The expression “criminal attorney” is wonderfully idiomatically ambiguous. Is it a criminal who practices law? A lawyer who only defends criminals? It is, of course, what is innocently intended, a lawyer who defends people accused of crimes. Marc Fernich is a criminal attorney, and when you consider his list of clients, the idiom retreats into ambiguity once again.
Fernich’s clients include accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, and convicted crime family boss John “Junior” Gotti. It’s a rogue’s gallery of some of the most awful people the human race has managed to produce thus far, so it’s little wonder that Fernich’s latest client is Congressman Matt Gaetz.
Campaign finance records reveal that Gaetz paid Fernich $25,000 for “consulting fees,” a modest beginning, to be sure. Contrast that with the more substantial $825,000 Gaetz paid to the Logan Circle Group for advertising and “strategic campaign consulting.” But both payments portend the Gaetz strategy to pump his image while quietly defending his backside. It is a sinister and cynical move of Machiavellian proportions. These monies would not have to be spent at all if Gaetz were not in significant legal peril.
And Gaetz knows it. The New York Times reported that the Department of Justice is investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her to travel with him. Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing, of course. But he is preparing for the worst.
According to his website, Fernich’s law practice “centers on criminal defense, mainly sophisticated appeals and legal motions that can toss charges at the trial level or pave the way for future appeals.” So not only is Gaetz bringing in the heavy guns, he is covering both his charge and retreat. Fernich can do everything from getting charges dismissed (“tossed”) to appealing convictions.
Meanwhile Gaetz, this spoiled child of money and privilege, continues to whine about what a victim he and others like him are. He continues to promote the Big Lie that the 2020 election was criminally stolen without a shred of evidence to support that claim, while more and more actual criminal evidence is coming to light that he is a statutory rapist, sex trafficker, drug abuser and obstructor of justice.
Meanwhile Gaetz is having trouble finding speaking venues. While he and Marjorie Taylor Greene clutch their pearls and wear sackcloth and ashes about their freedom of speech being violated, various speaking arenas are exercising their right to freedom from speech. They are, in effect, saying Gaetz and Greene are free to say what they like, but they can go and spew their hate somewhere else.
Don’t be fooled by Gaetz’ overt bluster. In that quiet, dark place where the public isn’t watching and he’s finally being brutally honest with himself Gaetz is scared shitless. His frenetic drive to campaign with Greene and shout over microphones has an unmistakable quality of noisy desperation. Gaetz is in trouble, Gaetz knows it and there’s a very real chance he may go to prison. Gaetz is protesting just a little too much with his manic displays of bravura. Meanwhile if you follow the money he’s spending on publicists and criminal attorneys you can find out what he really thinks. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.