There are plenty of villains in Ronan Farrow’s excellent book Catch and Kill, but there is only one villainess: attorney Lisa Bloom.
The villains, of course, have gotten all the attention: Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, NBC News executives Andrew Lack and Noah Oppenheim. And Farrow makes an airtight case against them with damning facts, damning evidence, the naming of names, and on-the-record sources.
Farrow also targets President Trump, but his straight-forward approach only burnishes his credibility. Although Farrow is obviously no Trump fan and does believe the billionaire businessman worked with the National Enquirer to catch and kill embarrassing stories, Farrow also admits that some of those stories were caught and killed because they were not true. To his credit, Farrow reports that his search to find out the truth about a rape allegation against Trump proved to be fruitless, as did a bogus claim Trump fathered a child out of wedlock.
I was mostly struck, though, by the snippets about Lisa Bloom. Maybe that’s because all the bombshells about the men have already received a ton of attention with the book’s release.
No, it’s not only that…
Although she only pops up a few times, Bloom’s behavior is so shocking to the conscience, these were the only sections I marked on the off-chance I would want to return to them. And here I am returning to them, because two weeks and one wicked cold later, I cannot get what she did out of my head.
By now, everyone who’s followed the Weinstein story knows Bloom served as his attorney for a while, and that some of Weinstein’s victims have credibly accused her of launching a disgusting campaign to destroy their credibility. What’s more, during this same time, we discovered Bloom was in the employ of another credibly-accused sexual abuser, disgraced former Amazon Studios chief Roy Price.
In fact, I’m the one at Breitbart who extensively covered Bloom’s connection to Price and Weinstein, so I already knew this going into Farrow’s book and was still so stunned by her behavior I bookmarked those sections.
Before we get into it, let me be clear about a few things…
SLEAZY ATTORNEYS ARE NECESSARY AND GOOD
If you believe in the rights of The Individual; if you believe, as I do, that the smallest and most vulnerable minority in the world is not blacks or transsexuals or gays, but The Individual, then you must also believe in the right of The Individual to hire an attorney to help him worm his way out of any jam, whether he’s guilty as hell, or not.
One of the most important rights an individual has in this country is the right to hire an attorney who, no matter how sleazy or guilty the client may be, will fight to the death for that client. Furthermore, because we believe so strongly in that right, because there’s a vital principle at stake, we should never condemn the attorneys who defend these clients — even the worst of the worst.
Can you imagine living in a world where you can’t find an attorney to defend you, where attorneys put aside the First Principle of the rights of the accused because of social stigma or peer pressure?
Let me go even further by telling you how strongly I feel about this…
GOD BLESS JOHNNIE COCHRAN
Because I go on auto didactic jags in my free time, I have spent this past summer studying the O.J. Simpson murder trials (civil and criminal) … just because. Last summer it was the American gangsters of the 1930s, the summer before that it was Josef Stalin, the summer before that the Civil War. That’s just how I roll.
Anyway, the injustice and incompetence that occurred during O.J. Simpson’s 1995 criminal trial, the fact that someone so obviously guilty of a double-slaughter — including the mother of his children, whose body he left for them to find just a few feet from where they slept — was allowed to walk free, is one of the most frustrating subjects I have ever examined. Honestly, I have probably read a dozen books on the subject, and did so the entire time with my stomach in a tight knot of anger and frustration.
But do you want to know who I am not angry with, who I admired throughout…? Simpson’s Dream Team, his attorneys: Johnnie Cochran, Robert Shapiro, Barry Scheck, F. Lee Bailey, Carl Douglas, Alan Dershowitz, Bob Kardashian. And do you want to know why? Because they did their job. They pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed, all within the limits of the law, to defend their client.
That’s what attorneys are supposed to do.
People are still furious over how Cochran so effectively used the race card to free a double murderer. To a point I agree. It is outrageous race was injected into a criminal trial that should have been tried only on facts and evidence. Nevertheless, it was Cochran’s legal and moral duty to fight for every advantage, and it was that moron, Judge Lance Ito, who — with no basis in law — allowed Cochran that advantage. But had Cochran not pressed for that advantage (the only possible hope he had of winning Simpson’s acquittal) and then not exploited that advantage to the hilt, he would have been guilty of dereliction of duty.
In fact, the only attorney who behaved unethically during the Simpson trial (unless you count the prosecution’s jaw-dropping incompetence as unethical) is Robert Tourtelot, who stood before a group of reporters and threw his client Mark Fuhrman under the bus as a racist while he still represented him.
Tourtelot should have been disbarred.
Anyway, God bless the late Johnnie Cochran and all those like him, who, right or wrong, fight to death for their clients.
That is my long way of saying that I am not disgusted with Lisa Bloom because she defended a pig like Harvey Weinstein, and I’m not even disgusted with her attempts to discredit Weinstein’s alleged victims. Everything she did was within the limits of client advocacy, and there can be no justice in a country without such things, even though such things oftentimes result in something grotesque.
No, my thorough disgust with Bloom comes from her betrayal of that very principle and those ideals.
