Why Andrew Weissmann Is So Despised

 

The list is long for all the people who have been criticized and condemned by the Right for their participation in the Trump-Russia fiasco. Many on the list pretend to be public servants but, unfortunately, they are political hacks who have shown they are willing to do just about anything to get rid of Donald Trump. But from my perspective, one man has been mentioned only in passing, and he deserves to be in the glaring spotlight of justice. His many years of unethical behavior and manipulation need to be not just called out; there must be a way to hold him to account.

His name is Andrew Weissmann.

On paper, his credentials are impressive. But his actions over the years have manipulated the legal system, misled jurists, intimidated innocent people, and led the Special Counsel team in an unprecedented effort to remove a president. I’d like to give you some background on Weissmann, and also learn from all of you if there is any way to hold him to account after all this time.

First, it was no secret that Andrew Weissmann had a reputation for no-holds-barred efforts as a prosecutor. He ran high-profile cases involving New York’s mob bosses from the US attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, 2001-2002. Christopher Wray praised him when he was selected to direct the Enron case, 2002-2005. His history with Bob Mueller was at the FBI, and he left for private practice in 2005. He went to work under Mueller again as General Counsel in 2011, and headed the criminal fraud section of the DOJ in 2011.

As you can see, Weissmann and Mueller had plenty of time to get to know each other; that’s probably one reason that Mueller hired him for the Special Counsel team in June 2017. Weissmann was referred to as the “pitbull.” We’ll return to his most recent work for Mueller after we review his questionable prosecutorial history.

Weissman headed three task forces that would demonstrate his ruthless and in some cases, disturbing behavior. The first was Enron. Without reviewing the history of that case, Margot Cleveland of The Federalist discovered the following, after she was successful in having some of the documents from that case unsealed:

The now unsealed records expose efforts by Weissmann, and the Enron Task Force he led, to intimidate witnesses and to interfere in the attorney-client relationship of a cooperating witness. Several affidavits unsealed last week catalogued veiled threats made to witnesses the Enron defendants sought to interview. However, because many of the attorneys would speak only off the record to Enron’s attorneys, the courts refused to consider the affidavits sufficient to prove prosecutorial misconduct.

She added the following:

In addition to Weissmann’s inappropriate attempt to push [Dan] Cogdell off the case, a 17-page report unsealed on Thursday by expert witness Michael Tigar detailed many more vagrancies. Especially troubling to Tigar was the Enron Task Force’s use of ‘multiple grand juries working over several years’ not to ‘return fresh indictments or start new cases, but to make the threat of indictment real and tangible’ to the nearly 90 unindicted co-conspirators.

The case against Arthur Andersen is another example of Weissmann’s destructive behavior. He ruined Arthur Andersen, with 85,000 employees worldwide. Convicted at trial, a fatally damaged Andersen appealed. The Supreme Court eventually took the case. In 2005, the nation’s highest court overturned the conviction in a 9-0 opinion.

In the Merrill Lynch case, Weissmann sent four Merrill Lynch executives to prison for a year:

Weissmann creatively criminalized a business transaction between Merrill Lynch and Enron. Weissmann’s team made sure they did not even get bail pending their appeals, even though the charges Weissmann concocted, like those against Andersen, were literally unprecedented.

Weissmann’s prosecution devastated the lives and families of the Merrill executives, causing enormous defense costs, unimaginable stress, and torturous prison time. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the conspiracy and wire fraud rulings of the case.


Although there were grumblings about Mueller hiring Weissmann, he became of high-profile interest when Judicial Watch received an email sent from Weissmann to Sally Yates, when she refused to carry out President Trump’s travel ban. Weissman wrote: “I am so proud. And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects.” Weissmann was also reported to have been at a Hillary Clinton election night party; clearly, people had reason to wonder if he was going to participate in the Mueller team without a partisan agenda.

Later public events validated people’s concerns: Weissmann ordered a pre-dawn raid by the FBI on Manafort’s home in Virginia, and the raid lasted for hours. When Manafort was put in prison, he was in solitary confinement for 23 hours per day; it’s unclear whether his sentence, which was reduced to 47 months instead of the recommended 19 to 24 years, will continue to keep him in solitary. (It was reported that the decision to keep him in solitary was to ensure his safety.)

In spite of all these questionable actions, Weissmann never was called to account, as far as the public knows. I have no way of determining if he only bent rules or broke them, or acted unethically. But he certainly ruined many lives, multiple times, and has never been held to account. For those of you who practice law, is there no recourse? Is there a chance that AG Barr will discover that Weissmann broke the law? If so, will Barr take action against Weissmann, now that he has left the government?


