Ronan Farrow, who did as much as anyone to rip the lid off the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment/assault scandal, has another eye-opener. And the subject is superstar lawyer David Boies, who among other things, represented the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case on same-sex marriage.

Weinstein, according to Ronan’s reporting, had an Army of Spies to kill stories about his misconduct:

In the fall of 2016, Harvey Weinstein set out to suppress allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women. He began to hire private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose the allegations. According to dozens of pages of documents, and seven people directly involved in the effort, the firms that Weinstein hired included Kroll, which is one of the world’s largest corporate-intelligence companies, and Black Cube, an enterprise run largely by former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies. Black Cube, which has branches in Tel Aviv, London, and Paris, offers its clients the skills of operatives “highly experienced and trained in Israel’s elite military and governmental intelligence units,” according to its literature….

The explicit goal of the investigations, laid out in one contract with Black Cube, signed in July, was to stop the publication of the abuse allegations against Weinstein that eventually emerged in the New York Times and The New Yorker. Over the course of a year, Weinstein had the agencies “target,” or collect information on, dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focussed on their personal or sexual histories. Weinstein monitored the progress of the investigations personally. He also enlisted former employees from his film enterprises to join in the effort, collecting names and placing calls that, according to some sources who received them, felt intimidating.

The full article is worth a read to understand the extent to which Weinstein used his wealth and power to try to silence the people alleging sexual assault and harassment, and to prevent reporting.

There is one aspect of the article, however, that is gaining a lot of attention. And it concerns David Boies. Turns out he was part of the Weinstein effort to kill stories, including at the NY Times. There was one problem. Boies was representing the Times on unrelated matters.

Farrow writes:

In some cases, the investigative effort was run through Weinstein’s lawyers, including David Boies, a celebrated attorney who represented Al Gore in the 2000 Presidential-election dispute and argued for marriage equality before the U.S. Supreme Court. Boies personally signed the contract directing Black Cube to attempt to uncover information that would stop the publication of a Times story about Weinstein’s abuses, while his firm was also representing the Times, including in a libel case.

Boies confirmed that his firm contracted with and paid two of the agencies and that investigators from one of them sent him reports, which were then passed on to Weinstein. He said that he did not select the firms or direct the investigators’ work. He also denied that the work regarding the Times story represented a conflict of interest. Boies said that his firm’s involvement with the investigators was a mistake. “We should not have been contracting with and paying investigators that we did not select and direct,” he told me. “At the time, it seemed a reasonable accommodation for a client, but it was not thought through, and that was my mistake. It was a mistake at the time.”

Boies’ conduct potentially is much more than a mere mistake. Boies and his firm had a duty of loyalty towards its client, the NY Times, and also was bound by conflicts provisions of the code of professional conduct.

The NY Times seems to be focusing on this professional problem in this statement:

“We learned today that the law firm of Boies Schiller and Flexner secretly worked to stop our reporting on Harvey Weinstein at the same time as the firm’s lawyers were representing us in other matters,” the statement read. “We consider this intolerable conduct, a grave betrayal of trust, and a breach of the basic professional standards that all lawyers are required to observe. It is inexcusable and we will be pursuing appropriate remedies.”

Whether you agree with David Boies on a particular case or not, there’s no doubt he had a stellar reputation prior to acting as Harvey Weinstein’s henchman to silence alleged sexual assault victims and reporting on the allegations.

Power corrupts. Harvey Weinstein’s power corrupted absolutely.


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