Lanny Davis Becomes Go-To Lawyer for African Strongmen

The lawyer and Democratic lobbyist who left McDermott Will & Emery to form his own firm has been in the news lately for his high-profile clients, but the press hasn’t been positive.

Davis’ latest big-name client is Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to give up power after losing a presidential election last month, according to Salon and the Am Law Daily. Gbagbo’s supporters have been accused of human rights abuses and the United States has imposed sanctions on Gbagbo.

Davis supports bringing in an international mediator and says he supports transparency in election results. He is being paid $100,000 per month for the first three months of work for Gbagbo, according to the Am Law Daily. He’s earning far more for his representation of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the president of Equatorial Guinea who also has been accused of human rights violations. The legal tab is $1 million for a year’s work, the Am Law Daily says.

Salon noted recent media reports that blame Gbagbo supporters for violence and killings of political foes. Do you have any qualms about representing Gbagbo? Salon wanted to know. “If that’s true, I would absolutely not be comfortable,” Davis answered. “I’d like to know if it’s true.”

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