Chronicling the highs, lows, quips, quotes, comings and goings of Washington, D.C. spokesguys and spokesgals

Monday, September 18, 2006

Bill Jefferson's Crisis Comms Spin Doctor

If ever a politician needed a crisis communications counselor, Bill Jefferson -- who was found earlier this year to have stashed $90,000 in tinfoil-wrapped cash in his freezer -- surely fits the bill.

CQ Weekly's Shawn Zeller reveals today (subscription) that Judy Smith (right), founder of DC's Impact Strategies and head of its crisis communications practice, has been providing comms counseling and support to Bill Jeff since July.

Most of Smith's past high-profile stints have involved representing figures that are unfriendly to Democratic pols. That includes repping Clarence Thomas in his Senate confirmation hearings (who many Dems strongly opposed), disappeared intern Chandra Levy (whose disappearance contributed to the downfall of ex-Rep. Gary Condit) and Monica Lewinsky (no explanation necessary). Given all that history it may be a shift for her to represent a Democratic congressman in this instance.

Zeller adds, "Since she signed on to the Jefferson case in July, Smith hasn’t done much public speaking on his behalf, referring most calls to the congressman’s attorney, Robert Trout, the partner of famed prominent-person-in-trouble attorney Plato Cacheris."

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