Saddam’s Host of Lawyers


Via Drudge, I hear that 1,100 lawyers are leaving Saddam Hussein’s defense team because of security fears. But Saddam’s trial will go on.

I lack expertise in the Iraqi security situation and legal system, and so I’m left with a (perhaps naive) question: why does Saddam need over a thousand lawyers? [And how did the team apparently grow by 1,089 lawyers over a few weeks?] Only three explanations come to mind.

1. Saddam plans to mount a meticulous defense to the charges on the merits, and needs hundreds of attorneys to comb through the evidence against him, interview witnesses, and develop a coherent legal strategy.

2. Saddam plans to win at trial by hook-or-crook, and has employed a host of lawyers as a first step in rebuilding his empire of patronage and client relationships.

3. Saddam is not in control of his legal team. The person who is plans to use the opportunity as first step in building an empire of patronage and client relationships.

Possibility #1 is a joke; #2 is delusional; #3 is just sad.

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. Kaimi says:


    Is it possible that some of these (many of them, perhaps) are contract attorneys reviewing the boxes of documents that the government may have produced in evidence? Or reviewing Saddam’s own boxes of documents?

    1100 sounds like too big a number. But if you include contract attorneys, I’ve worked on legal teams at Cravath that probably came pretty close to the 100 mark. A few hundred temps reviewing Saddam’s docs doesn’t sound that unrealistic.

  2. Dave Hoffman says:

    Kaimi, I think this falls under explanation #1, and I don’t think it is realistic. From what I’ve read, most of the defense “strategy” is an attack on the US and the court’s legitimacy, not a point-by-point rebuttal of the charges against him.