CLS Blue Sky Blog

The Cutting Edge Podcast, Episode 2 – “Special Counsel: Whose Interests Do They Serve?”

Here’s the second episode of The Cutting Edge, a podcast series that examines white collar crime and corporate governance. This episode, “Special Counsel: Whose Interests Do They Serve?” looks at the history and unique status of the special counsel role as well as the risks it can pose.

Hosted by John C. Coffee Jr., the Adolf A. Berle Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, and with Jed S. Rakoff, a federal senior district judge for the Southern District of New York and an adjunct professor at Columbia Law, joining as commentator, the episode focuses on the failed investigation by John Durham, who was appointed special counsel by U.S. Attorney General William Barr in October 2020 to examine alleged lies and possible deceit that influenced the FBI’s investigation into allegations that the 2016 Trump presidential campaign had undisclosed ties to Russia.

The featured guest is Michael Bosworth, who while a partner at Latham & Watkins played a leading role in successfully defending Michael Sussman, the former Perkins Coie partner indicted by Durham for allegedly making a single false statement in a conversation in 2016 with then-FBI general counsel Jim Baker.

The panelists use the Sussman case to highlight the danger that a special counsel could seek retaliation against a president’s political enemies, even well after the president’s term has expired. Stronger supervision of special counsel, they suggest, may be needed.

You can listen to episode 2 here:

You can read the transcript of the conversation here.

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