Saturday, May 29, 2010

Master of the Game: Edward Bennett Williams

May 31, 1920–August 13, 1988

"These were dramatic cases with a lot of press interest and concern and excitement and some serious allegations of wrongdoing by prominent people." -- Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.

1 comment:

Gary Freedman said...

It was Edward Bennett Williams' representation of former Texas Governor John Connally that put Williams "back on the front page," according to biographer Evan Thomas. When Connally ran afoul of the law in the mid-1970s, it had been nearly 15 years—since Williams had kept Powell out of jail in 1960—that Williams had taken a high-profile case. Williams jumped at the opportunity to defend Connally. His handling of the case, according to Thomas, provided a "how-to guide for the defense of politicians accused of corruption."

According to Thomas's account, Williams celebrated his win in the Connally case by getting drunk at the post-trial victory party, held in the Watergate apartment of Robert Strauss, chairman of the Democratic Party. President Gerald Ford called to congratulate Williams, and so did Richard Nixon. "I wish you were my lawyer," Nixon told Williams, according to Thomas. "It's too bad you represent the Post." The disgraced former president, then living in exile on the West Coast, invited Williams to come visit him in San Clemente. A few weeks later Williams said that if he had been Nixon's lawyer during the Watergate scandal, he would have urged the president to burn the Oval Office tapes on the White House lawn.