First Amendment

Ruling on Lawyer’s Nazi Comparison Ads Expected This Week


Geoffrey Fieger. Photo by John Sobczak

Embattled Michigan trial lawyer Geoffrey Fieger will learn this week whether a Detroit federal judge views his television ads as prejudicial pretrial publicity.

The ad getting the most scrutiny compares the Bush administration to Nazis, the National Law Journal reports. It says: “They came for the Communists … the unionists … the Jews, the gypsies and the Catholics. … Then they came for the lawyers.” The ad has photos of President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former White House adviser Karl Rove.

A federal magistrate had said Fieger should pull the ads because of concerns they would taint the jury pool in his upcoming trial for alleged campaign law violations. A federal judge is weighing Fieger’s argument that the First Amendment protects the ads and is expected to rule on Wednesday.

Fieger is awaiting trial on charges that he used straw donors to funnel $127,000 in donations to the 2004 presidential campaign of candidate John Edwards. “Fieger’s primary approach to defense is offense,” the ABA Journal wrote in a profile of the lawyer.

Updated 12:56 p.m. to include a link to the commercial.

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