U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, a Democrat from Louisiana who's currently the target of a federal investigation into wire fraud and bribery, has hired a crisis communications consultant whose past clients include Monica Lewinsky during her testimony against then-President Bill Clinton, the Saudi Arabian government post-September 11th, and then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas when accused of sexual harassment by his former assistant Anita Hill. Enter Judy Smith, founder and partner with the Washington communications firm Impact Strategies. While Smith’s exact responsibilities have yet to be announced, a Jefferson aide was quoted as saying that Smith has been successful in getting the “other side of the story” told on behalf of her previous clients. How much and by whom she will be paid is also not public, but Jefferson has already accumulated $119,000 in a defense fund. Despite the public relations nature of her work for him, as an attorney, Smith's conversations with Jefferson will be considered off-limits to prosecutors under attorney-client privilege.
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