Narco News Gains Congressional Ally in "Drug War on Trial" Lawsuit 9/7/01

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Crusading journalist Al Giordano, whose Narco News web site ( is being sued for libel in New York City by Mexican banker Roberto Hernandez, has won a congressional ally in his David v. Goliath battle with Hernandez' Banamex, Citibank, which just gobbled up Banamex, and the high-powered Washington lobbying and law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Howard & Feld.

Hernandez was accused by Mexican newspaper editor Mario Menendez of participating in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy, charges which Giordano picked up and repeated. Although three different Mexican courts threw out Hernandez' libel suits against Menendez, his venue-shopping lawyers at Akin Gump decided to try again in New York City. Giordano was added to the case because of remarks he made in New York.

But the case has turned into a public relations fiasco for Hernandez and Akin Gump, with international media attention and harsh criticism from First Amendment groups and journalist's organizations. Now, in a letter released this week, Rep. Cynthia McKinney has publicly chastised Akin Gump senior partner and former Democratic Party leader Robert Strauss for his firm's role in the affair.

Writing to express her "deep concern and protest" over the lawsuit, which "is clearly, as many of the most-respected media critics in the country have noted, aimed at chilling the free speech of Narco News," McKinney strongly urged Strauss to end his firm's involvement in the lawsuit.

"I write to bring this to your attention because, as a senior partner in a large law firm and former Chairman of the Democratic Party, you should be aware that attorneys from your firm are engaging in this transparent attack on freedom of the press, on behalf of billionaire corporate clients, in your name."

Whether someone like veteran fixer Robert Strauss is susceptible to shame remains to be seen, but Narco News and the vigorous journalism it practices has gained yet another ally.

(McKinney's strongly written letter may be viewed in its entirety at online.)

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Issue #202, 9/7/01 Editorial: How Soon We Forget | Michigan Drug Warriors Drive Marijuana Activists to the Brink, Then Gun Them Down: Standoff Ends With Two Dead at Rainbow Farm | Federal Prosecutors Running Scared in 9th Circuit, Ask Court to Reverse Buckland Finding on Mandatory Minimums and Post-Conviction Sentence Enhancements | Annals of Prop. 36:00:00 Orange County Court Extends Provisions to Paraphernalia Offenses, Alameda DAs Fight to Keep Drug Offenders in Jail Pending Conviction | Veterans Group Passes Anti-Drug War Resolution | Cannabis Cafes in London? Brixton Discusses Amsterdam-Style Coffee Houses | Narco News Gains Congressional Ally in "Drug War on Trial" Lawsuit | Colombian President Calls for Global Summit to Evaluate Anti-Drug Policies | Newsbrief: Needle Exchange in Springfield and Atlanta | Witness for Peace Delegation to Take on Drug War | Net Scan: Alan Bock, Jamaica Commission | T-shirts for Victory! Special Offer and Appeal from DRCNet This Month | Action Alerts: Ecstasy Bill, HEA, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana, John Walters | HEA Campaign Still Seeking Student Victim Cases -- New York Metropolitan Area Especially Urgent | The Reformer's Calendar

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