Edwards has pled not-guilty and has retained the counsel of Matt Whitaker, a well known Republican activist and attorney. Whitaker was appointed the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa by President George W. Bush. He entered private practice and established Whitaker, Hagenow GMBG. He ran for state treasurer in 2002, and most recently was Iowa co-chair for Tim Pawlenty’s and Rick Perry’s presidential campaigns.
Now the question being asked is this… will representing Edwards hurt Whitaker politically? Craig Robinson at The Iowa Republican says yes:
Edwards is an odd client for the politically ambitious Whitaker. Many Iowa Republicans are disturbed by Edwards’ actions. Many believe that Whitaker is interested in running for office again, but defending a Democrat operative who tried to steal a Republican office holder’s identity would surely become an issue in a primary.
I don’t believe that taking this case hurts Whitaker. Defense attorneys are not known for being afraid to represent potentially unpopular clients. Whitaker’s last high-profile criminal defendant was Wendy Runge, one of the film producers charged in connection with misusing Iowa tax credits. Runge ended up pleading guilty in that case.
I believe there are those who would certainly try to use this against Whitaker should he decide to run again, but I doubt such charges would get any traction. We understand that everyone regardless of their political leanings have a right to counsel and are innocent until proven guilty. Legally this was a good move by whoever is paying Edwards’ legal bills. I seriously doubt Whitaker is doing this pro bono.
- Republican lawyer to defend former Democratic aide accused of identity theft (thegazette.com)
- Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz Targeted for Identity Theft (iowagrounds.com)
- Corruption Eruption: Former Obama staffer arrested in Iowa Secretary of State identity theft investigation. (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)
- Iowa Secretaries of State, the Secretary of State Project, and Stalin (thepatriotperspective.wordpress.com)
- Obama Staffer Arrested for Stealing Identity (actualgrit.wordpress.com)
- Link Strategies’ Dirty Deeds and Deep Ties to Top Democrats (theiowarepublican.com)
- Dem Operative Pleads Not Guilty to Stealing Schultz’ Identity (theiowarepublican.com)