There are times you want your attorney to zealously advocate on your behalf and there are times you want them to just shut up! I would think that in the case of Albert Haynesworth and his attorney A. Scott Bolden that this is one of those times when you wish for the latter. Haynesworth, currently under contract (and an enormous one at that) with the Washington Redskins, was arraigned on misdemeanor charges of sex abuse for allegedly groping a waitress at the hotel in Washington, DC. His attorney, Mr. Bolden, has been all over the sports talk radio shows the last couple of days telling anyone who will listen that the alleged act simply never occurred. And here is the problem, there is nothing to be gained by his attorney yapping with the hosts of these shows. So why is he, the lawyer, doing it?
Well, it’s good publicity for the attorney. Mr. Bolden is a partner at Reed Smith who has a pretty impressive resume. So the exposure gained by going the rounds on the talk shows is of some value. But does it help his client? Well, perhaps he is trying to persuade the general public to hold off forming their opinion until such time as the trial takes place and all the evidence can be presented. But the public to be reached on the sports talk radio shows is pretty limited and has already made up their mind regarding Haynesworth – they hate him. Whatever leeway he may have received from sympathetic fans who thought he had an argument when the Redskins changed coaches, and therefore defensive direction, has long been eroded by Haynesworth’s general behavior and performance. So how is all this yakking on sports talk radio working on behalf of his client? OK, so then perhaps Mr. Bolden is trying to influence the jury pool. Again, I point to the ratings for sports talk radio and suggest he is wasting his time as the overwhelming majority of potential jurors, while they may be Redskins fans, are not avid talk show listeners.
Here is the best reason I can think of that Mr. Bolden is presenting his case, at least some of it, on the public airwaves: his client may be insisting that he do so. Haynesworth has been trashed for the better part of two years now and this is just another saga in a long list of things for which the public finds reason to criticize him. Maybe Haynesworth told his attorney to get out there and spread his story a bit to try and blunt that criticism. That is not working out so well because Mr. Bolden is smart enough to know that he can’t put too many “facts” out there so soon without compromising his trial posture. So he is reduced to saying that the two sides see things differently and that the facts do not support the woman’s allegations. Well, no kidding?
So what are we left with? Like much of sports talk radio, which I listen to a lot, we are left with a lot of chatter and very little substance. Unless of course the publicity that the lawyer enjoys leads to more. But is that in the best interests of the client?