Legal Reminiscences

Jacob A. Stein

Chairman Stephen G. Yeonas made a last‑minute call Monday evening during the 25th Anniversary Celebration Conference to a long‑time friend to speak at our conference after a mutual friend, Plato Cacheris, became ill and had to cancel. Jacob A. Stein, of Stein, Mitchell & Muse, who is the former President of the DC Bar Association agreed and the conferees were delighted by his presentation. Following are excerpts.
Plato Cacheris and I are very close friends, and he and I, I think, probably are the only lawyers who were counsel in the two cases involving the future of the presidents of the United States. As Steve said, we were in the Watergate case. Plato was representing the Attorney General, John Mitchell, and I was representing Ken Parkinson. And the other defendants were Haldeman, Ehrlichman and a few other thieves, and they were all sitting together. Plato is there with the former Attorney General. But I thought, "Why the hell would I want to go sit next to those people?" So I sat far away. And the judge liked that. The judge became quite sympathetic to my client. And as the case goes on, he took a liking to my client — it was John Sirica — and he says to me, "Jake, are you going to put on any character witnesses?" And I said yes. He says, "How many? Let's get this moving." I said, "Seventeen." He says, "I never put on more than three character witnesses in this case, any case." So the next day he says to me, Judge Sirica, "Are the character witnesses here?" I said yeah. There was a roomful of them. He said, "Well, get them in here." And I put on seventeen character witnesses, which probably acquitted the person I was representing. So that's the Watergate case.
Now the Clinton case. A lawyer comes in to see me — and by the way, Plato and I are now in the same building across the street from the Mayflower, and we see each other just about every day. And a lawyer comes into my office, and he says, "I saw something about you in The New Yorker magazine." I said, "What was that?" He said, "There was an article about you as an independent counsel," and this and that. And I haven't seen that. And he said, "This lawyer representing Monica Lewinsky is crazy. He's running around holding press conferences, and they don't want him anymore. Would you be interested in representing her?" I said I would be, certainly. And he said, "Well, I'll be back in touch with you."
So I go down to Plato's office, which was on the sixth floor, I was on the eleventh floor, and I said, "Plato, this fellow came in and was talking about representing Monica Lewinsky. Apparently, the family wants to get rid of this crazy guy who's representing her." And Plato says, "Well, somebody came in to see me about representing Monica Lewinsky." He said, "Let's do this. Let's join up." So we joined up, and the two of us extricated her from her problem over time. And since the lawyer who had been representing her held a press conference every three minutes, we agreed, Plato and I, that we would never appear on Larry King, we'd never have a press conference except the first press conference announcing the fact that we were representing her.
So one day I'm in the Greek restaurant just below Dupont Circle with my wife, and Plato was over in Greece. And the waiters got together and in some way or the other brought in a Greek soccer match, and all of a sudden, the program was halted, and Plato appears. He's holding a press conference in Greece. So he comes back, and I said, "Plato, we weren't going to hold any press conferences." He said, "We didn't hold any in English, did we?"
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