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William H. Ginsburg
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    (March 25, 1943-April 1, 2013)
    Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Medical malpractice attorney
    Attorney for Monica Lewinsky (1998)
    He said, 'A trial is not a game, but it is theater.'
    The Washington Post wrote about his chameleon-like behavior in the courtroom, 'In Texas, he'd adopt a subtle down-home drawl. In Louisiana, he'd sneak a Southern lilt into his argument. In lower-income Los Angeles, he'd wear polyester. In upscale Santa Monica, Calif., he'd wear a three-piece suit.'
    Many observers felt that he made repeated mistakes in handling the Lewinsky case due to his lack of experience in criminal law.
    He rejected an offer from Ken Starr of complete immunity for Lewinsky in return for her testimony (January 16, 1998), then spent months trying to get the offer back, without success.
    He undermined his client's credibility with comments like 'All 24-year-olds tend to exaggerate.'
    He went on a media blitz, highlighted by appearing on all five Sunday morning talk shows ('Meet the Press,' 'Face the Nation,' 'This Week,' 'Fox News Sunday' and 'CNN Late Edition') in a single day (February 1, 1998).
    He was so busy with his Sunday blitz that he failed to return calls from Starr's office negotiating possible immunity deals for Lewinsky.
    He declared, apparently seriously, 'I'm the most famous person in the world.'
    Alan Dershowitz said, 'I don't want to say this, because Bill Ginsburg seems like such a nice guy, but he's way, way over his head.'
    Lewinsky eventually replaced him with two experienced criminal lawyers who kept a low profile.
    Before moving on to law, he majored in drama, which no doubt helped his courtroom theatrics.
    As a malpractice lawyer, he had a history of winning difficult cases for often unlikable clients.
    An opposing lawyer said, 'He presents a very scholarly approach to the jury, he educates them.'
    He was good friends with Bernard Lewinsky, a radiologist at a medical group he had represented, resulting in his being asked to help when the doc's daughter got in legal hot water.
    He provided inside-the-Beltway Washington with a new piece of jargon: 'the full Ginsburg' for anyone who duplicates his five morning talk shows in one Sunday feat.
    In an open letter to Ken Starr he wrote, 'Congratulations, Mr. Starr! As a result of your callous disregard for cherished constitutional rights, you may have succeeded in unmasking a sexual relationship between two consenting adults.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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