Watchdog Groups File Bar Complaint Against U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Lawyers, Of Hunton & Williams

Cites Richard Wyatt, John Woods And Robert Quackenboss For Participating In Dirty Tricks Spying Plot Against NGOs, Reporters And Unions

Complaint Ties Leaked Emails To A Dozen Criminal Violations And Intentional Torts

Washington, D.C. -- On Wednesday, February 23, 2011, two watchdog groups filed a lengthy bar complaint with the Board of Professional Responsibility in Washington D.C. against Hunton & Williams attorneys Richard Wyatt, John Woods and Robert Quackenboss for their participation in a dirty tricks campaign against the groups. The complaint can be viewed at Two weeks ago, 71,000 emails created by investigators working for Hunton & Williams were leaked by the hacktivist network Anonymous. They showed that the lawyers, on behalf of their clients, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America, solicited and conspired with the investigators to engage in a long list of criminal conduct and intentional torts against reporters, NGOs and Unions. This has been reported widely in the national press, including the Washington Post.

“It is astounding that prominent lawyers from Hunton & Williams would conspire and solicit in writing to commit what seem to be obvious crimes, intentional torts, and ethical violations against reporters, NGOs and unions,” said attorney Kevin Zeese who filed the complaints on behalf of and “Our complaint shows that Richard Wyatt, John Woods and Robert Quackenboss were willing to cross ethical boundaries to stop us from engaging in protected First Amendment activity. The emails show that they would stop at nothing to keep us from exposing questionable activities of the US Chamber of Commerce. Our complaint lays bare for all to see just how egregiously the lawyers violated the Rules of Professional Conduct on behalf of a wealthy client. Not only will this complaint now be reviewed in various legal and law enforcement forums, but other clients and potential clients will get to see what really goes on behind the façade of Hunton & Williams.”

The complaint quotes from dozens of leaked emails and documents showing that the lawyers actively conspired with the investigators to engage in “dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation,” through the use of “false documents,” “fake personas,” “false information,” and “attacks” to “discredit” NGOs, unions and reporters. The complaint, by cross referencing these emails with criminal statutes listed by the Department of Justice in its manual on “Prosecuting Computer Crimes,” demonstrates that the lawyers “solicited, conspired with and counseled three of its investigative private security firms to engage in domestic spying, fraud, forgery, extortion, cyber stalking, defamation, harassment, destruction of property, spear phishing, destruction of property, identity theft, computer scraping, cyber attacks, interference with business, civil rights violations, harassment, and theft.”

The complaint cites and quotes numerous articles condemning the actions of Hunton & Williams, including one authored by Salon reporter and attorney Glenn Greenwald, who was also targeted: “But the real party here which deserves much more scrutiny is Hunton & Williams -- one of the most well-connected legal and lobbying firms in DC — and and its partner John Woods ... Woods is at the center of all of it: the key cog acting on behalf of the Bank of America and the Chamber. It's Woods who is soliciting these firms to submit these proposals, pursuant to work for the Chamber and the Bank; ... For a lawyer to be at the center of an odious and quite possibly illegal scheme to target progressive activists and their families, threaten the careers of journalists as a means of silencing them, and fabricate forged documents intended for public consumption -- and then steadfastly refuse to comment -- is just inexcusable. ... In exchange for the privileges lawyers receive (including the exclusive right to furnish legal advice, represent others, and act as officers of the court), members of the Bar have particular ethical obligations to the public. At the very least, the spirit -- if not the letter -- of those obligations is being seriously breached by a lawyer who appears to be at the center of these kinds of pernicious, lawless plots and then refuses to account to the public for what he did."

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