Sandy Berger forfeits law license to avoid cross-ex on document swipe

And so a case that’s already reached the heights of suspicion somehow manages to reach a little higher.

In a written statement issued by Larry Breuer, Mr. Berger’s attorney, the former national security adviser said he pleaded guilty in the Justice Department investigation, accepted the penalties sought by the department and recognized that his law license would be affected.

“I have decided to voluntarily relinquish my license,” he said. “While I derived great satisfaction from years of practicing law, I have not done so for 15 years and do not envision returning to the profession. I am very sorry for what I did, and I deeply apologize.”

In giving up his license, Mr. Berger avoids being cross-examined by the Board on Bar Counsel, where he risked further disclosure of specific details of his theft. The agreement is expected to be formalized today.

The Warren Court ruled 40 years ago that the right against self-incrimination applies to disbarment proceedings; so far as I know, it’s still good law. Which means there probably wouldn’t have been any new revelations about documents down the pants even if they had gone ahead with the hearing. Rather, it would have been a PR bonanza of the Burgler having to get up there and assert his privilege over and over while the board quizzed him. What a video clip it would have made. And now it’s not going to happen.

And for this we must mourn.

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David Strom 3:31 PM on November 30, 2022