19 November 2008
JENA E-MAILS LEAKED BY FORMER LOCAL-COUNSEL
Confidential memos between the chief-lawyer for The Nationalist Movement and a Louisiana local-counsel, installed to superintend details of a free-speech case against Jena, Louisiana, have ended up on the Internet. An anonymous blog, entitled "We Saw That", asserts that it was sent confidential e-mails by Greg Aymond between Aymond and Nationalist General-Counsel Richard Barrett.
According to the unknown blogger, "For some unknown reason, Mr. Aymond began to bcc e-mails from him to Mr. Barrett and fwd e-mails from Mr. Barrett to him, to us. We never asked for any of the e-mails or expected to see them. We didn't know what they were for or why we were receiving them, when they began appearing in our in-box. The sending of the e-mails to us was totally Mr. Aymond's doing.
Furthermore, we couldn't understand why he was attempting to get us involved in the case seeing that we are not lawyers and we wondered if Mr. Aymond was attempting to set us for something."
The blog published twelve pages of e-mails, including headers, to indicate that the e-mails did, in fact, come directly from Aymond.
Barrett said that he had no knowledge of the release of documents and was "surprised and chagrined" to see them on the Internet, which he discovered, accidentally, when searching for reports of a recent interview with the "Baton-Rouge Advocate".
Barrett noted that "even an inquiry, by a prospective-client, about potential legal-representation, is strictly confidential." Aymond was brought in under a court-rule, which provides for local-counsel for out-of-state attorneys.
The Nationalists had requested waiver of the rule, which has been abolished in most federal-courts, but agreed to assign Aymond, when Aymond volunteered, even though Aymond had never appeared in federal-court before.
The case invalidated a $10,000.00 bond charged by Jena for the holding of "Jena Justice Day" to protest the "Jena-Six".
Aymond later requested and was granted leave to be dismissed.
The Nationalists said that they respected the blogger's First-Amendment rights, but asked that the piece be removed. Barrett wrote to "We Saw That" that "my reason for asking for this is, once again, to protect attorney-client confidentiality, which safeguards not only a particular case, but all litigants, past and future."
Barrett added that "I am, also, a journalist and editor and have only very rarely ever corrected or taken down a post and I was always quite reluctant to do so! However, I have never encountered a situation quite like this and can only submit this request, as courteously as I can, to solicit your sympathetic understanding and kind cooperation."
Barrett had submitted a bill from Aymond to the U.S. District Court in Alexandria for some $3,000.00 in fees, which Aymond claimed for having served as local-counsel. The Nationalists have appealed, challenging a move by Police-Chief Paul Smith and Mayor Murphy McMillin to bar paraders from carrying non-concealed firearms.