March 1, 2013 / by emptywheel


Lanny Breuer Enters the Free Agent Market

Sheesh. Lanny Breuer sure seems to need — and be able to demand — frequent fellations from the press.

The latest version comes from an excerpted interview with the NYT. Much of it covers familiar ground, with Lanny asserting that, really, he shares the public outrage about the banksters, then suggesting it was the USA Attorneys, not him, who chose not to prosecute them.

Q. You agreed to go on “60 Minutes” and “Frontline” to discuss the lack of crisis cases. Why open yourself to such scrutiny?

A. People have been asking legitimate questions about what happened in the wake of the financial crisis, and they deserve answers. Someone had to go on television to explain the Justice Department’s point of view, and it was appropriate that, as head of the criminal division, I would do it.

Q. But federal prosecutors in New York and elsewhere also played big roles in the crisis cases. Why you?

A. As you point out, the U.S. attorneys don’t report to me, but someone had to tell the public how hard prosecutors across the department have been investigating these cases. I was willing to talk about these issues, to continue to talk about them in the face of criticism, and I’m still willing to talk about them.

As with the earlier versions of this lame excuse, neither Lanny nor the interviewer mentions the larger task forces (like the foreclosure fraud one) where Lanny was a central player in not prosecuting banksters, nor do they mention Lanny’s past descriptions of talking to experts and CEOs before making decisions on not indicting banksters.

But the lame excuse also comes with a new twist.

Q. Given that you’ve taken a beating on crisis cases, what is your legacy here?

A. The criminal division is now at the center of criminal law enforcement, both in prosecutions and policy. I don’t think that was ever the case before.

The very next question — at least as excerpted — after reporting Lanny dodging any direct responsibility for not prosecuting banksters, Ben Protess records Lanny claiming credit for putting the Criminal Division solidly at the center of criminal law enforcement — or lack of enforcement, in the case of the banksters.

Not responsible. Responsible, In four lines or less.

The only news in this article, as far as I can see, is this exchange.

Q. What’s next?

A. I’m probably going to take a few months off. I’m also going to start talking to law firms and the like and make a decision about where I’m going to go.

Q. The interviews are just a formality, right? The legal world assumes you’re heading back to Covington & Burling.

A. I love Covington. But I’m going to look at Covington; I’ll look at other firms. It’s certainly not a formality.

The man who just finished 4 hard years of not prosecuting any banksters is going to shop around and perhaps may not return to his former spooked up, corporatist, but not necessarily the most bank focused firm.

Lanny’s gonna see how much helping banksters avoid prosecution is worth.

Free agency riches: It’s not just for sports figures anymore.

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