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Biden's Ties to Trial Lawyers

My colleague Carolyn Elefant provided a good roundup earlier this week of perspectives on Joe Biden the lawyer. One item she pointed out was the Sunday Washington Post story about two lawsuits alleging that Sen. Biden's son and brother defrauded a former business partner in a hedge fund deal that went sour. Two subsequent reports this week shed further light on that deal and how it fits into the larger picture of Biden's ties to trial lawyers.

A USA Today story published Wednesday reports that Biden worked to defeat a bipartisan bill designed to curb asbestos lawsuits at a time his older son Beau's law firm was filing asbestos cases and a former aide was lobbying against the measure. Then yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the hedge fund deal mentioned above was made possible when Biden's brother James and son Hunter obtained a commitment of $2 million in financing from SimmonsCooper, an Illinois law firm that specializes in representing asbestos victims. In addition to financing Hunter Biden's hedge fund deal, SimmonsCooper was the source of the asbestos work picked up by Beau Biden's law firm.

In my opinion, Biden's stance on the asbestos bill was the right one to take and nothing in any of these stories suggests any legal wrongdoing by the Democratic vice presidential candidate. Still, as Mark Obbie points out at his blog LawBeat, Biden's longtime ties to trial lawyers warrant closer examination by journalists and bloggers alike.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on August 29, 2008 at 12:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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