June 7, 2011 7:38 PM
Embattled Weiner Turns to Baker & Hostetler Partner
Posted by Victor Li
Facing mounting pressure to resign and the likelihood of a congressional ethics probe in the wake of his admission that he had inappropriate online exchanges with multiple women--and then lied about it--U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner is turning to a longtime legal adviser for counsel.
A source with direct knowledge of the matter who declined to be identified confirmed to The Am Law Daily Tuesday that New York–based Baker & Hostetler partner John Siegal--who represented Weiner as the congressman considered runs for New York City mayor in 2005 and 2009--will be representing Weiner amid the scandal's fallout.
Siegal declined to comment when contacted by The Daily. The voice mailbox at Weiner's congressional office was full and not accepting messages Tuesday afternoon.
Like Weiner, Siegal spent part of his early career working as a Capitol Hill aide to then-congressman Charles Schumer in the 1980s. According to his firm biography, Siegal has been active in New York political circles ever since. In addition to working for Schumer, Siegal worked as chief speechwriter for Mayor David Dinkins and recently served on Attorney General Eric Scheiderman's transition team.
Politics provided the basis for Siegal's previous work on Weiner's behalf.
In a letter to the New York City Campaign Finance Board during the run-up to the 2009 New York City mayoral election--a race that Weiner bowed out of without ever officially entering--Siegal highlighted what he described as the chilling effect of New York's inability to enact campaign finance reform, specifically citing Mayor Michael Bloomberg's lavish spending.
"In the last two elections, one mayoral candidate spent more than $158 million--grossly more than any other candidate could spend or has spent not only in New York City but in the history of American mayoral politics," Siegal wrote at the time.
The complaint echoed similar claims Siegal took to the board in the wake of the 2005 mayoral campaign (Weiner placed second in the Democratic primary that year).
At that time, Siegal described Weiner's frustration over having to comply with the campaign finance board's rules. "Congressman Weiner turned to me and said, 'Siegal, you've been fighting with this Board for half your adult life. We're right, but I don't want to fight with them,'" Siegal testified in 2005 before the board.
The scandal engulfing Weiner has taken a number of turns since May 27, when, as he admitted Monday, he inadvertently posted a photo of himself wearing boxer-briefs on his Twitter page. Weiner initially insisted that his Twitter account had been hacked, and reports soon surfaced that he had hired an attorney to determine what civil or criminal remedies were available to him. It is unclear whether Siegal was the attorney in question. What is clear is that Weiner's legal needs moved in a different direction Monday.Make a comment