BLOOM BETRAYS HERSELF FOR A MOVIE DEAL
To begin with, like Cochran, Bloom has sold herself as what I call an “issue attorney.” Cochran’s legal identity was based on his fight against racism in the Los Angeles Police Department. That was his issue. Gloria Allred (who just so happens to be Lisa Bloom’s mother) is also an issue attorney. Her issue is to protect women abused by men. The Great Alan Dershowitz, who has driven me crazy (and taught me much) for decades, is an issue attorney, his issue is the overall principle of Constitutional Rights, which gives him the moral authority to defend everyone from O.J. Simpson to Bill Clinton to Donald Trump to Claus von Bulow.
Bloom has spent decades selling herself as an “issue attorney,” an advocate for women, a protector of women abused by the patriarchy. Her entire professional identity has been as a Mighty Legal Sword in Defense of Women. That’s her issue, her stand, her principle, her North Star… And then, after decades and decades of ensuring America’s women (and their advocates like Farrow) they would always have a champion in Lisa Bloom, this same Lisa Bloom, in secret!, switched sides. And she not only betrayed her personal and professional identity in the hopes Weinstein would adapt one of her books into a movie or miniseries, but according to Farrow, she used that betrayal as a means to intimidate and spy on Weinstein’s alleged victims.
Imagine Johnnie Cochran defending a racist, rogue, white cop … for the MONEY.
Imagine Alan Dershowitz defending someone looking to overturn the Fourth Amendment … for the MONEY.
What Bloom did was even worse, because she not only betrayed herself, her principles, her cause, and the trust of countless women – and did so in search of the Hollywood fame and fortune Weinstein could offer – she slithered around in SECRET.
Not only did Bloom attempt to destroy Weinstein’s alleged victims from the shadows, she used and abused her identity as a woman’s advocate to get information on these women from Farrow, and did so by pretending she was still on the side of the angels; did so by straight up lying to Farrow about keeping his confidence and hiding from him the most important truth: that she was working for Weinstein.
BLOOM SPIES ON WEINSTEIN’S VICTIMS FOR A MOVIE DEAL
According to his book, over a few years, Bloom had sought to befriend Farrow and earn his trust. She spoke up about the credibility of Farrow’s sister Dylan, who claims she was molested as a child by Woody Allen. She had even appeared on Farrow’s MSNBC show, where she said of Bill Cobsy, “I represent many victims of wealthy and successful predators. The first thing they do is go on the attack against the victim, try to dredge up anything they can find from her life to try and embarrass her.” Farrow says Bloom spoke eloquently of how “women are smeared, or they are threatened that they will be smeared.”
During a perilous time in his Weinstein reporting, when he felt he was being squeezed by NBC and Weinstein’s non-disclosure agreements [NDAs] that threatened devastating legal action against any of the alleged victims who came forward, Farrow not only needed expert advice on the issue of powerful men intimidating their alleged victims, he needed someone he could trust completely.
And so, naturally, he called Lisa Bloom.
BLOOM EARNS FARROW’S TRUST
“I know we’re not under attorney-client privilege, but as a fellow lawyer I trust you,” Farrow told Bloom during their first conversation. “If I ask you about a sensitive story, do you feel comfortable promising not to mention it to anyone until it comes out?”
“Absolutely,” she said.
After he laid out his concerns about non-disclosure agreements, she told him she could be of more help if she knew who this was about.
“And you promise I have your word this will be kept in confidence?” He asked.
“You have my word,” Bloom replied.
“It’s about Harvey Weinstein.”
The next time they spoke, Bloom called him on a pretense that she quickly maneuvered back to pumping Farrow for information about his Weinstein investigation. She asked:
By the way, are you still working on that story about NDAs? Have you seen any of the non-disclosure agreements? How many women are you talking to? Can you tell me who they are? I may be able to help you get information if you can share who you’re talking to.
Farrow didn’t name names, but he did tell Bloom there’s a “group and it’s growing.”
Before hanging up, Bloom promised to help Farrow find a way to shield these women from liability.
The next time she called, she again tried to pump him for information, this time by admitting she knew Weinstein and his attorney David Boies “a little.”
Alarmed, Farrow said, “Lisa, you didn’t mention this to anyone did you?”
“Of course, I didn’t!” she replied. “I just, you know, I had this idea I could help connect you to them.”
Farrow told her it was too early for that , but eventually he would reach out. “Just please don’t say anything,” he begged.
“I’m here if you need anything, okay?” she said reassuringly. “Anything at all.”
And then the bomb hit.
BLOOM BETRAYS FARROW’S TRUST
Farrow discovered Bloom was not only working for Weinstein to discredit his victims, she was also part of the team that was secretly gathering information on who was talking to Farrow and what they were saying. Farrow writes of his final conversation with Bloom:
The last time I answered a call from Lisa Bloom that summer, I expressed astonishment.
“Lisa, you swore as an attorney and a friend, that you wouldn’t tell his people,” I said.
“Ronan,” she replied. “I am his people.”
Say what you want about Johnnie Cochran. He at least put on the uniform. He at least told the world I am here to defend this man. He did not abuse his friendship with Simpson prosecutor Chris Darden to secretly gather information by pretending he wanted to help.
Lisa Bloom’s behavior — the bullying of vulnerable women, the betrayal, the lying — is among the sleaziest, most disgusting and unethical I have ever come across by any professional, not just an attorney. She’s the Bernie Madoff of victims’ advocates, the Lance Armstrong of the #MeToo Movement, and like them, she should be disgraced forever off the end of the earth.