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N.J. Nominee for U.S. Atty. Paul Fishman Refuses to Disclose Full Client List

This raises an interesting dilemma. Yes, we have a right to know as much about a U.S. Attorney candidate as possible. And yes, clients who are targets of grand juries have a right to privacy. What to do? We assume we can trust nominees like Fishman to recuse themselves in instances where there’s a conflict of interest. On the other hand, maybe we should just avoid appointing U.S. Attorneys who are criminal lawyers and have disclosure issues.

Paul Fishman for N.J. U.S. Atty.

Paul Fishman for N.J. U.S. Atty.

By Jim McElhatton
Washington Times
WASHINGTON — The criminal defense lawyer nominated by President Obama to be the top federal prosecutor in New Jersey is declining to identify more than half of his private clients on government forms designed to help the public guard against potential conflicts of interests.

Paul J. Fishman, nominated to serve as the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, is citing the privacy interests of the clients – an exemption that is permitted under federal ethics laws, but that leaves prosecutors on an honor system to police their own conflicts, ethics watchdogs say.

Mr. Fishman provided the names of 29 clients on the government disclosure form, including a convicted former New Jersey municipal official, a health care company and the former girlfriend of New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.

But he withheld the names of “approximately 37 confidential clients,[“] saying they cannot be named because they are involved in grand jury or other secret investigations.

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