There is an interesting case out of Canada where a prominent lawyer, Kristine Robidoux of Calgary, has been suspended after she admitted that she was the source of negative disclosures regarding Arthur Kent — a former reporter known as the “Scud Stud” who was running for the Alberta Legislature. Robidoux had served as volunteer counsel to the campaign and supplied information confidentially to Canwest columnist Don Martin for an article entitled “Alberta’s ‘Scud Stud’ a ‘Dud’ on Campaign Trail.” Kent had received the nickname after reporting from a hotel during Iraqi Scud launchings against Saudi Arabia.
Rodidoux was a partner at Gowlings law firm until she resigned May 25th. What is interesting is that the disclosures were pretty tame by U.S. standards and involved some information that was probably known to many in and out of the campaign.
In 2008, Kent was considered a rising star for the provincial Tories in the constituency of Calgary-Currie, but his campaign was having difficulties. He ultimately lost in a close election. Robidoux admitted that she leaked damaging information about Kent and forwarded emails that detailed how Kent was not following the advice of his campaign team. It did not help that the Martin emailed her to get “any more dirt.” That is not the role of an attorney, even a volunteer attorney. Robidoux reportedly responded with information Martin about Kent’s financial agent resigning and that Kent declined a meeting with then-party leader and premier Ed Stelmach.
Martin responded in an email saying “Wowzers. It’s all bad.”
The Canadian bar panel (Law Society of Alberta) appears to have had the same response. Doug Mah, chair of the law society panel, was scathing: “It is an unfortunate day in the legal profession in Alberta when one of its most prominent lawyers disgraces herself and her profession.”
It is an interesting case since such leaks are common in the U.S. — recall the blistering leaks from Sarah Palin’s and John McCain’s staff on her shopping excesses and intellectual limitations.
Kent is also pursing a civil lawsuit against Martin, his former employers, the National Post and Calgary Herald, and several people who are members of the Alberta Progressive Conservative party, including Robidoux. That is a lot of litigation over leaks and seems to reflect the differences between U.S. and Canadian law. I have tried to find the legal filings in the case to get a better grip on the basis for a lawsuit against Martin for example as well as the media defendants. If anyone has such copies or links, we would love to read them.
Kent has been active in litigation. In 2008, Kent sued the producers and distributors of the film Charlie Wilson’s War. Kent said that the movie incorporated material that he produced in the 1980s without permission. A settlement was reached.
He also sued NBC, which fired him after a contract dispute in August 1992. He sued NBC for breach of contract, fraud, and defamation. He was asking for $25 million. That case also ended in a settlement, which included NBC retracting statements made about him.
While Robidoux apologized, it came six years late and Kent is not satisfied, stating “I wanted a fair break. Instead I found myself subjected to the full fury of the PC party’s backroom machinery.”
Source: Globe and Mail