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Tim Russert, the Lawyer

Count me among the many who were shocked Friday to hear of the death of Tim Russert, Washington bureau chief for NBC News and moderator of its program, "Meet the Press." I was also far from alone, I suspect, in not knowing that he was a lawyer until I read his obituary. But he was. He was a 1977 graduate of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and remained a card-carrying member in good standing of the New York bar. The BLT sums up his brief legal career:

His time in legal practice, however, was relatively short. The Buffalo native went to work in Washington as chief of staff for Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) in 1977 and then worked to help elect New York Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1982. But television journalism soon beckoned. He joined NBC in 1984, and took over as 'Meet the Press' host in 1991.

Russert's legal training came in handy in 2006, The BLT notes, when he was called to testify in the trial of I. "Scooter" Lewis Libby. He also played a role in another historic legal case, as the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog notes: "On election night 2000, his famed analysis of electoral votes on his handheld whiteboard served as a bookend to the Supreme Court’s controversial decision in Bush v. Gore." No doubt, Russert's legal training contributed to his fairness and skill as a journalist. He will be missed.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on June 16, 2008 at 01:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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