Andrew Weissmann left the Mueller team in March 2019. He is expected to work at New York University School of Law.

Maybe he’ll be teaching ethics.

Published in Politics
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There are 58 comments.

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  1. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

     

    The case against Arthur Andersen is another example of Weissmann’s destructive behavior. He ruined Arthur Andersen, with 85,000 employees worldwide. Convicted at trial, a fatally damaged Andersen appealed. The Supreme Court eventually took the case. In 2005, the nation’s highest court overturned the conviction in a 9-0 opinion.

    My niece went back to school as an adult, earned a degree in Accounting, and got a job with Arthur Anderson in Chicago. She was doing very well until that Enron case. She was so traumatized by the thing (I don’t think she had anything to do with Enron) that she developed agoraphobia and has never recovered. She is now in her 50s, lives with a boyfriend for years now, and is slowly regaining some confidence. Weissmann is one of those people that, as my father used to say about someone he hated, I would like to see in Hell with his back broken.

    • #1
    • June 2, 2019, at 9:33 AM PDT
    • 17 likes
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

     

    The case against Arthur Andersen is another example of Weissmann’s destructive behavior. He ruined Arthur Andersen, with 85,000 employees worldwide. Convicted at trial, a fatally damaged Andersen appealed. The Supreme Court eventually took the case. In 2005, the nation’s highest court overturned the conviction in a 9-0 opinion.

    My niece went back to school as an adult, earned a degree in Accounting, and got a job with Arthur Anderson in Chicago. She was doing very well until that Enron case. She was so traumatized by the thing (I don’t think she had anything to do with Enron) that she developed agoraphobia and has never recovered. She is now in her 50s, lives with a boyfriend for years now, and is slowly regaining some confidence. Weissmann is one of those people that, as my father used to say about someone he hated, I would like to see in Hell with his back broken.

    @michaelkennedy, I can’t imagine the devastation she experienced. And how terrible it must have been for you to watch her. I hope she continues to find her way. I’m so sorry.

    • #2
    • June 2, 2019, at 10:09 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Also, the effects of these kinds of terrible acts ripple out. Not only was your niece’s life wounded, but all those connected to her were touched, too. Multiply it by those 85,000 employees and everyone in their lives . . .

    • #3
    • June 2, 2019, at 10:11 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  4. DonG Coolidge

    The fact that Weissman was on the Mueller team (and probably wrote the Mueller dossier) tells us that Mueller and Rosenstein and Sessions are all unethical. I include Sessions, because I do not accept Sgt. Schultz excuses. I expect no justice. The swamp protects those that play by the swamp’s rules.

    • #4
    • June 2, 2019, at 10:23 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  5. Barfly Member

    Sociopath. One of the 2-4% in the general population, but they gravitate to the tails of the distribution. The concentration is probably a few times denser at corporate executive level, then higher than that in the double digit GS-xx world. 

    If any free society ever figures out a way to identify and neutralize its sociopaths, that society will succeed in a way that’ll make the rest of the world look like Somalia.

    • #5
    • June 2, 2019, at 10:29 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Sociopath. One of the 2-4% in the general population, but they gravitate to the tails of the distribution. The concentration is probably a few times denser at corporate executive level, then higher than that in the double digit GS-xx world.

    If any free society ever figures out a way to identify and neutralize its sociopaths, that society will succeed in a way that’ll make the rest of the world look like Somalia.

    I know quite a lot about sociopaths; I believe I have one in our family. There are some who say the number is even greater than 2-4%, but they hide in plain sight. I fully agree with your assessment, @barfly. When you are victimized by a sociopath, it can be horrible.

    • #6
    • June 2, 2019, at 10:39 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  7. Barfly Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I know quite a lot about sociopaths; I believe I have one in our family.

    I’m sorry to hear that, but it’s good you know. Warned is armed. Empathy is a strength, but only in situations where all parties have it.

    • #7
    • June 2, 2019, at 11:54 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  8. cdor Member

    Sydney Powell, License to Lie:

    • #8
    • June 2, 2019, at 1:19 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  9. Old Bathos Member

    The fact that Weissman has a law license and no criminal record is an indictment of the system and the legal profession. He is scum.

    The fact that Mueller chose him as his top assistant is even more a reflection of Mueller’s bad judgment and poor character than the coverup of the FBI-Whitey Bulger conspiracy to frame innocent men.

    i strongly suspect the tone, substance and strategy of the “obstruction” concoction was done by Weissman. Not even Mueller is that devious and unprincipled.

