New York Times Fires David Boies, Lawyer Who Worked for the Paper and Harvey Weinstein

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Michael Elliot, Harvey Weinstein and David Boies attend the TIME 100 Gala, TIME'S 100 Most Influential People In The World at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 26, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for TIME)
Larry Busacca/Getty Images for TIME

The New York Times dismissed the firm of famed Democratic lawyer David Boies after Ronan Farrow’s explosive report for the New Yorker put Boies at the center of Harvey Weinstein’s efforts to stamp out the Times’ reporting on his sexual misconduct.

“We never contemplated that the law firm would contract with an intelligence firm to conduct a secret spying operation aimed at our reporting and our reporters,” the Times wrote in a Tuesday statement announcing they would no longer work with Boies’s firm, Boies, Schiller & Flexner. “Such an operation is reprehensible.”

The firing came even as Boies himself pleaded his case, claiming, “In the case of Harvey Weinstein, there is a lot of information that I didn’t have.”

Boies, Schiller & Flexner, represented the Times in a number of matters over the years and was, in fact, working for the newspaper in 2016 when, according to Farrow, as one of disgraced Hollywood exec Harvey Weinstein’s personal lawyers, Boies assisted in plans to prevent the Times reporting on allegations against Weinstein.

Monday, immediately after Farrow’s piece broke, the New York Times issued a statement aghast at Boies, Schiller & Flexner’s conduct, reading:

We learned today that the law firm of Boies Schiller and Flexner secretly worked to stop our reporting on Harvey Weinstein at the same time as the firm’s lawyers were representing us in other matters … We consider this intolerable conduct, a grave betrayal of trust, and a breach of the basic professional standards that all lawyers are required to observe. It is inexcusable and we will be pursuing appropriate remedies.

Boies is one of the most well-known Democratic Party-aligned attorneys in the country. He unsuccessfully argued for Al Gore’s campaign in Bush v. Gore, the case that decided the 2000 presidential election, before the Supreme Court, and later secured the end of California’s Proposition 8 prohibition on same-sex marriage in Hollingsworth v. Perry.

Farrow’s report accused Boies of co-signing the contracts that hired a private investigator, including former agents of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, to unleash a campaign of espionage, misdirection, and discouragement against Weinstein’s accusers and the journalists working to bring their stories to light.

As noted above, Boies largely denies an intimate role in these machinations. However, as the Times points out, he may still face ethical sanction.