Thursday, October 17, 2002

Law firm defended Clinton, now Patton

Legal team adds new attorney

The Associated Press

FRANKFORT - A partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm that represented former President Clinton in his impeachment trial has joined the legal team defending Gov. Paul Patton against accusations made by a western Kentucky nursing home operator.

Gerald Feffer is a partner in the Williams & Connolly firm. He did not represent Mr. Clinton in his impeachment trial, but his clients have included the Church of Scientology and New York hotelier Leona Helmsley.

Louisville attorney Sheryl Snyder, who represents Mr. Patton, said he recommended Mr. Feffer to the governor.

"He's just first-rate in his area," said Mr. Snyder, who said Mr. Feffer's specialty is defending clients in federal criminal investigations.

Tina Conner alleged in a lawsuit filed last month that during a two-year affair with Mr. Patton she won special favors, and that after she broke off contact he retaliated by having state inspectors crack down on her nursing home. Mr. Patton has admitted the affair but insisted he never misused his powers to help or harm Ms. Conner.

The FBI and Kentucky attorney general's office are conducting a joint investigation of Ms. Conner's charges. The Executive Branch Ethics Commission is investigating whether Mr. Patton violated the state ethics code.

Ms. Conner's attorney, Fred Radolovich of Louisville, said, "I have the utmost respect for the Williams & Connolly law firm. ... If I was in trouble that's where I would go for help. I look forward to the challenge."

Mr. Feffer and Mr. Snyder conferred Monday with Mr. Patton in the governor's office. Mr. Feffer did not return calls Tuesday. Mr. Feffer joins Mr. Snyder and Cincinnati attorney Debbie Adams on Mr. Patton's legal team.

"Jerry has the expertise in dealing with the federal prosecutors," Mr. Snyder said. "I got Debbie Adams involved because of her expertise in sexual harassment. And my expertise has more to do with the governmental immunity and defamation and those issues that I've handled over the years."

Mr. Feffer is a former deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department's Tax Division. The law firm's Web site says Mr. Feffer "has a nationwide white-collar criminal defense practice, including trials and government investigations throughout the country."

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