    • #9
    • June 2, 2019, at 1:25 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  10. WillowSpring Member

    You would be interested in “Licensed to Lie” by Sidney Powell. It has a lot of detail about the Anderson case and the abuse by prosecutors (including Weissmann). She also covers the Senator Stevens (Alaska) case as well as others.

    I warn you, though – It will really make you mad.

    • #10
    • June 2, 2019, at 1:36 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    cdor (View Comment):

    Sydney Powell, License to Lie:

    She’s a courageous and candid speaker for truth and justice. Thanks, @cdor. I hope AG Barr at least consults with her regarding her suggestions for moving forward!

    • #11
    • June 2, 2019, at 1:48 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Western Chauvinist Member

    My impression is Mueller is a partisan hack, semi-competent prosecutor. Weissmann, though, is a dirty, dirty dog.

    • #12
    • June 2, 2019, at 1:58 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  13. James Gawron Thatcher

    cdor (View Comment):

    Sydney Powell, License to Lie:

    cdor,

    This was great! This lady knows exactly what’s up and what needs to be done. Wow!

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #13
    • June 2, 2019, at 3:02 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. JeffreyWright Listener

    Seeing Weissmann as ethical and neutral is as laughable as Mueller is short. 

    • #14
    • June 2, 2019, at 3:23 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Eridemus Coolidge

    I also had a relative who lost her whole retirement with the collapse of Enron. I’m sure that had something to do with Enron itself, but no doubt this creepy being was a distant cause as well. Although it was long ago, she also developed heath problems and what I would call a semi-agoraphobic life.

    • #15
    • June 2, 2019, at 3:52 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Eridemus (View Comment):

    I also had a relative who lost her whole retirement with the collapse of Enron. I’m sure that had something to do with Enron itself, but no doubt this creepy being was a distant cause as well. Although it was long ago, she also developed heath problems and what I would call a semi-agoraphobic life.

    Although I commented earlier about the “ripple effect” of these cases, I didn’t anticipate that impact before writing this OP. It is quite upsetting to think of the lives impacted, even destroyed, by these situations. So sorry, @eridemus.

    • #16
    • June 2, 2019, at 3:58 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Eridemus Coolidge

    @Susan Quinn

    It is quite upsetting to think of the lives impacted, even destroyed, by these situations.

    I’m sure Mr. Weissmann would say they are just small, invisible people. 

    • #17
    • June 2, 2019, at 4:00 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Sweezle Member

    He is a professional creep & always has been.

    • #18
    • June 2, 2019, at 4:06 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  19. Richard Easton Member

    Mueller accepted the position of special counsel to investigate the president the day after he interviewed with the president to become the the director for a second time of the FBI. He obviously didn’t get the position. A novel positing this would be declined by a publisher since the plot should be considered absurd. Any ten year old would decline to offer Mueller this position since he could be considered to have a grudge against Trump. If Mueller was ethical (yea, right), he would have declined the position for the same reason.

    • #19
    • June 2, 2019, at 5:26 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  20. I Walton Member

    Solid article, good comments. I’m beginning to wonder if what we’ve been seeing is SOP Federal behavior. As our Federal bureaucratic and political leaders modernize, leaving traditional moral constraints behind, and community standards increasingly recognized as irrelevant at the federal level, it’s all just power and group think. Perhaps Weismann is just a leader of a new and growing breed. As rotten as local politics appears in general, it does possess inherent, perhaps slow, community correction that do not exist at the highly removed Federal level. To whom are Feds accountable? Not to voters, their communities, other agencies, or parties, to an elected President or Congressman? it’s all just too removed and with time has come to recognize that, but calls it, inate superiority. 

    • #20
    • June 2, 2019, at 5:32 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  21. Gossamer Cat Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):

    Sydney Powell, License to Lie:

    She’s a courageous and candid speaker for truth and justice. Thanks, @cdor. I hope AG Barr at least consults with her regarding her suggestions for moving forward!

    Was just digging on Google for the interview I saw with Mark Levin on Fox with a woman who excoriated Andrew Weissman and his tactics. It was, in fact, Sidney Powell. Here are clips of the interview: https://video.foxnews.com/v/5994034287001/#sp=show-clips.

    From the interview: “Mr. Weissman could write a report that could make you giving your mother a nice Christmas present sound like a federal criminal offense.”

