assistant Chief Peter Newsham available on public dockets. The grand total: $1.53 million.
Newsham, who has stated that he ordered the 2002 round-up of IMF / World Bank protestors which led to the suit, has been represented since the beginning of the case by Deso & Buckley partner Robert Deso. In billing requests dating back to Oct. 2003, the firm has received $767,000 in fees and costs. According to one itemized billing statement from 2005, Deso charged as much as $300 and hour.
Former police chief Ramsey, who plaintiffs have alleged was in fact responsible for round-up order, has been represented individually in the case since 2005 by Vinson & Elkins partner Mark Tuohey. For work dating back to December 2006, the firm has received $764,000.
D.C. Deputy Attorney General George Valentine of the Civil Litigation Division declined to comment on the circumstances under which the District government will or will not pay for a police official’s private legal fees.
Tuohey, whose firm has not posted any information about rates on the docket, said that he was charging less than half his normal hourly rate.
“It’s been a discount from the very beginning,” he said.