A lawyer for Bush lawyer John Yoo took aim at President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the Office of Legal Counsel office in court papers filed Friday regarding a lawsuit brought by former detainee Jose Padilla.
Padilla, an alleged al Qaeda operative, was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to 17 years in prison. Padilla has alleged that he was tortured while being held in as an enemy combatant. In 2008, Padilla filed a lawsuit against Yoo, blaming him for the sleep deprivation and other stress inducing interrogation techniques he allegedly endured at a military prison.
Yoo’s lawyer Miguel Estrada has denied that that Yoo sanctioned torture and had a role in the handling of Padilla.
In a brief filed in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Estrada took it a step further and criticized the “Principles to Guide the Office of Legal Counsel,” a document written by OLC nominee Dawn Johnsen and other Clinton-era DOJ lawyers in response to memos written by Yoo and Jay Bybee that approved harsh interrogation methods against terrorism suspects.
Estrada wrote that Johnsen’s manifesto showed “only partisan disagreement with the policies of the previous administration.”
Estrada also said in the court filing that Padilla’s lawsuit would “deter qualified lawyers from entering public service,” adding that Yoo, a University of California Berkeley law professor, is a “respected legal scholar.”
Estrada’s criticism of Johnsen comes as a surprise, given that Yoo’s memo-writing partner, Bybee has cited Johnsen’s principles to help defend his role in drafting the memos. Bybee and Yoo were recently cleared of any misconduct stemming from their roles in authoring the memos.
The San Francisco Chronicle first reported the filing today.