- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 29, 2012

From the District’s lawsuit against him to his plea to stealing public funds, former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. has made few comments in public without a barrage of attorneys to insulate him from the heavy scrutiny of the media.

But one of several heavy hitting attorneys linked to Thomas, Abbe Lowell, came and went without entering the public eye. That’s not the case in North Carolina, where he has bigger fish to fry ahead of Thomas‘ sentencing in U.S. District Court to a potential prison term for taking earmarked funds and filing false tax returns.

Mr. Lowell, whose law firm describes him on its website as “one of the nation’s leading white-collar defense and trial attorneys,” is busy being photographed next to another political bigwig who quickly fell from grace - former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. The former North Carolina senator and presidential contender is steeped in a corruption trial on charges that he used $1 million political contributions to cover up an affair.

Mr. Lowell, a popular lawyer who has defended the likes of lobbyist Jack Abramoff and pop culture mogul Sean Combs, has been grilling a former campaign aide to Mr. Edwards, a witness for the prosecution, at a courthouse in Greensboro, N.C.

Some D.C. observes raised their eyebrows when Mr. Lowell’s name appeared on settlement papers connected to a civil case the city’s attorney general filed in June against Thomas, especially considering the cost of such high-profile representation.

Abbe was never really part of the defense team,” one of Thomas‘ remaining attorneys said. “Abbe worked on the civil case.”

Luckily for Thomas, he can still rely on the representation of the city’s top legal brass, including Seth Rosenthal and Karl Racine of the Venable law firm and Frederick Cooke, the go-to lawyer for D.C. politicians who find themselves in legal trouble.

Federal prosecutors likely will be well-represented on their side of the courtroom, as well, on May 15.

Message recycling

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s political action committee started a feel-good ad campaign last week touting the state’s accomplishments over the past two years.

“Jobs and opportunity are thriving again,” Mr. McDonnell says at the end of the first ad. “Virginia’s growing strong - and so is our future.”

Some were left scratching their heads, since Mr. McDonnell cannot run for a second term. Others, notably Democrats, derided it as a less-than-subtle nod to Mitt Romney for a spot on the GOP presidential ticket.

Mr. McDonnell’s communications director, J. Tucker Martin, took to Twitter with a wry, somewhat bemused attitude on the hubbub that somehow spiraled into a debate about who exactly was first to come up with “jobs and opportunity” as a slogan.

Politico’s Dave Catanese tweeted that Mr. McDonnell had “swiped” the Democratic Governors Association’s slogan.

Mr. Martin pointed to Mr. McDonnell’s using the slogan in 2009 and 2010.

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