A legal fund has been launched on behalf of appeals court Judge Jay S. Bybee, the former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel who co-authored the so-called torture memos.
The fund, according to supporters who established it, would pay “for costs and expenses he is incurring or may incur” related to his service with the Justice Department or on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where Bybee has sat since 2003. The legal fund was first reported by Newsweek.
Bybee is one of the subjects of long-awaited ethics report by the Office of Professional Responsibility regarding the conduct of former DOJ lawyers who authorized the use of harsh interrogation tactics against suspected terrorists . The report is expected to be released this month, Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
Because Bybee is now a judge, he could be subject to impeachment proceeding based on the memos, according to Talking Points Memo. Earlier this year, a special prosecutor was appointed to determine whether government officials or Central Intelligence Agency personnel violated the law by developing, authorizing and implementing the torture program early in the administration of President George W. Bush.
The Opinion of Committee on Codes of Conduct of the Judicial Conference of the United Statesestimates that Bybee’s legal expenses will be “in excess of $500,000 — a figure beyond [Bybee's] resources.”
According to the Bybee fund’s Declaration of Trust, its trustees are:
- James M. Spears, a lobbyist at Ropes & Gray, former general counsel at the Federal Trade Commission and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General from 1983 to 1988.
- Carolyn Colton, a vice president and assistant general counsel for Marriott International, Inc.
- Bruce Nielson, a partner at K&L Gates LLP.