You know a scandal is exploding when America's highest-profile lawyers want a piece of it. As Congress continues its investigation into Enron, the company's directors have hired some of Washington's big-ticket attorneys.
Robert Bennett helped Bill Clinton through the Paula Jones suit; now he'll be representing the troubled Texas corporation. David Boies advised Al Gore during that ballot brouhaha in Florida; now he speaks for former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow. Are these guys just that skilled at handling scandal? "No, there's also a lot of money involved, and a lot of media attention," says Richard Johnson, the editor of the New York Post's gossipy Page Six, which everyday turns ordinary Joes into overnight stars. "These guys like action and being in the middle of it," he says. "I'm sure Alan Dershowitz is champing at the bit to get in on it." Herewith, a survey of the media-savvy lawyers at the center of the Enron mess.
Washington ober-lawyer Robert S. Bennett has been hired by Enron to represent the firm in congressional and federal inquiries. Fast-talking Bennett is most famous for representing former president Clinton in the Paula Jones sexual-harassment lawsuit. He defended former Reagan Defense secretary Caspar Weinberger in the Iran-contra hearings and trial, as well as some members of the Keating Five. He's also the brother of Republican activist Bill Bennett.
Former Enron chief financial officer Andrew Fastow is being represented by high-profile attorney David Boies. Described by many as a dazzling litigator, he's rarely lost-and has never had a victory turned over on appeal. In recent years, Boies represented the Department of Justice on the Microsoft antitrust case and defended Napster. And most famously, he helped former vice president Al Gore through his election tussle in Tallahassee.
A longtime friend, partner and right-hand man to Bennett, Carl Rauh will also help fight Enron's battle. An attorney once called he and Bennett the criminal defense "dream team." A former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Rauh also helped construct Clinton's defense during the Jones trial proceedings. In 1993, Rauh bragged to the Washington Post that he paid $7.50 for his haircuts, while Bennett paid $21. "People are going to think I am cheap," he said, "but it's a great cut."
William McLucas is the lawyer representing the special committee of Enron directors who've been appointed to work with the Securities and Exchange Commission during the investigation. It's a more-than-appropriate choice, since McLucas is the former head of enforcement at the SEC, a job he held for 21 years until 1998. He's one of the country's top experts on issues associated with illegal insider stock transactions.
Jeffrey Skilling, the Enron CEO who resigned unexpectedly last August, is being represented by Bruce Hiler. A one-time associate director in the SEC's enforcement division, Hiler became a partner at O'Melveny & Myers in 1994. Since then, he's represented many major U.S. corporations and their officers in insider trading investigations.
EARL J. SILBERT
Earl J. Silbert is representing former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay. Although now a criminal-defense lawyer, Silbert had a long career in public service earlier in his career-including serving as the first Watergate prosecutor. He also spent five years as the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, until he was replaced during the Carter administration by Carl Rauh (who's also part of Enron's legal team).
W. NEIL EGGLESTON
A lawyer representing Enron's outside directors, W. Neil Eggleston was an associate counsel for the White House during the Whitewater probe, then served as a private adviser to President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Prior to that, he specialized in white-collar criminal defense, and even earlier, helped investigate the Iran-Contra affair.