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Letters to the Law

Steven J. Hatfill's lawyer petitions the Justice Department to treat his client fairly.

12:00 AM, Sep 13, 2002 • By DAVID TELL
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A FEW DAYS AGO on this page, I posted links to some of the documents released to reporters, at an August 25 press conference, by lawyers for anthrax-investigation "person of interest" Steven J. Hatfill. I also promised to make available the remaining such documents before this week was done. And so here they are--again, with an appropriate caution to readers that the following material was designed by its author, Hatfill attorney Victor M. Glasberg, specifically and exclusively to protect the person of interest's personal interests.

First, we have Glasberg's August 1 letter to U.S. Attorney Kenneth Kohl, which describes--and questions the propriety of--a sequence of events leading up to that day's criminal search of Hatfill's Frederick, Maryland, apartment.

Next we have a lengthy August 13 letter from Glasberg, jointly addressed to Michael Defeo and H. Marshall Jarrett, directors, respectively, of the FBI and main Justice Department Offices of Professional Responsibility. Here Glasberg revisits the August 1 search, with particular attention to what he calls a series of "leaks and other misconduct" by federal officials associated with that search. Glasberg ends by requesting, among other things, that all such officials "be required to undergo a polygraph examination."

On August 16, Glasberg writes again to Defeo and Jarrett, expanding his complaints about a "torrent of leaking" to include new allegations against Hatfill contained in an August 13 column by Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times. Noting that Kristof has reported these charges in a manner that implies they have some "authoritative basis," Glasberg concludes that the Times column must therefore represent a government leak--unless, of course, Kristof has simply "invented" the stuff "out of thin air."

Glasberg sends a third letter of protest to Defeo and Jarrett on August 21, this one requesting an "investigation" into the conduct of Attorney General John Ashcroft, who had personally and publicly identified Hatfill as a "person of interest" in the anthrax case. By acting to "stigmatize an uncharged, presumptively innocent man," Glasberg says, Ashcroft has "violated both the letter and spirit" of federal rules governing the confidentiality of law enforcement programs.

Also on August 21, Glasberg summarizes all the above complaints--and sends copies of the originals--in a separate letter jointly addressed to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy and Leahy's counterpart in the House of Representatives, F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. Glasberg asks that Congress, too, undertake "an appropriate inquiry into irregularities associated with this investigation" and its treatment of his client.

Finally, by means of a letter dated August 22, Glasberg introduces himself to Glenn A. Fine, inspector general of the Department of Justice; provides Fine with duplicate copies of the complaints Glasberg has previously filed with Michael Defeo and H. Marshall Jarrett; and requests that Fine take "appropriate investigatory and disciplinary action" in the event that "some of these matters fall within your jurisdiction."

David Tell is opinion editor of The Weekly Standard.