[JURIST] US Defense Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Detainee Affairs Charles "Cully" Stimson [JURIST news archive] resigned Friday in the aftermath of a backlash to remarks [JURIST report] he made in a radio interview [recorded audio] last month criticizing lawyers at top US law firms for representing Guantanamo detainees pro bono. A Defense Department spokesman said Stimson was not asked to leave, but decided to resign after determining that his comments had permanently damaged his ability to be effective. Despite Stimson's later apology for his comments [JURIST report], criticism of them persisted, with the Bar Association of San Francisco [association website] asking the State Bar of California [official website] last week to investigate Stimson for ethics violations [press release].
Stimsons remarks included a prediction that "when corporate CEOs see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line in 2001 those CEOs are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms." Companies including Boston Scientific, General Electric, and Verizon [corporate websites] nonetheless issued statements [Boston Globe report] supporting the decisions of the law firms they worked with to defend Guantanamo detainees, many of whom have been imprisoned for over six years. Stimson also insinuated that some attorneys were not being truthful about representing the detainees pro bono, and were instead possibly receiving money from terror supporters. AP has more.