    • #21
    • June 2, 2019, at 5:38 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  22. Percival Thatcher

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):

    Sydney Powell, License to Lie:

    She’s a courageous and candid speaker for truth and justice. Thanks, @cdor. I hope AG Barr at least consults with her regarding her suggestions for moving forward!

    Was just digging on Google for the interview I saw with Mark Levin on Fox with a woman who excoriated Andrew Weissman and his tactics. It was, in fact, Sidney Powell. Here are clips of the interview: https://video.foxnews.com/v/5994034287001/#sp=show-clips.

    From the interview: “Mr. Weissman could write a report that could make you giving your mother a nice Christmas present sound like a federal criminal offense.”

    I think that Mr. Weissman, while and outlier, is by no means unique to the justice system. The obvious cases of prosecutorial misconduct makes one wonder how many more such cases manage to stay below the radar.

    • #22
    • June 2, 2019, at 5:58 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  23. Annefy Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):

    Sydney Powell, License to Lie:

    She’s a courageous and candid speaker for truth and justice. Thanks, @cdor. I hope AG Barr at least consults with her regarding her suggestions for moving forward!

    Was just digging on Google for the interview I saw with Mark Levin on Fox with a woman who excoriated Andrew Weissman and his tactics. It was, in fact, Sidney Powell. Here are clips of the interview: https://video.foxnews.com/v/5994034287001/#sp=show-clips.

    From the interview: “Mr. Weissman could write a report that could make you giving your mother a nice Christmas present sound like a federal criminal offense.”

    I think that Mr. Weissman, while and outlier, is by no means unique to the justice system. The obvious cases of prosecutorial misconduct makes one wonder how many more such cases manage to stay below the radar.

    I have been on God’s green earth for 60 years. In that time I have had interaction with two prosecutors.

    one was a racist and harassed my brother for 18 months and nearly drove him into bankruptcy. The only reason bankruptcy was avoided was because my brother had family to help him

    The other was a liar. 

    Two for two. 

    • #23
    • June 2, 2019, at 6:17 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  24. Gossamer Cat Coolidge

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):

    Sydney Powell, License to Lie:

    She’s a courageous and candid speaker for truth and justice. Thanks, @cdor. I hope AG Barr at least consults with her regarding her suggestions for moving forward!

    Was just digging on Google for the interview I saw with Mark Levin on Fox with a woman who excoriated Andrew Weissman and his tactics. It was, in fact, Sidney Powell. Here are clips of the interview: https://video.foxnews.com/v/5994034287001/#sp=show-clips.

    From the interview: “Mr. Weissman could write a report that could make you giving your mother a nice Christmas present sound like a federal criminal offense.”

    I think that Mr. Weissman, while and outlier, is by no means unique to the justice system. The obvious cases of prosecutorial misconduct makes one wonder how many more such cases manage to stay below the radar.

    I have been on God’s green earth for 60 years. In that time I have had interaction with two prosecutors.

    one was a racist and harassed my brother for 18 months and nearly drove him into bankruptcy. The only reason bankruptcy was avoided was because my brother had family to help him

    The other was a liar.

    Two for two.

    Wow. That sounds horrific.

    • #24
    • June 2, 2019, at 6:23 PM PDT
    • Like
  25. DonG Coolidge

    Richard Easton (View Comment):
    Mueller accepted the position of special counsel to investigate the president the day after he interviewed with the president to become the the director for a second time of the FBI.

    So, the FBI director is limited to a single 10 year term. Mueller got a special waiver to get 2 more years, but he is not eligible for another term. Why the pretense of an interview? What really happened that day? What were Mueller and Rosenstein up to??

    • #25
    • June 2, 2019, at 6:46 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  26. Richard Easton Member

    DonG (View Comment):

    Richard Easton (View Comment):
    Mueller accepted the position of special counsel to investigate the president the day after he interviewed with the president to become the the director for a second time of the FBI.

    So, the FBI director is limited to a single 10 year term. Mueller got a special waiver to get 2 more years, but he is not eligible for another term. Why the pretense of an interview? What really happened that day? What were Mueller and Rosenstein up to??

    I heard it originally from Sebastian Gorka who should know.

