In a veritable orgy of lawyering, we've got Smith Moore representing both the city of Greensboro and the News & Record, and Seth Cohen of Smith, James Bowlett and Cohen, acting as mouthpiece for both
While some of the letters reveal the reasoning behind the city's recalcitrance to release information -- namely that doing so would jeopardize a criminal trial, others bear more curious themes.
This from a letter by Seth Cohen to Smith Moore:
"It is my understanding that the city has already or will in the future release information gathered during its investigations of Randall Brady and Scott Sanders.... I certainly hope this is not true."
So Cohen, who has been practically begging city council to enlighten them on the black book, does not exactly endorse a complete free-flow on information.
But wait: This is the same Seth Cohen who is representing the Rhino Times in their lawsuit against the city to uphold state statutes regarding open meeting law.
From the Aug. 9, 2007 Rhino Times:
"The Rhinoceros Times, represented by Seth Cohen of Smith James Rowlett & Cohen, on behalf of the citizens of Greensboro, has filed a lawsuit under the North Carolina open meetings statute in an attempt to get the courts to order the City Council to obey the law."
Listen, I get it: Cohen is a lawyer, a mouth for hire. And hey, some of my best friends are lawyers. Their job is to represent their clients. Period.
So Cohen would be acting in
The Rhino is also suing the city for release of the recordings that Cohen is working so hard to squelch.
There is more convolution, of course.
Allison Van Laningham, of Smith Moore, represents the N&R in its legal quest to obtain these recordings of that Dec. 21, 2005 conversation.
Martin Erwin, also of Smith Moore, advises the city about what pieces of information it can safety release without screwing up the criminal investigation of... Randall Brady and Scott Sanders.
Somehow, Kevin Bacon must figure into all of this.