    • #26
    • June 2, 2019, at 6:56 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  27. Jim George Member

    @susanquinn, not to put too fine a point on it, but I think, as I have written here several times, and elsewhere, that Andrew Weissmann is a depraved, jackboot thug, bereft of any morals or moral bearings, and is an animal who has brought dishonor upon the profession that I love, and my visceral feelings about this thug are heightened by the fact that we dealt with his kind in our practice of handling civil personal injury and wrongful death cases in the federal court system, mostly in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. More on that later, but I would note that I have written here on Ricochet about the inestimable Sydney Powell and her book, Licensed to Lie, which is largely about Weissmann’s conduct which resulted in some of the worst miscarriages of justice ever seen in our system, which does, contrary to pop culture, strive to see that justice and fairness is done to all litigants. But, that is impossible when a member of the Bar is completely amoral, as obviously Weissmann is, and also how some of our adversaries were in some of our cases. We used to commiserate that those con artists had an enormous advantage over the rest of us who, not virtue signalling here, really did try to conduct our cases in an honest, professional and ethical manner. The fact was that they simply did not care about what they had to do to win, as that thought process never even entered their mind. That describes Weissmann to a “T”, but no need to take it from me, read the pages of Ms. Powell’s excellent book, about which I have written here and here in the past. 

    To put it another way, this phenomenon we are witnessing is not, to me and my law partner, some revolting image of a lawyer gone completely amok, but is a real life, walking, breathing, personification of what we have seen with our own eyes and also have seen the damage and wreckage of lives a monster — yes, that is what I think Weissmann is– can leave behind in his wake. 

    I have said this several times here on Ricochet, and elsewhere, but it bears repeating — for anyone who wants to know how much depravity, cruelty, destruction of lives, one single out-of-control unethical lawyer can leave in his wake, please, please get Sydney Powell’s book, Licensed to Lie, and learn why, among other things, he earned the scorn of none other than the Chief Justice of the United States for, in the case in which his conviction was reversed 9-0 (to put it mildly, an almost unheard of result in an appeal of that kind), in which Chief Justice Rehnquist stated directly, not his style at all, words to the effect that Weissmann had literally “made up” a Federal criminal offense in order to get a conviction. 

    We have here, again not to put too fine a point on it, a monster. 

     

    • #27
    • June 2, 2019, at 7:09 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  28. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Jim George (View Comment):

    @susanquinn, not to put too fine a point on it, but I think, as I have written here several times, and elsewhere, that Andrew Weissmann is a depraved, jackboot thug, bereft of any morals or moral bearings, and is an animal who has brought dishonor upon the profession that I love, and my visceral feelings about this thug are heightened by the fact that we dealt with his kind in our practice of handling civil personal injury and wrongful death cases in the federal court system, mostly in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. More on that later, but I would note that I have written here on Ricochet about the inestimable Sydney Powell and her book, Licensed to Lie, which is largely about Weissmann’s conduct which resulted in some of the worst miscarriages of justice ever seen in our system, which does, contrary to pop culture, strive to see that justice and fairness is done to all litigants SNIP

    To put it another way, this phenomenon we are witnessing is not, to me and my law partner, some revolting image of a lawyer gone completely amok, but is a real life, walking, breathing, personification of what we have seen with our own eyes and also have seen the damage and wreckage of lives a monster — yes, that is what I think Weissmann is– can leave behind in his wake.

    I have said this several times here on Ricochet, and elsewhere, but it bears repeating — for anyone who wants to know how much depravity, cruelty, destruction of lives, one single out-of-control unethical lawyer can leave in his wake, please, please get Sydney Powell’s book, Licensed to Lie, and learn why, among other things, he earned the scorn of none other than the Chief Justice of the United States for, in the case in which his conviction was reversed 9-0 (to put it mildly, an almost unheard of result in an appeal of that kind), in which Chief Justice Rehnquist stated directly, not his style at all, words to the effect that Weissmann had literally “made up” a Federal criminal offense in order to get a conviction.

    We have here, again not to put too fine a point on it, a monster.

     

    You have written out a mind blowing summary of a low life anyone would expect to be reading about as some type of Mob hooligan. But here the guy has been part and parcel of our highest echelon of government officials.

    These are truly scary times.

     

    • #28
    • June 2, 2019, at 7:55 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  29. OmegaPaladin Moderator

    The lawyer lawyer jokes were written about. I will enjoy reading his obituary.

    May his name be erased.

    • #29
    • June 3, 2019, at 12:27 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  30. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Jim George (View Comment):
    I have said this several times here on Ricochet, and elsewhere, but it bears repeating

    I’m sorry, @jimgeorge, if my post seems to have ignored the posts you made on Weissmann. I’m aware of them. But in the general media, there is nothing being said. As you also say, not enough can be said to condemn him.

    • #30
    • June 3, 2019, at 5:29 AM PDT
    • 1 like
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